Working with Gen Z: part 2

I stand before a panel of judges as they look at their phones and start reading the charges.
“For the crime of being a middle-aged white man, how do you plea?”
“For what?”
“Do you not admit to oppressing the people below you in this world?”
“Name one person I oppressed,” I demand.
They look at their cell phones and no answers are found.
“The court has found you guilty of all crimes. From this moment on you will keep your mouth shut. You will allow minorities and women to treat you like shit and not fight back, if you do you will be labeled as racist and/ or sexist for the rest of your life. Do you understand the sentence this court has handed down to you?”
“No, and shove the verdict up your ass.”
This is my life while working with Gen Z, a group of people who create their own court of political correctness handing down guilty verdicts without a system of appeals. The crime is usually being born the wrong skin color and nothing else in the person’s life is considered. I was found guilty of being white yesterday and considering who I am I think its kind of funny.
Let me back up here.
I work at a library and while this is normally a safe space for people there has been a movement from the far left to readjust the line of equality and it has not gone well. While dust mopping a sorting area for books, a stack of books about sex were returned. Any other day these books would have been checked in and placed on a cart to be shelved, put back for other people to check out. Instead, the girl shouts out to the rest of the room that she is surrounded by sex books and looks to see who turned them in, a 14 year old patron. Let’s keep in mind here that I’m not supposed to know anything about the patron or what they checked out. Then the new boss walks out curious about what she just heard.
The girl at the check in and the boss pass the book back and forth making jokes and pointing out what is missing from this book.
“It doesn’t have gay sex in here, or sex with transgender people. It’s like straight sex is the only sex. This book is trash.”
The new boss glances over at me, the white guy in the room. “Wait a second, let me look at this.” The new boss takes the book and flips through the pages. “Of course, it’s just a bunch of white people. Because black people don’t have sex.”
They continued to criticize the book and move on to others in the pile that was returned. I left the room. Later I returned to high dust and the group had doubled in size, it was shift change and the books were pulled out again for everyone’s amusement. A new girl was handed the book and she flipped through the chapters pointing out all of the things she thought was wrong with it.
“Uh ya, maybe have some girls of color in here. Who wants to see a bunch of white women to learn about sex. Mix it up a bit. And there is no gay sex, what about polygamous sex? This book needs fixed…” The speech was long and involved. She reached half way through and tossed the book down. “I can’t even anymore.” The bitching continued.
There are a few obvious things that I should point out. This was a clear case of victim porn. The woman who complained about a “bunch of white people” is in a position of power. She has gone to school, received an education, now makes schedules and trains new employees and yet she’s complaining about her place in society. The girls complaining about the sex books didn’t bother looking to see what other books the library had about sex, instead making a direct judgement about the books a 14 year old checked out, clearly one of the few mature people we had in the building that day.
I don’t know where this double standard came from, the ability to judge and label someone by their skin color and have there be no repercussion for it. If I had said “oh great, another book for black people” their would have been pitch forks and torches pulled out from under desk. HR would have had a stack of papers sitting on their desk for my termination, the Union would have stepped aside wanting nothing to do with me. No court, no due process, guilty of being white on a Monday evening.
I’m not asking for the right to say stupid shit. It would be nice if people stopped acting high and mighty trying to tear other people down in order to feel good about themselves. These are not social justice warriors, these are assholes.
While people look at me and say shitty comments about white people there is a ton of crap about me they don’t know.
