I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Just Add Competence

The good news is - no, the GREAT news is - that I've been offered and have accepted a fabulous job. Close to home, human hours (not usual nocturnal pastry hours), cooking quality products, and being paid a reasonable amount. Plus the days and shift times will allow me to still pick my kids up at school and have a life. Hooray!

The more bloggable news is that I went for the interview with Big Cake Shop today. I figured at the least I'd get to sticky beak around in how other people do it - and they have a showroom so I would get to see some of their work up close. Who would of thought that, within minutes of entering the place, the last thing I wanted to do was get close to these things?

You know how you admire something, or someone, or someplace...and in your mind you've built them up to be this amazing, fabulous, unattainable thing? But then you meet Billy Joel and actually he's a jerk (this didn't happen) or you drink the coffee and it tastes like crap (happens all the time) or you visit Rome and find it to be dirty and crowded (true) and then you come crashing right back down to earth? This happened to me today.

I found myself really nervous just approaching the place. For literally YEARS I have imagined what it might be like to work somewhere like that, to be a part of that creative process, to be associated with a business who charges, at minimum, $500 a cake. For me, this place was the holiest of holies when it came to cakes. It took about 6.7 seconds for my impressions, and my built up ideas of the place, to come crashing down. I'm not sure if it was the inches of dust all over the display cakes, or the fact that the owner I was supposed to meet did not bother to show up, nor tell anyone else I was coming. Maybe it was a bit of both.

After much confusion about who I was and what I was doing there, the owner was called. Turns out she was having a day off, and while she did not forget about my appointment, she just wasn't really feeling well enough to bother coming in. Nor, clearly, was she well enough to tell anyone else I was coming in for the interview. *sigh* Luckily another employee felt sorry for me, and kindly gave me a tour of the place and we had a chat about the kinds of things they do.

There is nothing more horrible than walking into a bakery and realising that there is NOT one egg, no butter, no oil, no flour, no... anything... to be found except for giant bags of box mix. Perhaps this situation is made more horrible by the fact that the employee you're talking to tells you she HATES pre-mix and doesn't know why they sell it except that the POSH but UNEDUCATED clients they get clearly seem to like it.

Oy, oy and triple OY.

At the end of this non-interview, when I tried to get some actual details of the job, it became clear that this place is a little bit adrift. They can't tell me anything about the days or hours they want, nothing about what tasks the person might be doing (other than decorating cakes of course)... really, they just seemed to have no idea what they wanted. In the end she told me they might call on me when they move premises (nice bit of industry gossip there!)... which she thinks might be in September, but she's not really sure, since... and so on and so forth.

Truly, I had walked into the cake twilight zone without realising it.

It did, however, give me one very valuable piece of information: that if these people can make a living out of custom cakes, IMAGINE what heights I will reach purely through means of being competent. The mind boggles.


Claire - Matching Pegs said...

Congrats on the new job.

Now I am really curious about where this other cake place is....

Rachel said...

So glad you've found a job you're happy with. And quite open-mouthed at the unprofessional behaviour of the "big cake shop"! Your previous post about supermarket cakes etc was very thought provoking, so to think that an upmarket cake shop also uses cake mixes? I'm amazed they can get away with it and still charge $500!! Anyway, good luck with the new job! When do you start?
Rachel x

Chelley said...

YAY YAY YAY!!!!!!!!!!! I am so happy about the NEW job!!! It sounds GREAT!

What a total balls up on the "Other Cake shop" but it has been an eye opening expericene that I am sure you will take with you!!

momzen said...

The pervasiveness of incompetence truly boggles the mind. Shocking what passes for quality/service these days. I'm rooting for you! Can't wait to hear more about the J.O.B. :)