Chances are, you’ve probably heard of a little bistro called Amy’s Baking Company by now. The Scottsdale restaurant, owned by Samy Bouzaglo and his wife (who’s also the chef) Amy created quite a controversy when they became the first featured eatery that caused celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay to walk out and stop production during Kitchen Nightmares. Amy and Samy reported that they had about 100 employees rotate in and out of their place in the span of the year, and it’s obvious as to why – since Amy refuses to take criticism and likes to shift the blame onto everyone but herself, she is almost impossible to work with. One employee named Katy Cipriano was fired during filming for asking Amy the question of “Are you sure?” regarding what table ordered the plate of late, stale food Amy prepared, and then went on Reddit to explain she only worked there for less than a month. Oh – and when you tip your waitress, you expect it to either go directly to her, or be split amongst the day’s wait staff, right? Samy took the tips for himself. What a stand up dude.
After the episode aired, Amy and Samy took to Facebook to post a lot of hate-filled status messages which included too many curses and insults to be reprinted here. They even admitted that their pastries – which was the one highlight of the restaurant for Ramsay – weren’t made in-house, but repackaged from other places. In summary: They’re right, you’re wrong, they’re amazing, and your tastebuds are obviously broken because it’s not their fault their excellent food has been critically panned. These messages were deleted later, and replaced with this:
Sure, guys. Sure.
The truth of the matter is, unfortunately every terrible boss out there doesn’t have the opportunity to humiliate themselves and ruin their reputations on reality television. That’s the American Dream for the constantly harassed employee. Not every under-tipped waitress like Katy gets a chance to spill her side of the story to people who truly care about her well-being after a three week job stint. Horrible bosses are everywhere, and they have the power of pretty much ruining your life. It sounds like an overstatement, but when you’re depressed with how you’re treated at work, you often carry that depression home with you. You lose faith in your ability to be a functional human being. You dread each day, panicking over what you might be screamed at for next.
It’s especially tough now; I graduated college in 2006, right around the time when jobs started to become difficult to get. So do you suffer in silence, or risk losing your job to stick up for yourself?
The best way I’ve dealt with it is to try and keep your head up high, as difficult as that might be. If your job was televised, think of how the country would be rooting for you the way they rooted for Katy. Kill them with kindness, and realize that you’re not the problem. And while you’re doing that, send your resume out to everyone you can think of, to try and get yourself out of the situation with a solid backup plan.
I also used my own frustration to do a lot of writing. After suffering through one job in particular, I penned a screenplay that served a larger purpose to me as therapy, than a ticket to Hollywood. (It’s not the greatest screenplay in the world, but it served its purpose.) If you do have the dedication to have your work seen by others or produced into something greater, realize that your monster of a boss will be an amazing, dynamic character – because surely, everyone has known or has worked for someone similar.
It’s why people are so invested in the future of Amy’s Baking Company. While we realized these two individuals are real people (and Amy has a criminal past, by the way) they’re also amusing characters on a reality show, that – as far as numerous witnesses can attest to – weren’t edited in such a way to make them seem worse than they are. These are two people so far removed from reality that they assumed Gordon Ramsay would come to their shop (on a show titled “Kitchen Nightmares”, mind you) and praise them for being amazing at what they do, to spite all the “haters” on the internet that posted negative reviews of their establishment. Meanwhile, there’s video footage of Samy physically shoving his customers and screaming at them – which to me, is much more offensive than someone’s Yelp review about undercooked pizza dough.
A highlight from the episode was Gordon taking the time to interview two past employees, one who claimed that Samy made him wash his car during his shift as a bus boy. Talk about abusing your staff! If a task isn’t in your outlined job description, and humiliates you as a person, you should have the right to say no. Remember that your pride and your health are more important than eight bucks an hour. While a job interview might ask why you’ve only stayed at a job for a certain amount of time, telling them that it “wasn’t the best fit” for you is a reasonable and acceptable response. Trust me on this – everyone has had at least one job where they clashed with a boss, or were treated in a less than ideal way. Unless you unleash your frustration of the situation on a possible new employer, a short term job rarely needs any more explanation.
With a boss like Amy, you need to come to terms with the fact that sometimes your absolute best just won’t ever good enough for them. And just because they sign your paychecks doesn’t mean they know everything about running a business. If anything, this episode shows that sometimes it’s not cowardly to flee if the situation becomes so bad that it’s dangerous.
As for Amy’s Baking Company? Good luck on your re-launch, you guys. It’s a bummer that your newly hired PR firm decided to part ways with you shortly taking you on board. If you guys want to see the full extent of these boss monsters, here’s the full episode. (courtesy of Hulu)
And for all the bosses out there who think they can treat their employees in a similar fashion, let me tell you this: While I might not have too many years of experience under my belt, something I’ve learned is that if you treat people with respect, they’ll most likely respect you in return.