2 min read

Flipping burgers or people

Flipping burgers or people

25 years ago I started flipping burgers and serving customers for the local markets. It was my first proper job and even though I had to wake up a 5am to get there on time, I still loved it. The kitchen was run by the accountant for the markets, who spent his time cooking the chips and the books. Being a young bloke, it seemed like the weirdest thing ever and for some reason he was a mean bastard. Any opportunity to growl. gloat or be grievous was gladly taken up immediately. The owners were happy with it so it continued.

When new guys started they would be put with me to install the perimeter fences up. The gates were slightly different sizes and required changing around a lot to get them to line up with the holes in the ground. We had to padlock the gates with chains to keep them in place and in winter. The gates, chains and padlocks would be so cold and eventually your hands stopped working properly, which meant if you made mistakes, which the new guys did, you had to unlock them and start all again. Then you would run back to the kitchen and run your hands under slightly warm water to warm them up so you could keep going. I didn’t mind doing it and it meant not setting the kitchen up.

The new guys would be weeded out quickly because of the above mentioned issues. Having to constantly take new people out all the time meant it would delay my job and I would miss my spot to hire out trestle tables. Which was an easy job if you got it and you were used to it. Hiring them out in morning was hard because you had to move quickly and the trestles were large heavy wooden things. But once that was done, it was easy street for most of the morning. Just sit back and relax.

If I had to keep training new people, I would miss my favourite job. It dawned on my one day while I was sitting next to my trestle tables that if I made a good impression and tried hard to “onboard” the new guys, then I wouldn’t need to keep training new ones over and over again. The next time I was in, instead of barking like the accountant, I changed tack and started trying to lead them by showing them the common mistakes and ways to keep your hands warm for as long as possible. I also coached them on how to handle the few mongrels we had there. Plus, they’ll need to work hard before they could get to do other more interesting jobs, such as collecting money at the front and back collection points, which was a lot easier. Also, if they kept on, they would eventually be able to stay back and drink with the rest of us. I tried hard to keep them on track and make sure they started off well, and to be a good bloke to the new guys. Overtime it worked, people started to stay and I started to be consistently on the trestle tables hire shed.

The effect I didn’t expect was I started to get a good reputation with the workers. It also meant the chip cooking accuntant hated my guts more, but hey, you gotta make the right enemies right?