I Am a Total Bitch

Why am I such a bitch?

I work with fun people, for the most part. I find training a handful of new hires to be easy, for the most part.

But I am such a bitch when it comes to two coworkers, and I cannot seem to stop myself from being one.

One is a young woman who is completely unable to focus on anything. She is cute and young and has her heart in the right place. But she can only take on certain tasks, and then constantly gets sidetracked. She disappears for a half hour. I have no clue where or why.

She cannot tackle menu changes, and I really need her to get that particular chore. She can’t, because she can’t focus at all, whatsoever. “Really RG, I can’t!” Fine, I will. Today. Again. You can watch. And I explain how I am changing the menu panels and she walks away.

And I want to wring her neck. Because I am a bitch.

The other is an older man who just doesn’t seem to fire on all cylanders. Again, heart in the right place, earnest as all get out. But totally clueless. Everyday. About everything. No matter how repetitive.

And they both came on staff way before me.

“You know you have a couple of disasters,” I told their manager.

“Really? Can they just seat? Only that?”

I wish it was that simple. True, this is a host staff I am training. And most of them are great. The old timers don’t need me; most new hires are on the ball. But these two….

“I can do that,” repeats one, all the time. Except no can do, not really.

“Okay!” says another, except it is never, ever, really okay.

And after two weeks of explaining the same thing over and over and over and over to both of them, I am not so nice and patient anymore.

I am a bitch.

I want to drink wine at 1 p.m. when it’s just me and them and one says, “Oh no! I can’t stack the menus without them falling.”

Good God. You cannot be serious. Except, yes, it’s very serious.

“So, remember what I told you about lining them up in the same direction and stacking them a few at a time,” I say for the hundredth time. And now I cannot look at this one as I say it, because I am so damn sick of saying it.

But I am thinking, “Wait, you are married and have a kid? How do you get through the day at home?”

Yep, I am that much of a bitch.

I am such a bitch I want to ignore them both, most of the time, but I can’t.

I am such a bitch, I don’t really hide it anymore when I am fed up.

I am such a bitch, I go home and shake my head at myself and wonder where my heart is.

And then I remember one is taking a really hard exam today, and I know she knows she won’t pass it, and she’s really scared to take it.

And then I remember one has an adult kid who told him, “Dad, you could work in a restaurant. It’s so much fun.” Except it isn’t fun for him, and he probably dreads seeing me everyday.

I am such a bitch.

And I am so sorry. I wish I could do better with them. For them.

Maybe on Monday I can try not to be such a bitch.






21 responses to “I Am a Total Bitch”

  1. sueybear Avatar



  2. L. Avatar

    Could you try having them sit with you and then they must write the directions to the tasks on large/small index cards. They will create their own procedures file/booklet. Consider this “up training” and have them sign a memorandum that records the time/date and focus of the training. It should help build their confidence and skill sets. Tell them to find the answers/directions “in their task lists (cards).” This is tough love and self help.

  3. Zeph Avatar

    Perhaps you’re being too hard on yourself. It sounds like these people just aren’t suited for the job. You’re trying to hint that to them by being unpleasant but, it isn’t a technique that really works very well. It makes them unhappy and it makes you unhappy, while failing to get anything accomplished.

    Be direct. Talk to them and/or boot them out. It will save a lot of pain on both sides. Or, you’re going to have to resign yourself to being a bitch, and that’s not likely to do anyone any good. Trust me. Been there, done that.

  4. Shodan Avatar

    I’m with zeph. Dump ’em and move on. I know it’s hard to be the bad guy….but someone who can’t figure out how to stack menus is just not all there.

    And Zeph is also right that the longer this goes on, the more annoying and obvious you’ll become. Eventually it will lead to a big blow-up and a serious loss of harmony….

  5. Aurora Avatar

    Have you heard of ‘learned helplessness’? It’s when people don’t want to do things, and instead of just saying ‘I don’t want to do that’ they learn over time that if they screw up the task enough, or avoid it enough, someone else will take care of it for them, which is what you’re doing now. At least for the younger girl, I would try a lot more tough love than it seems that you’re giving. At any rate, I love reading your blog! You’re a gifted story-teller!

  6. Julie Avatar

    I think we’ve all worked with people like that at some point. Some of them eventually get it and become good workers as long as the tasks don’t really change. in any case, I’m sure they’d try the patience of even the most patient person. Soon, they’ll either get it or they’ll leave.

  7. Sarah Avatar

    You’re not a bitch at all. those people sound exhausting, infuriating, and incompetent. i have NO patience for even the TINIEST of things like this. although, i feel like it’s the rest of the world’s fault to deal with people like this, because no one has the guts to um…remove them from the gene pool. but just think…then who would we have to complain in our blogs about!? 🙂

  8. Ax Avatar

    Hadn’t heard of that “learned helplessness”, but I think I’ve seen it all too much.

    Do you have the power to fire these people? If not, you need to review the situation with whoever does, and get their backing on reading them the riot act.

