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Should I leave my job over this?

(126 Posts)
SunnySusie Tue 10-Jul-18 18:22:39

I am a volunteer in a very busy church cafe open to the general public. When we work more than four hours over lunchtime we are provided with a meal and a ten minute sit down. Today I arrived at 12 very hungry after an energetic morning and popped into the kitchen to ask if they could save me a baked spud for my lunch. The head cook told me I had a cheek coming straight in to work and asking for food, so I explained I didnt expect a meal straight away, but I would need to eat at some point because I wasnt finishing until 5pm. Then the second cook told me they were busy and I wouldnt get anything until at least 2pm, so I asked if I could go over to the shop to get a sandwich. I was told the cafe was too busy. I was pretty fed up because I am not good at going without food when on my feet rushing around all the time, I run out of energy, and I am not in the first flush of youth either (65). Nor, I have to say, did I appreciate being spoken to like a skivvy, although I have to say that is fairly normal, because no distinction is made between paid and unpaid staff. Eventually about 1.30pm a baked spud was produced rather grudgingly and I got a ten minute sit down. I am debating the issue of whether to leave this job on the grounds I was really upset over this incident, and I cant quite figure out why I am giving my time to be rushed off my feet and spoken to so sharply for no real reason. Am I being childish about this? I work very hard, have tried to fit in and be flexible about my shifts in the three months I have been working there, and have never complained or asked for special treatment. However I dont want to be walked all over like a doormat, which has happened to me sometimes in the past through trying to be too accommodating, and I admit I find it hard to be firm and assertive nicely. I have another volunteering job I love and they are so nice to us, but I took this on as well so I could meet some local people (other job quite a distance away).

Elrel Tue 10-Jul-18 18:30:50

Wondering why you arrived hungry to do a 5 hour shift. Also wouldn’t you wait for a less busy time than lunch time to discuss your food and/or break time. Who is in charge?

Not sure who you consider should be better treated, paid staff or volunteers. No one, of course, should be spoken to rudely.

janeainsworth Tue 10-Jul-18 18:37:26

This rather reminds me of a scene from a Barbara Pym novel. She once commented that the Church of England was full of people taking umbrage.
I don’t think you should take umbrage over this. If your shift starts at 12, make sure you’re not hungry when you get there so you’re not having to make demands on the cooks when they are busy.

stella1949 Tue 10-Jul-18 18:39:29

I personally think it was a bit rude of you to turn up and immediately ask for food. If you are starting work at 12, and you are not good at going hungry, I'd think that you'd eat before you started.

I do a shift like that, and I always eat my own lunch beforehand . I take my "break" at about 3pm with a quick cup of tea and a snack. Expecting them to provide you with lunch is a bit much.

FlexibleFriend Tue 10-Jul-18 18:44:19

I always carry a couple of cereal type bars to ward off unforeseen starvation. I wouldn't be best pleased at being spoken to like that but they were busy working and probably thought you should have eaten before going to work.

Bluegal Tue 10-Jul-18 18:45:57

I think it’s reasonable to expect you not to want to eat until at least a couple of hours after you arrive tbh. Could you have had a sandwich before you went?

I realise you are doing it voluntarily but as you say volunteers are treated like staff. If service users are waiting then they are priority. In similar lines staff generally have to wait until everything has been dished out and pots washed and put away before they have a look to see what’s left over. Perhaps you sounded more interested in what was on the menu for you? Which could account for the reaction you got?

Whether you stay or go depends why you are volunteering and what it means to you. If you don’t feel it’s for you then I would leave. Nobody wants a reluctant volunteer.

GillT57 Tue 10-Jul-18 18:49:12

You should not be spoken to rudely, but you were a bit cheeky turning up at 12, busy time, and asking for lunch to be set aside for you. It is your responsibility to make sure you arrive at work ready to go, having eaten before you get there. Whether or not you had a busy morning is neither here nor there to the people running the cafe, sorry!

grannyactivist Tue 10-Jul-18 18:57:09

Oh dear, perhaps not quite the responses you were hoping for SunnySusie. I have a friend who manages a cafe such as the one you describe and from noon on it's incredibly busy with staff working flat out until the lunchtime rush ends at about two thirty.
My advice would be to learn the lesson that you need to eat before you go, keep the job and live up to your lovely name. smile

annep Tue 10-Jul-18 19:09:51

I'm afraid I agree with everyone. Not much point turning up to help if you need fed quickly. You must know how busy they are at that time. If you're only volunteering as you say to neg people then maybe you should find another way like joining U3A or WI.

annep Tue 10-Jul-18 19:10:47

meet people not neg people!

trisher Tue 10-Jul-18 19:11:49

Cooking is always stressful and I would imagine in this heatwave it's unbearable. You only have to watch some of the TV chefs to realise what a bad tempered lot cooks can be. It was a mistake to go into the kitchen when they were so busy and the cooks reacted badly, the fact that you got your baked spud shows they felt a bit bad about it. If I were you I would stay volunteering, but keep doing small things to please the cooks, thanks, offers of help, praises, anything you think they might like. Then if you ever have to ask for a lunch you may find they are more welcoming.