I grew up in the ghetto with a single mom. I remember standing in line at the county fair grounds to receive a block of government cheese. My biological dad wasn’t involved in my life. I would get jumped by groups of kids in the neighborhood for the color of my skin. I watched the neighbors’ houses be raided by the police. I went to an all white prep school where I didn’t fit in. Having a shitty car and a shitty job the police would pull me over and accuse me of stealing meds from the hospital. My car was illegally searched. I still live in the ghetto, the only area that I could afford. I have had bricks thrown through my windows because I’m the white motherfucker on the block. There was the neighbor that would come to my door screaming at me after working a 12 hour shift for calling the police on him that afternoon. When I tried to say I was working and don’t know what was going on when I’m gone he replied, “who the fuck else called, you’re the only white motherfucker around here.” I’ve been shot at, had knives pulled on me, and on one occasion had to pull my own gun in self-defense. Most of the people I grew up with in my neighborhood are in prison or dead. The only thing about me that wasn’t black while growing up was the color of my skin.
We have seen this rise to power before, the sudden realization that the balance of power has changed and now the shoe is on the other foot. When the Bath party was taken out of power in Iraq people were massacred no longer having the government’s protection. In Israel the Palestinians are kept in ghettos and killed at random like the Jews were in Nazi Germany. Libya is a mess with the rebels killing anyone who wasn’t on their side while taking out Ghadaffi, and these were the good guys. “Social justice” should be changed to “the license to be an asshole.” Clearly the justice portion of the name is not understood and the only thing social that is taking place is treating people who are different from you like shit.
There are two groups at work, one who is trying to better their situation and the other that complains and expects other people to do things for them. The first group is small and in the past week I have helped them with letters of recommendation and guiding them through the interview process. These are proactive people that have a goal and are moving forward in their life. These are adults. The second group whine about their lot in life and blame others who do not fit into their strangely labeled club. These are children.
I don’t know where this is heading. The people who are trying to better themselves will eventually be dragged down if they are not careful. Life will not be kind to the second group. The immature tend to eat their own and when you put an ideology above people that is who end up being hurt first, especially when the ideology is designed to help people. In the end it helps no one. The world is more divided now while things have never been better. There are more people out of poverty in the world than ever before. We had the civil rights movement, women burned bras in the streets, marijuana is legal in several states. Currently we are only involved in one war that has been forgotten over the years. The list goes on and on, but a book was just a bunch of white people. God damn it, write your own fucking book. If you don’t like how something was done then fix it. If you see a market that needs to be filled than take advantage of it. Stop expecting everyone else to do everything for you. This isn’t Lord of the Flies, stop flying around like Peter Pan and get your act together. Be an adult and grow up.

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Adventures in Cooking: Part 6

Years after leaving Olga’s I find myself to be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to restaurants. There are many things that I look for and some I can overlook, but what I have the most trouble getting over is the quality of the food. As a cook you had to learn how to juggle and learn it quickly. However, the quality of a meal isn’t just up to the cook, there are also those that are responsible for what the cook has to work with, the prep cooks.
Prepping food was a meditation, a mindless task that looked like anyone could do. In my own kitchen at home there are steps in preparing a meal that I watch people try to skip and usually some form of verbal back and forth takes place. Let’s start with the basics, wash the food! Nobody wants celery with dirt still on it. Bugs love to hide in lettuce. Spinach is known for E-coli poisoning. The list goes on and on, wash the damn food.
There are tools that every kitchen should have just for prepping. We had small “coring scoops” for tomatoes. These were tiny spoons with a spiked rim that would dig out the core of the tomato with the stem so that the rough material wasn’t served with the food. Don’t be a cheep skate by skipping this, nobody will love you for it.
Just about every weekend my wife and I go out to dinner and enjoy ourselves for a bit before the week with no sleep starts all over again. She has been on a health kick lately and orders the salad where ever we are. Almost 50% of the time she receives a plate or bowl with lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens. When she digs the fork in, she will find chunks of lettuce core hidden under the roughage. This doesn’t upset me, this pisses me off. I can’t tell you how many hours I stood at the counter and slammed heads of lettuce into the steal surface to twist the core out and throw it away. It takes less than two seconds and these little shits are too lazy to offer their guests a good meal. It’s lettuce, you don’t cook it, it’s not fried, it’s up there with serving wine. You pull it out, throw it on a plate, and serve. There is literally nothing to serving a salad so to skip a step is to show what kind of lazy asshole you really are.
