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Part Time Work - February 26th 2017, 03:39 AM

Hi,

I'm currently doing a year abroad in Tokyo, and I recently got part time work as a hall staff (waitress) in a small beef cutlet restaurant. My Japanese isnt very good but I can more or less understand what is needed, and I memorised the introduction hall staff have to give about the recommended way to eat the cutlets, so it's more or less okay?

But the thing is, all I've gotten so far is snide insults behind my back: my first day there I spent 2 hours hanging about doing nothing bc Boss 1 (who does cooking) put another waiter in charge of me and I was trying to ask what to do and he told me to go rest (on my first day there??? How could I??? So I read the menu instead).

2nd day Boss 1 told me to wash dishes, and he said ok for the meat plates and the plates for meat sauces those are just oily so you can put straight in the dishwasher without soap. So I did that. I saw clean plates and cups on the countertop and asked if I should put it away, and he was like "well yeah keeping stuff away isn't just a Japanese thing right? Isn't it a worldwide thing??" Which I didnt see the point of his snide remarks but I just continued washing.

3rd day I started washing again when I got to work and this time there was a huge pot that they used to cook the soup and a strainer with lots of meat pieces crammed in the holes: I used soap, and got yelled at and called an idiot by Boss 1 bc he already said just oily stuff doesnt need soap. He shoved me aside and rinsed off the strainer before throwing it in the washer. Then he took the pot (which I hadnt touched yet so no soap got on it) and washed the inside w soap. At which point im just confused bc isnt just oily also?? He also called me idiot more times bc I put glasses w other dishes in the dishwasher (my other friend who used to work in a Japanese kitchen said they can be quite strict about this separation). So I was on chopstick duty the rest of my 4 hour shift, putting bamboo chopsticks in paper. Near the end of my shift I saw the other cook (who works the kitchen alone during non peak periods) put glasses in the washer w sauce plates etc and I just... i really dont know what they want from me. I'm too afraid to ask Boss 1 because he just keeps yelling or calling me idiot or making snide remarks about it (being neat/cleaning) not just being a "Japanese thing" so I either plough ahead myself or quietly ask a waiter/the cook. There's usually only 1 other waiter on weekdays because it's not that packed weekday lunchtimes.

Yesterday was my 4th day. I got there and immediately started washing dishes. Weekend lunch rush. Boss 2 was there. Dishes already piling up in sink. Boss 2 saw I loaded the washer too sparingly bc I just put rice bowls on there and between the bowls there were still spaces for other stuff like sauce plates etc and said that's wasting water. Which is completely true and I remembered it. Boss 1 said he already told me this and I cant even remember it. Which he didnt. Boss 2 then taught me how to quickly wash the water glasses (quick swipe w sponge and line them up ready to put in washing tray); so I rushed that. Yesterday I spemt the whole day rushing and rushing: washing dishes (only one tray goes into the washer each time), wiping them and putting them away, and when the outside gets busy I have to rush pour water for new customers and bring them hot towels, and prepare the rice and soup for outgoing meals, and still do the washing up. And turnaround is fast so the dishes kept going. And I just. I'm so tired. The restaurant is a 50 seater and it was pretty much full (about 40 or 35 customers at any time maybe?), 2 waiters and Boss 2 working the floor, and I was washing up and separating the chopsticks and towels to be disposed before getting to the dishes. The place they had to put dirty dishes was rly small so it quickly.got piled up and Boss 2 got annoyed. Boss 1 was giving me.cooking utensils and pots etc to wash as well. And I was speedwalking in and out of the kitchen (open concept, so dry dishes have to be put away on the shelf sides facing the dining area, since the meals are put together on that side. Cook fries the cutlets and assembles the side salad, passes it over to waitstaff who prepare rice, soup, salad dressing, chopsticks, meat sauces on a tray. If they arent around I had to do that assembling). It's my first job so I wasnt expecting to be easy, especially not a restaurant job (my dad used to work in a kitchen when he was in university and warned me), but I wasnt expecting the snide remarks and name calling? Especially when he kept telling Boss 2 he told me this he told me that but he only told me half. They kept saying I was too slow, and Boss 2 sat me down after my shift to tell me I was too slow and if I dont improve my march no point keeping me around. Idk howto be faster truly: yesterday I just rushed and rushed and rushed and rushed. With a turnaround time of about 20/30 minutes and a more or less full restaurant for 4 hours of my 5 hour shift (I only cleared the sink after like 4h and 45 minutes), and considering the work I have to get done, am I too slow? I dispensed w careful wiping near the end, just laid them.out to air dry or cursory swipes with the cloth. I ended up dropping and breaking one of the 6 kinds of sauce.plates they have while I was trying to make room for the laden trays on the dirty dish shelf. Also, Boss 1 threw a tupperware and the metal mesh stands they use to hold the fried cutlet on the dish, into the tray of glasses going into the dishwasher, which kinda defeats the whole purpose of keeping glasses separate???? To give some context this is how the trays look like. Almost all customers order sets, so it's like this. https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/me...b0/caption.jpg (looks good I guess but after this experience I just feel dread whenever I see it)