Melanieeastanglia Tue 10-Jul-18 19:14:37

No, I wouldn't leave over it. I am sure you didn't mean any harm and I don't know if they meant to be sharp but, when people are busy and under pressure, things get a little heated and people say a little more than they perhaps permanently mean.

Let it go. If you really feel they are regularly genuinely rude to you, that is a different thing.

After all, if you were in a paid position, you wouldn't be able to leave just because somebody was rude to you.

Grannyknot Tue 10-Jul-18 19:17:06

I don't see a problem asking for lunch to be set aside (seeing as you're allowed to have lunch).

Having said that, I always carry an apple when I'm rushing about, in case I get "hangry", because when I do, it ain't pretty grin

oldbatty Tue 10-Jul-18 19:25:51

mmm I'm out of synch with the other posters here. I think its wrong to treat volunteers and paid staff the same.
The people were rude. You are giving up your time.

They could easily have said something lighthearted and said " We are really busy now. Can you hang on till 1.30?"
Then they should give you some food, served with the good grace they extend to customers.

MissAdventure Tue 10-Jul-18 19:30:55

I expect it was the busiest time in the cafe, and maybe people were feeling a bit irritable.
I wouldn't leave if you enjoy the job otherwise.

varian Tue 10-Jul-18 19:31:33

Volunteers should be appreciated by paid staff because they are lightening the workload but sadly that is not always the case. Some paid staff may see volunteers as a threat to their jobs. It can be a tricky relationship.

BlueBelle Tue 10-Jul-18 19:35:11

Well I m with the majority why would you turn up for work hungry I would never expect any food at the beginning of a shift or even to go ask for any to be kept
I expect you rubbed them up the wrong way with such an early request

jenpax Tue 10-Jul-18 19:58:20

As someone responsible for managing paid staff and volunteers I would not countenance anyone speaking rudely to either. Yes volunteers are doing the job to make a difference but the same high standards are needed for both in order to ensure the integrity of the charity! It’s worth also remembering that many paid staff are taking a hit salary wise and give many free hours because we too believe in the ethos of the charity. In both cases mutual respect is needed
I would consider carefully your motives for helping at this charity if it is not right for you better to leave sooner rather than later.

muffinthemoo Tue 10-Jul-18 20:11:17

I wouldn’t leave but I would definitely eat before my shift started.

PECS Tue 10-Jul-18 20:32:02

A hot, busy kitchen & a worker arrives and, in the other workers eyes, puts her needs before getting on with the job when they have already been working for a while. It rankled!
When I have moments of doubts because I am irritated by co-workers I have to take time to list pros & cons of the role. If they balance I stick with it!,

SpringyChicken Tue 10-Jul-18 20:34:22

Looking at it from the paid staff point of view, how long are they expected to work before having a break? Are you asking for something that they would not get? Maybe the cooks look at you and think you want special treatment, hence their reaction? And the heat of the weather is probably trying their patience at the moment.
If you generally enjoy the work and are achieving your aim to meet local people, let it pass and stay with it. But if you aren't, look for something else locally and less demanding. Life's too short to be unhappy.

Jalima1108 Tue 10-Jul-18 20:37:22

I wouldn't like to be cooking in a hot café kitchen in this weather - I expect they were extremely busy and get rather hot and bothered too.

Perhaps remembering to eat before you go to work next time - if you know you're going to busy beforehand perhaps take a snack with you.
That being said, there is no need for rudeness.

oldbatty Tue 10-Jul-18 20:45:23

I think some of these replies are rather harsh. I volunteered at a supper club, it was damn hard work and because it was 3 till 7 it was over the time when I would normally eat.

I felt a bit faint one night and was immediately excused to go and eat.
We are all human and I would assume volunteering in a church the people would be kind and show a Christian attitude.

Jalima1108 Tue 10-Jul-18 20:48:50

I got the impression that they are not all volunteers and it could be run as a commercial café would be.

Oopsadaisy53 Tue 10-Jul-18 20:53:37

Sunnysusie you ask why you are doing this job.
Most people who volunteer, do it because they believe in and want to help a particular organisation, in this case I would have thought that you are doing it to help your local Church raise funds.

It isn’t the cooks fault that you had a busy morning and were unable to eat ( TBH I work an 8 hour day as a volunteer and have never been given food, only a biscuit if and when we have any) maybe they feel that as a ‘newbie’ you are taking liberties?

If you are only doing this work to meet people then maybe this organisation isn’t for you.