Friday, November 2, 2012

Disney week 4: Take courage.

My car got a new sticker. That makes me official, right? LOL

This week was a hard one because I got sick while at work and was sent home. I also missed two days. So that not only messed me up physically, but it took me a while to get my head back in the game.

Missing so much work, I had guilt for the extra work that would be placed on the others. Additional hands may have been called in to help, but that still did not ease the guilt of not completing my responsibilities.

Also, all of that meant missed opportunities to be there and learning things! Sure, it’s been a month now, and even working for Disney is not immune to the work day blahs that seem to creep up no matter what you do. But I kept reminding myself, I’m working in Disney World!!?! How can I let something like a stomach bug keep me down like this?? But, at the end of the day, Sanitation and Safety comes first, and I decided to focus on getting better so I could get back there right away.

But I still had to overcome the irrational fear of returning to work after an absence. Would they be mad at me? Will I face disciplinary action? Is my program in jeopardy here?

Being a CP (Collage Program Participant) here means that I don’t have the same lee-way as a regular part or full-time employee, and I’m supposed to be available 24/7 to fill in the gaps as needed… But part of being a professional is learning to get there and do your best regardless of how intimidating the situation may be. And isn’t the whole point of higher education and internships about learning to become a professional and work to excel in your field? So, there was some growth there, and it was not insignificant.

While I was out sick, I watched a video about behind the scenes Disney World Food which was produced by Unrapped with Marc Summers for Food Network an unknown number of years ago. While I was preparing for my job interview with Disney, I watched this and many other videos to get an idea of what I was getting myself into. Here is the video if you’re interested:

Anyway, I haven’t seen this video since April when I found out that I got the job. But I thought it would be fun to watch it again now that I’ve been here, and maybe it would all make more sense. I recognized some of the food items and locations now, and many of my roommates worked those locations as well.

When I watched this video for the first time, the only bakery mentioned was The Boardwalk Bakery here at Disney World. Since I am a Baking & Pastry student, I hoped that I would be working there. I remembered the Chef they had interviewed on location, and wanting to work with him on learning more about plated desserts.

So imagine my shock when I realized the same inspiring Chef featured in that film which made me REALLY want to have this foodservice opportunity was the same Chef working in The Production Bakery at Hollywood Studios! I have spoken with him only a few times, as the Executive Chefs are rarely around in the afternoons.

Of course I had been polite and professional and tried to show respect and a friendly disposition during our brief conversations, as I do with everyone. But now I was kind of star struck! I can’t track him down and say, “Hey, Chef! Saw you on Unwrapped last night. Big fan. I couldn’t believe that was you! Can I watch you work some time??” … Yeah, that’s not quite the best approach.

But I was encouraged to go ahead and ask about shadowing him at some point. So, after a few days of work and showing that I am a dedicated hard worker who wants to be there and is grateful for the opportunity, I finally worked up the nerve to talk to him. I said something like, “Chef, I was wondering if it would be possible for me to Shadow you sometime? I could come in on my day off and you wouldn’t even have to pay me. But I would really love to observe your technique and learn more about what you do, please.” He seemed surprised and said that I was the first person to ever ask him that. He said we could maybe work something out some time, but didn’t make any plans, so I said thank you and got back to work. So…. That’s where that is for now. I don’t know what, if anything, will come of it, but I am proud of myself for working up the nerve to talk to him.

This week has been all about overcoming fears and intimidation, being a professional, and just getting back to work. I try to show up on time, do whatever is needed, work clean, work hard, be precise but also try to move quickly, and just observe and learn whatever I can.

Sounds like good advice for any part of life, actually.