No one expected her to get the job, as a cook she was the worst and as a boss not much better. Her niche in business, if there was such a thing, was to sit alone and compile data and solve problems and never interact with another living soul until quitting time at which point she’d rush home to her dog and a bottle of beer. Dogs would actually have been her ideal job. But there are no jobs with dogs that don’t also involve people and so.
But really, a baker and a manager? No, these were not the things she was good at thus it was with true and breathless surprise that she answered, “really?” when the owner told her the news. She would start the next day. At 4am.
It was then she questioned whether or not she ought to have applied for the job to begin with.
At any rate, 2am arrived and after hitting snooze more times than she cared to admit, she was forced to get up, splash cold water on her face, step into the outfit she’d laid out the night before, black trousers and a white button-down shirt, and head out the door, a cup of coffee in one hand and her keys in the other.
Upon arriving at the bakery with less than two minutes to spare, she thought this may work out after all, there was no traffic, no honking horns, no pedestrians. It was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend ones morning, peaceful, and if she’d tried that same trick at 4pm she’d never have arrived even two minutes early. So.
The first tasks were simple enough, turning on lights and ovens, making sure doors were locked, and starting coffee. She followed the owner around taking notes in her phone between asking questions or noticing the lock stuck if you didn’t pull the door or that the coffee maker would sometimes stop after the first two minutes and had to be restarted. Little things. She was a good noticer, however, and she thought to add that to her resume somehow. “Noticer” not being a word.
She’d expected to knead dough and wear an apron and all sorts of romantic notions, but it turned out there were machines for everything. She didn’t even measure, everything was prepackaged. Dump one bag of this in and one box of this water mixture and hit the button, when the machine stops take the contents and dump them into this machine that will piece it all out into perfect little rounds, enormous and anemic o’s to then be placed on sheets and thrown unceremoniously into the ovens. Hit the timer and you’re off to the next task.
And there were many tasks.
That first day was about “baking,” a term she would forever put in quotes as there was nothing to it really, she wasn’t baking, she was moving ingredients from one location to another, it was the magic of technology making it all poof into edibles. Edibles, now there was another thing she was good with. How to add that to the resume without sounding like a druggie?
“Baking” was the crown jewel. Everything was “baked from scratch” and “made by hand” exclaimed the signs. She was told in no uncertain terms that should a customer ask for the manager or the baker, she was to don the starched and extremely clean apron behind the door before entering the front of the building, that she was to always come out with just-washed hands, and that under no circumstances were employees to serve anything more than four hours old.
It was all very simple really. The tasks were nothing an automaton couldn’t handle, a high school kid, someone into edibles. The checklist was simple and much of her day would begin alone which was lovely, all the more reason to follow the checklist ensuring doors were locked. If she could just get through this first week of training with the owner and all his blah-blah-blah, she’d be all set and get her mornings all to herself and get paid for nothing more than smashing buttons.