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I'm Overwhelmed, Here's How I'm Surviving and Sometimes Thriving

So, this semester at work a senior staff member in my hospitality/foods department took a sudden leave. He's okay, he just needed some time and space. He was there on a Friday and not coming back on Monday. Since I was the only one in the building qualified to teach his classes I was asked if I was up for the job. Which of course I said YES!


Here's the positives. It moved me up to full time. I think that is where the positives ended. Let me tell you about the job. It is two senior Foods classes that do production, we cook approx. 50 meals a day for students and staff. From my first day in the classroom we were expected to produce. I didn't know where food and equipment were stored. One of the ovens is a computerized Rational which I had barely used. I was overwhelmed! I was frazzled! I was very very anxious about directing these students when I had only been in the room a few minutes before them.


My Tips On How To Survive:

Ask For Help - I have a co-oworker who has done a similar job at our school for many years. Even though now I have a rough menu in place I ask him for menu suggestion all the time. He reminds me how to repurpose leftovers and what flavours students like. He also helps a tonne with ordering from GFS (wholesale supplier)


Work Smarter Not Harder - Ordering groceries online - WalMart online has saved me a ton of time. I order the night before for the 7am pickup and they load it in my bags in my trunk! That means no going into WalMart wasting my time pushing a cart and getting distracted


Figure out how to work 4 days a week - I'm coordinating with our trades specialist at the school to take the students on trips. One event is going to the Ontario Skilled Trades Competition and the other is visiting a local College and their Culinary Program. Next trip might me to a local resort for a tour. This gives me a chance to refresh and not have the daily pressure to perform in the kitchen.


Use Your Network Of People - I have a friend who is a chef. He competed on Top Chef Canada, and worked in fine dining for years. We ran into each other and I shared my state of overwhelm and he kindly offered to come volunteer for a few days, to help me get on my feet. It was the first breath of hope that I wasn't going to sink the ship.

So I am half way done the semester. I have had some sucesses. People say the meatball sub was amazing today. And some failures like the blueberry muffins that went out last week that were still raw in the middle. Things are coming along. I hope that if you are feeling the overwhelm at work that some of these strategies can help get you through.

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