I will never be jealous of the poor bastard who is stuck with the job of slicing onions. In such kitchens like Olga’s this wasn’t done by knife as one would think from seeing too much television, instead it is with some kind of hand powered economic slicer. You place it on top of a plastic pan and slice away until the pan it full, then you move onto the next. There is nothing enjoyable about standing above a container filled with twenty sliced onions. Your eyes water, nose starts to run, heaven forbid that some snot drips into the pan, and before you know it you can’t see a damn thing. If there is anyone who deserves higher pay or tips at the end of the night it’s that guy but you will never see him.
We had a crew that came in early in the morning to do our prepping. They were from a local home for the developmentally challenged and worked part time doing many of the task I have just described above. They were quiet, didn’t want to be disturbed, and when their shift was over, they were huddled out of the kitchen to a full-size van that brought them. They were the mysterious A-team that kept the place going. To their credit if we ran out of stuff during the shift they couldn’t be yelled at and the insults went around the kitchen until someone took out a cutting board and sliced some tomatoes or onions for whatever we were short on.
The grill is the one place where a person should not be multitasking but it happens anyway. I recently went to a local brewery to give it a second chance after not being impressed the first time with their beer. I kept hearing that the food was amazing but the beer was still so-so. My wife and I went and I was encouraged to get a burger that was on special only that week. A large group of people sat at a table next to us and before we knew it, we were ordering another round of beers because the food was not out yet. The place was packed. I should have known things would slow down. The table behind us, who ordered after us, received their food while we looked at one another with that “what the fuck” look on our faces. A minute later our food arrived. The burger looked good but after waiting forty minutes and added another $12 to our bill what wouldn’t look good? I ate some of the fries first waiting for the burger to cool for a minute then bit in. The first bite tasted like carbon, I didn’t think much of it until I took another bite and it tasted like it had been dipped in charcoal with a little bit of ash sprinkled on top. I peeled the bun open to find the bottom of the burger was black beyond burnt. Whatever toppings I had on the burger that made it special I could not taste. The waitress disappeared and instead of tracking somebody down to complain and risking waiting another forty minutes for food, I ate the damn thing. At least I knew it was sterile.
These are the things that can go wrong at any time in a kitchen. At Olga’s we would scrape the carbon off the bottom of the burger and move on. Normally there wasn’t a complaint and other times the Motherfucker didn’t do a good job. I didn’t, I was responsible, it was my fault, words you will never hear from our generation Z people coming into the work place. I find these things happening more often as we go out to different places. When there is no accountability there is no motivation to do better and you will continue to deliver the same shitty service. That brewery had several complaints about their burgers being burnt before we went there and a few afterwards. Management did their best to help us by taking some drinks off the order but never fixed the problem. Somebody needs to go back to being the dish bitch for a few weeks until they figure out what they had done wrong.
There are a few tools you should consider having in your kitchen. If you cook a lot of meat a bacon press is essential for cooking steaks and burgers in a fast and even way. Ever notice those hand made paddies rise up into round balls over time. This is where the bacon press steps in and makes your burgers fit on the bun and appear more professional.
If you sauté vegetables for fajitas, or maybe some onion and peppers with fried liver, you may want to get a cheese melting dome. This holds the steam in cooking the onions and pepper faster. Once you become accustomed to using the dome you can cut the time down on serving and enjoy a meal without over doing the vegetables.
A good knife is the most important part of your kitchen, skip the copper pots and pans, don’t become a member of pampered chef until you have an all in one knife. I’m not talking about those monstrosities that slice tin cans in half, those are for suckers with extra cash in their wallets and poor taste in television. Those people deserve what they get. No, I’m talking about the traditional chef’s knife, that if you spend the time and learn properly, will be the only one you need to do almost any job in the kitchen. Those blocks of knives that people get as wedding presents, that’s your family saying you don’t know how to cook, never will, you suck, here you go. The sharpening rods in those sets destroy the blade and before you know it half of the knives are missing because odds are someone in the house doesn’t know how to put shit back where it belongs. Have one knife, there are many like it, but that one is yours.