I couldnt explain myself to Boss 2 because of my shitty Japanese skills, but I told him the environment was scary so I found it hard to ask questions. He just said no you can!! My fault though I really should have asked more to avoid mistakes in the start. I asked more yesterday (bc Boss 1 disappeared for his afternoon break (he works the restaurant dinner shift and it opens till 3 or 4am) and one of the afternoon waiters and the cook would answer my qns on whether this goes straight in the washer or where this goes). Boss 1 does things differently from Boss 2 too: 1 stacks all the dishes in the tray before spraying them w water to get the wasabi and leftover greens off the plates and the sticky sauce residue off the sauce plates (which doesnt rly work and the soup bowls will have sesame seeds still in them/sauceplates have residue) when they come out the washer, but I do it his way when he might see me, just to avoid being yelled at. The plates and sauceplates sometimes feel oily to the touch when they come out the washer, which i wouldnt want, but everyone seems fine w it.

I cant sleep even on days I have no shifts bc I'm so terrified of Boss 1, and worried about making mistakes. They tell me I dont rmb what they told me, but I do!! They only tell me half but expect me to know the other half as well, and I dont know what I dont know. So when I get to new things (like the pot) I either make a mistake or ask(and then Boss 1 gets angry at me for not knowing and asks if I have a brain I can use).

It pays kinda well: 1100• an hour, but idk if it's worth it. Most jobs pay 950 or 1000 an hour, but I've seen a few 1100s around too. Maybe everyone there has to go through the same thing but I'm the only one who cant handle it? I really did my absolute best and rushed and rushed but I"m still too slow. Boss 2 was incredulous when I told him I was really trying super hard.

I guess I'm asking for advice here: anyone know how to wash dishes really efficiently and cleanly? Am I really too slow washing dishes? I'm planning on quitting once I show I've improved (if they dont fire me first), is that okay? Does anyone have part time work experience in Japan? How can I deal with this? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

Thank you for reading all this and I'm sorry for all the questions/rambles.
   
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Re: Part Time Work - February 26th 2017, 06:28 PM

I don't really have any recommendations other than look for a new job. It sounds like you're in a hostile work environment that could ultimately be detrimental to your health. Maybe someone can offer more constructive advice if you want to continue working there, but I wouldn't. I'd rather get paid a hundred yen less for a better environment. Consider making a budget and see if you can afford it.


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Re: Part Time Work - February 26th 2017, 07:57 PM

Hey there,

Sorry to hear you are having such a tough time at your part time job. The language barrier sounds difficult as it is, let alone not having clear enough instructions and feel nervous asking for clarification. But you don't deserve the snide remarks.

I don't think you are too slow at washing dishes, though I understand it is very fast paced, and easy to get behind. I'm not sure if there are more efficient ways to wash dishes, but perhaps you can try to write reminders down for yourself about instructions or techniques that you have been told to do.

I think it's understandable if you want to quit, and there's nothing wrong with that. Though it may be a well paying job, you shouldn't be sacrificing your happiness either. Most bosses may appear to be scary at the beginning, but you should be able to discuss any concerns you have with them.

Hope this helps a little!


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