Dishwashers Begging For Validation


It’s a great thing to love your job and have a desire to do well, improve and move up in the company. However, not every employee wants to move up. In fact, some just don’t care and would rather do as much as they can and go home. Most dishwashers just want to do their jobs and go home. They don’t really aspire to move up within the company, but would rather find another job. This was how I felt as a dishwasher working for a temp agency.

People were always trying to prove that they were better than me, the dishwashing temp, but the funny thing about that was that they were “proving” themselves to someone who didn’t give a damn. For example, as I worked for a local university restaurant, a fellow dishwashing employee named Daniel, decides that to take it upon himself to tell me exactly how I should be washing the dishes. Although I didn’t look at this job as a chance for promotion, I did value the knowledge of how others do their jobs because I like to work in harmony. I understand that everyone works differently and since I was only there for a few hours a day, I figured I’d work with the fellow.

The dish room was in the far back of the café. It was still under construction as the massive chrome dishwasher in the middle of the room wasn’t built yet. We worked in a three department sink which was against the wall in a room without windows. It probably smelled, but to be honest, I never smell anything at my dishwashing jobs.

Daniel constantly bragged about how hard he worked and how the bosses in the kitchen respect his work efforts. It was the only thing he ever talked about. In fact, when I tried switching the subject to sports or current events, he was quiet, until it was time to put dishes away. Then he would tell me how he organized all the shelves to the boss’s satisfaction.

These conversations with Daniel were only to prove to himself that he was a good worker. He kept asking my opinion of how hard he worked and what I thought of his work quality. I guess it gave him some sort of validation. Like I said in the beginning, I really didn’t care one way or the other, I just wanted to do my job and go home. Sometimes I actually agreed with him, but other times, I just said whatever made him feel good enough to hush.

Little did he know, that I had worked there about a year ago. The bosses told me not to return to the job because I worked too slow. Of course, that’s far from truth. There were thousands of dishes in the dishwashing room and hundreds keep coming every thirty minutes. These bosses wanted me to rush through a job that took at least three men and I was washing by myself. They let me go because they felt I had an attitude when I told them that I was going as fast as I could. Truth be told, I was dead tired and I probably said someone they didn’t like. As far as I know, I was told to never come back to the school. During that whole time I saw the bosses more so as highly ungrateful slave drivers than employers.  

Needless to say, when Daniel was telling me how much the bosses loved him, I wanted to laugh. I thought of Daniel as a kiss ass. He was kissing ass just to give himself some sort of validation. He was searching for someone to give him the comments and praises. Maybe he needed his ego stroked because there was no way these dudes cared how hard he worked. As long as the bosses got what they wanted, they’ll be quiet and not say anything, but when you mess up, you’ll be told to work harder or be let go.

I honestly don’t know. I just wanted to get through the job and be done. I was actually glad when he was quiet. When the next dishwasher came to relieve him, we joked about Daniel until my shift ended.