Saturday, January 5, 2013

Disney week 5: Revealed. The FNG.

The following posts were written at the time, but not posted because it was all very complicated, and I wasn't ready to share with the world everything that was going on.

This was the week that I could no longer pretend that everything was going well or even mostly well.

If you go back and look at all of these posts about my Disney Externship, you will see a pattern:

Week 1, everything is wonderful and I am so excited and blessed.

Week 2, I have never been so happy to be anywhere in my life, and I never want to leave.

Week 3, okay so things have been rough, but I am thankful to be here. Maybe now that I've worked passed the blahs then things will work themselves out.

Week 4, okay, so some rotten stuff has happened to me, and it was embarassing, but I am determined to look on the bright side of things, put on a brave face, and keep going.

.... When Week 5 came along, I felt like I had failed everyone who had supported me and encouraged me, everyone who has instructed and inspired me. I felt like a let down, and I was ashamed to come clean that the can-do-push-on-through attitude was worn off and I was... well... misserable.

So, I hear you asking:

"Why talk about this now? It was months ago. No one cares anymore."


Yeah, well be that as it may, I'm ready to work through what happened to me out there and try to find that silver lining at the end. And the best way to do that is to look back with those supposedly 20/20 hindsight goggles on. And away we go. *deep breath*


Wed, Nov 7, 2012

This was a bad week. I have never felt more like an FNG than I have now. If you don’t know what an FNG is, I’ll just tell you that the NG stands for New Girl… It’s a term I learned from a Chef I worked with years ago.

Anyway, it seemed like all of the hard work I’ve been doing to measure everything correctly, double check stuff, and do things right, have all been replaced by getting everything wrong. Not on purpose of course, but it’s just one of those times when everything seems to go wrong.

So, what have I learned? Well, let’s talk about what happened. First of all, Florida is hot and humid. Just because we’re into late October and November doesn’t mean that things have cooled down enough that the daily mad dash I make from the back end of cast member parking, through costuming, down the back-lot, and across the park to the production bakery without arriving in a sweat. Also, there is no time to catch my breath because I am working from the moment I enter the bakery. I try to move swift and there is a great deal of bending, lifting, carrying, and basic non-stop cardio from the get go until almost the end of the shift.

In addition to sweat streaming down my face and into my eyes, my glasses steam up as I’m running around and moving in and out of freezers. So, I have taken to removing my glasses when I first get to work and not bother with them until things cool down after the lunch break. I am nearsighted, but can basically see what’s going on around me and work without incident. I just can’t read a sign on the other side of the room for example.

Besides all of that, things have progressed from me assisting someone else, to me working with someone else, to someone working with me, to me working alone with supervision, and now me just working alone. So the stage is set: I’m left unsupervised and I can’t always see clearly. I guess when you put it that way, it’s no wonder things began going wrong all the time. Okay, no more disclaimers. What happened??

Well, I was mise-ing out ingredients for both batches of the Sugar Cookie Dough and the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough while waiting for the largest mixer and its bowl to be available for use. These are huge recipes which result in one to two hundred pounds of product at a time. I was just finishing mixing together the sugar cookie dough when a coworker walked by and noticed that one of the ingredients I had measured out was incorrect. Here’s what it was:

Hmm. What is that, I hear you asking yourself. It looks like sugar maybe? But something seems a bit off. I did have that vague unease about it. But it was in the bin for the sugar and what else would it be? Well, I was supposed to measure out sugar. This is not it. Here’s a picture of granulated sugar for comparison:

Ahh, that looks more like it. Or is it salt? Hmm. These things are all starting to look alike. Let’s try a side-by-side view:

Well, as you’re probably guessing, it was discovered that I had the wrong 10lbs of stuff measured out when it was supposed to be 10lbs of sugar. The correction was not made before the first 10lbs went into the sugar cookie dough, however. Did I mention that neither Chefs nor the bakery manager were there that day? No? Well, now they both know since a call had to be made that the FNG put the wrong thing in the dough, is there a way to save it? No? Okay, throw it out and start over.

Now my shame gets to be shared not only with the whole bakery and the people that weren’t even there, but now with the Brown Derby staff and the dish tank workers since I have to wheel the entire thing over there and scoop all of the dough out of this waist high bowl into the trash can. Then, of course, I need to re-measure and mix everything for the sugar dough, and then get to portion the dough out into 8lb logs for fabrication by the morning shift. Then finally get to do it all for that chocolate chip cookie dough, and get that portioned out. Then clean up before I can go to lunch. Obviously it was all a waste of money, a waste of product, and a waste of time. I felt so ashamed.

Oh, wait. You want to know what the mistaken ingredient turned out to be, don’t you? It was granulated Fructose. . . I didn’t even know such a thing existed. I still don’t know what they use it for.

Upon closer inspection, the fructose bin isn’t even labeled. When I asked if we could label it they said no, it’s just the bin with no label. All of the other bins have large red plaques on them with clearly readable lettering. Except the sugar bin which has a tiny black label just under the lip of the bin. And apparently, the bins frequently move around so you can’t just grab the ingredients from the normal spot. Well, one thing is for sure. I haven’t made that mistake again.

And? I don’t think I can talk about the Brownie incident. Suffice it to say, I added too much water. So I had to increase the recipe to make up for it. And it resulted in 250lbs of brownie batter. That then had to be portioned out and baked and set everything back yet again. *sigh*

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