Any other bakers or cooks here?

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    • #101454


      Recovering from a bit of a crisis here and I’m wondering if anyone else has experienced anything similar. I’m feeling like there I can’t safely reach out to my community of bakers about this in any way–it seems like there is virtually no conversation on mental illness or disabilities in the business. Maybe there’s just not a place for it.

      I got fired last week from my first baking job that wasn’t my own business (I’ve been running a cottage bakery for six months). I had been at this professional artisan bakery for a little over six weeks. I started working there because I see them as the best bakery in my state, or in my area of the state. A social media follower that works there reached out to me and was very encouraging about me joining.

      So me getting fired… definitely had to do with my ADHD. After four weeks working there, my heart was definitely telling me to quit, but I wanted the experience, I wanted to try to get promoted if possible… in the end it was all about the stamp on the resume; I wasn’t enjoying it anymore at all. I started getting a lot of anxiety at work and making mistakes. Things that were safety issues, like dropping a stack of boards or pans. Sometimes I’d shape the wrong number of a product before switching–we had it written down, but it was hard for me to understand–each bakery has its own system. I should mention that this is a wholesale bakery where virtually all the dividing and shaping, and of course slicing, are automated. My job was limited to those three things, so I sometimes felt like a conveyor belt. Eventually the mistakes got really big. When the divider was programmed for one dough, I dumped another that wasn’t quite ready yet. They weren’t labeled and they looked exactly the same but didn’t handle quite the same; we were just expected to know which one it was because of the order in which they were arranged on the production floor and the list of doughs that were in line for processing. The next day, I dropped a stack of 30 or more boards. These boards are not supposed to be washed often because their surface is easily damaged by hot water. It would interrupt the next shift because they usually need as many boards as they can get. The next day, I was still on my break when our fastest-moving dough was done mixing. I got back to work with it as fast as I could, but it was still way overproofed by the tail end of shaping.

      One thing also in the last week, I was terrible with numbers. I looked at the number 11 and went over and shaped 5, I genuinely thought it had said 5. I could never remember the numbers, I’d have to look at it again and again, it took me longer than they expected to do division in my head, and I’d have to do it over and over and wasn’t allowed to write things down for my working memory’s sake

      The owners have developed the perfect product; now they just need a well-oiled machine to run it out every day by 10 AM. I can’t be a part of that. I don’t want to be. I want to be a human… like them, so maybe it’s an issue of not owning the bakery I worked at haha. I want a chance to nurture my product through every part of the process without being looked down upon for being the most womanly woman in the bakery. There were so many problems. Usually, I have problems with being late, but with this job, I was never late. At 3 AM. I’ll try again. In a different state. Where the bakery is closer than 30 minutes away from where I live. Where I can work with women. Hopefully there’s something that will work. What do I have to ask about the workplace culture in my next interview? Help…

    • #101531
      Penny Williams

      Sounds like you’re looking for a small bakery where everything is made by hand. The automation didn’t keep you interested and may have been too fast-paced.

      Ask about the specific tasks of the job day-to-day. Ask what the employee culture is like.

      Acing the Job Interview

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

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