    Fundamentally, if they need to be able to do certain tasks for their job, and they can’t do it, they need to look elsewhere….

  9. briliantdonkey Avatar

    I think it is safe to say that we have all worked with an employee or three that is much like these two at some point and time. No doubt it is frustrating as hell. Here is an idea(though I make no promises of it working)……after you show her next time how to stack menus or better yet AS you are showing her, casually tell the ‘menu screwer upper’ that ‘you need HER to pay close attention so she can show the other guy how to do it in a little while or when you are not there. Just an idea, and on second thought I WILL offer a money back guarantee of it working.


  10. juniorbird Avatar

    The opposite of bitch is not “puts up with anything”… the opposite is “deals with problems in a positive manner.” You have a real problem, and I agree with everyone above that you should be able to deal with it in a positive manner. You’re not giving her the feedback that this is important, so it might help her learn if you are more stern with her. At any rate, it’s not your responsibility to let people get away without being useful in their job; if she can’t hack it, she can’t hack it. Make it clear what she needs to do to hack it, give her a chance to do it, then replace her if she can’t. That’s very fair.

  11. Heather Avatar

    I really like what L. has suggested. Puts the responsibility in their hands. I agree with juniorbird, too. There is a problem and there are different ways of handling it, some positive, some not so much. I find that being a bitch when it’s not my natural way, is exhausting. Good luck!

  12. j Avatar

    And again, darwin does somersaults in his grave. I hate people who can’t do things for themselves. I’m lazy as hell but I pick up on things quickly and I believe in doing my fair share of work. Lame, get rid of ’em, if they can’t do their fair share, than they don’t belong there.

  13. Cisco Avatar

    You can’t help it. There are some people that are just wired in a certain way that no amount of instruction or patience will do. I have more than two working for me.. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

  14. LB Avatar

    This was like reading a version of my life right now – I have been training a similar type of person for nearly three months now, and she still routinely asks me questions about things that she should have mastered before she even came on the job. I wish I had some advice, but I’ve failed at figuring out how to deal with it myself. Like you, I have been grinning and bearing it, and slowly getting bitchier and bitchier. But I think your other readers have some very good points – Brilliantdonkey’s seems like a worthy suggestion – maybe if one of them has to teach the skill they need to learn, it’ll help it all sink in.

    But otherwise, I’m with the majority, see if you can get backing to get rid of them if they just continue like this. It’s not going to do anything but hurt you, them and the company to have them stick around.

  15. Crystal Avatar

    You say that like being a bitch is a BAD thing. No. Being driven by your co-workers to become a murderer is a bad thing. Being driven by your co-workers to be a bitch is a necessary thing.

  16. wineward Avatar

    I love the post by Aurora about “learned helplessness”. I have always referred to this as “dumb blonde syndrome”, because it seems to disproportionately afflict beautiful females (although I’ve known a few men who tried to get away with it, too). Perhaps for the older gentleman we could call it “charming grandpa syndrome”.

    In my experience the symptoms are just as Aurora describes: acting helpless or dumber than you are in order to skate on your share of the work. This is most effective when coupled with feigned sincerity, flirtation, or the loyal puppydog look, depending upon the situation.

    Anyone who didn’t ride the shortbus to school should be able to master the basic hostessing functions within days, if not hours. These two are unlikely to change.
    Hopefully you will get permission to set specific boundaries/ expectations for them, and after a pre-determined time let them go if they haven’t improved.

    Anyway, kudos on the new job. Happy holidays, Gal.

  17. restaurant Gal Avatar

    Thank you, everyone, for great advice. I hardly had a moment today to contemplate implementing some of the ideas, when the gentleman gave notice. I haven’t seen the younger woman since last week. I think she still works at the restaurant–who knows? Anyway, two great trainees today. Whew!

    –The Gal

  18. Mtbmike Avatar

    Like we always say, ” Ignorance we can train, you can’t fix stupid”


  19. wineward Avatar

    Brilliant, Mtbmike

  20. IAServer Avatar

    The gal sounds like she has A.D.D.

  21. Alex Avatar

    Heh. My dad had a saying for employees like that- “Everytime they go on lunch break, you have to retrain them.”

    I feel for you. Restaurant work is a perfect example of the kind of job where one doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist, but they do have to be clever. If you’re not good with people, or not self-directed, or not good at multi-tasking, you can always get a job in an accounting firm or in the government. But a restaurant? You’d crash like the Hindenberg.

    As for the Just-don’t-get-its, I have a differing view than most people who’ve posted comments. And that is that it’s not your job to play Mommy to people like this, especially if they’d been on staff LONGER than you have! In fact, restaurants are the LAST place for the perpetually clueless to try and find a place to coast, because they depend too much on employee performance to succeed. If the staff practices social Darwinism to weed out the losers, then they’re just doing a favor for themselves, the restaurant, and ultimately the clueless workers.