Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Professor

Brad was off yesterday and today, and Artie is in Mexico for a relative's funeral. Everyone was a little busier, filling in for Artie (and, yesterday, I had no help w/ the croissants), but it wasn't that big a deal. Today, though, I'm across the work table from Phil, and I say, "No Professor [which is what the Hispanic guys call Brad, if I haven't mentioned that before] today?" And he smiles and says, "Yes, everything's easy today." Last week Phil intimated, on Brad's day off, that it was "quieter," and he preferred it that way, and wondered if I did, too, but I wasn't sure whether he was referring to Brad or to the fact that Miami wasn't around any more. And Saturday, Phil asked me if I needed help before he left--without Brad prompting him to do so. (I said no, because I was nearly done.) Also on Saturday, I ended up giving Artie a hand before I left, even though I really wanted to get out of there; he was there alone, finishing up something, and he's always there at the end of the line for the croissants, so I was happy to lend a hand.

I can't tell whether I've really managed to create a different atmosphere or not. Brad constantly bitches about the Hispanic guys--in front of them, no less, under the assumption they don't understand him--and he'll even give them shit in front of everyone else. What he doesn't realize is that, even though he'll also lend a hand, at least to Phil, his general approach isn't winning him any friends. He hasn't figured out that, to them, they've been there longer than he has, and they'll be there after he leaves, and Jefe is fine with what they do, so . . . What I've been trying to do is just lend a hand whenever--today I helped Phil shape some dough right before I left, instead of just leaving. Little by little, I seem to be getting some of that back to me. Frankly, I'd probably do it anyway, at least for awhile, but it's interesting to see whether it ripples. I suspect the pizza helps, too--though Jefe wants a ham this week instead of more pizza. Frankly, I don't care--I just want to prod enough to get lunch every Saturday, and, really, not even because I have to have lunch or something. I just think it's a nice thing to do, it boosts morale, and everyone realizes he's the one who's paying for it, even if it's me or Brad who's doing the work.

And that's another thing: Brad complained bitterly how no one thanked him for making the pizza the week he made it. He hasn't figured out that you just . . . give those things. Though, when I thanked him as he left, Phil, who was standing next to me, chimed in. Brad hasn't figured out just how much he irritates these guys, even as they realize he's unavoidable, a condition of work, if you will--and he doesn't care, or, more to the point, he SAYS he doesn't care, even though it's clear he does. Mostly? He's young.


Blogger kStyle said...

I love hearing about the inner workings of the bakery. Could you remind me which person is which? Which is the boss? Jefe? Is the Professor the special guest star?

6:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

since the word "jefe" is spanish for boss i'd guess he is indeed the boss

8:34 AM  
Blogger Emma Goldman said...

Jefe is the boss, the Professor is Brad (the 20-something guy who kind of manages parts of the bakery, especially when Jefe was training for a competition a few years ago). Artie is the whistler.

4:42 PM  

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