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More often than not, I feel like people who work in hospitality deserve medals. Not only because of the physical demands of ten-hour shifts but also the surprisingly high concentration of assholes in this industry. This excerpt comes from the resignation email I sent to a well-known, London-based, Australian brasserie that is supposed to be an ethical and laid back place. Right.
"Since last January, when I started working for, let's call it 'the company,' I have tried my best to make the most of my skills as a barista and make people around me, both customers and colleagues, happy. Even when I went through the loss of a parent last summer, I returned within a week and worked with a smile on my face. I feel that, overall, my work has not been appreciated or recognised in this company. Too many times, employees are made to feel guilty for not offering more, even when they do their best, they are made to feel that it’s not enough. I have come across a lot of talented people while working in the company and many of them decided to leave because of the same reason, they felt like their best was not enough, their work was not important. There are too many examples of managers with patronising and condescending behaviours, managers who want to take all the credit and not give any of it to their colleagues, people in higher roles who don’t realise that they make the team only as much as the team makes them. I have personally felt that the one time I may be wrong will be remembered and stressed more than the ten times I have been good at my job. I’m only taking the time to write this email because I have genuinely cared for the people in this company and the job itself. Every single cup of coffee I have made, I have made with love.
I do something else for a living as well. I teach at a university, which makes me love coffee-making no less.
I love the job, I love the people, coffee culture and customers. However, I am very sad to say that I have felt emotionally unwell and uncomfortable, sad really, in the company. I don’t like people who shout to make a point, or people who are rude and patronising to make a point. I don’t like people who have to be sarcastic in a demeaning way to make a point. I have common sense and I am professional, equal to every single one of all the people in this company. Hierarchy can be achieved in peaceful ways that leave everyone happy, I have seen it in other working environments and I know it can be done. I don’t like tantrums and indirect threats, I am an adult. Maybe, for future reference, and since there will be a lot of new faces coming in, try to establish certain rules of demeanour among employees, all employees, including head office. I do believe that happy employees make customers happy. I’ve seen it happening in the ten years I’ve worked in hospitality.
The truth is that I don’t find this to be a healthy environment for me to work in anymore, it causes me anxiety and I would like to avoid it.
Last, employers are not supposed to kiss employees on the lips, telling them it's friendly, or a joke. It's not a joke, it is harassment. Just because an employee is young and new to a country does not mean that you are allowed to treat her like a slave."
I'm happy to have met people who are kind and decent in the industry, but, truth be told, when you read hospitality, think modern slavery.