Always use a cutting board. If I have to explain why then you should stay out of the kitchen. Hell, maybe you should just go back into the woods and live off the land like the filthy animal that you are. Counter tops were not meant for cutting on. The surface will be destroyed and the edge of your blade with suffer as well. Seriously, if you think you don’t need a cutting board go back to whatever primitive Neanderthal land you emerged from.
Things to stay away from include copper pans, you will burn anything you try to cook in these things. The copper heats up fast and you can not judge when to adjust the heat before it’s too late. They look nice in the kitchen but that is it. Skip copper altogether, you should only be surrounded by useful tools that won’t distract you.
Electric gadgets will grow and take up space over time. Unless there is a meal that you make often and need one of these things for the process, I say stay away from them.
Anything from Pampered Chef. Cheaply made, only serves one purpose, and over priced you are not doing yourself any favors by buying from them. I never met a professional that uses any of their products.
If you can, make sure you have a gas stove. Some people prefer electric and hey if you want to travel down that road to hell that’s your choice, go ahead and have fun. Gas is easy to measure and adjust by looking at the flame. It is the way people have cooked for tens of thousands of years, with a flame. That glowing top in the grill I don’t know what that is but its not natural and figuring out the right temperature was never easy. Its up there with using a microwave to cook and there is a special level in hell for that.
Microwaves, see the paragraph above.
To Be Continued….

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Working with Gen Z

People complain about Millennials all the time, referring to them as lazy and wanting something for nothing. I have seen this behavior from every generation and while it bothers me it isn’t the worse behavior I have come across.
I was informed by a coworker yesterday that someone had gone to human resources about me. I was surprised considering the person who had done this was someone that I respected and had interesting conversations with. I don’t know what the complaint was specifically but I do know that he went to the department where he works and bragged about going to HR because “I can’t stand that guy” and “I don’t want him around me.”
Did he come to me and express this opinion? Did we have a conversation where he told me “hey, I don’t like where you are coming from, could you give me some space?” of course he didn’t. I have run into him outside of work several times. We say “Hi” and go about our day.
If I had to describe him, I would say he’s a young guy, 21, who is intelligent but might have more confidence in himself and his place in the universe than what is healthy for a person that age. And I learned recently that he doesn’t have a pair of balls big enough to make a squirrel feel proud. I learned of this final fact after he went to HR to complain about me. How these people expect to function in a work place setting by running to HR every time their feelings are hurt, I have no idea. Why I bring this up is simple, this isn’t the first time he has done this.
Less than a year ago he had done the same thing to another one of his coworkers. They got into a heated debate about overpopulation and when the other coworker wouldn’t fold or agree with this person they went to HR for harassment. If I can’t win then I will shut them up, became the policy for this person. This is a bitch move that the lowest of the low engage in to shut up the opposition. I don’t plan to ever talk to this person again, after all if we can’t be civil and have an adult conversation then what is the point.
I am the 3rd or 4th person that this person has gone to HR about, using the department as his person enforcement squad. I don’t know why they haven’t picked up on this, they have already lost a few people over the months because they don’t want to work with him. In the words of Jordan Peterson, if a young man asked out 12 girls and was rejected every time than the problem doesn’t lie with the girls, he is the problem.
I don’t know what will become of this. I have been to HR a few times over the years and its usually a face to face where they talk about what happened and they file it away. It comes across as intimidating but leads to nothing. The whole thing is stupid and is a waste of time for everyone but the tiny ego it is trying to feed. I hope people start to pay attention to what is happening because this kind of petty behavior is not going to help anyone in the future work place.

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