I am enjoying this topic and the responses to it. I agree with and cannot disagree with many things said.
If you drug tested the cooks in New Orleans, you would not have many employees
But yes, drugs and alcohol can ruin a kitchen and produce a true problem employee.
Still, one job that I applied for had me sign a waiver allowing drug testing and a criminal background test, but also a credit history. I just think that is too intrusive. What is the statute of limitations regarding a past history for employment? I truly believe that people can grow and not repeat their mistakes.
sinkiller(!!!) pointed out that that one place has many dependable employees who work there. If they are on probation, they are probably being tested by the probation officers.
I like fieldthistle's and prisonchef's responses that touch on the older worker, I just turned 50 yet I feel that to a future employer, I appear as damaged goods. If I was as good as my resume states, why am I looking for just a cooks job? Personally, I worked in kitchen management and it crapped out my marriage due to the long hours and lousy days off. I have worked hard enough that I do and want to enjoy time off.
prisonchef ===ps. when i turned 50 i gave myself the birthday present of never ever being an executive chef again. i love my part time job. i go in,i cook,i handle the lunch rush,get everything organized for the night guy and go home. no people problems. owners likes me because not once in 2 years have i ever been late or called in sick (well that and i have tripled his beef sales in a non-beef state might have something to do with it)===
This is exactly where I am at. When I leave the kitchen, there is never the question of "What did he do all day? There is nothing prepped." Everything is done.
Regarding his claims to tripling beef sales, at least it seems that he has some input that is appreciated. It's nice when the owner allows you to suggest some specials that work. It validates your experience and knowledge.
I know enough not to be implacable in my attitudes and am adaptable to most situations, as I have seen and done it all. It is not that I am unwilling to do anything or tell them how to do it. I know better that that, yet I have found situations where the owner or chef are very insecure. I call it The Emperor's New Clothes Syndrome, they are afraid that they will be found to be standing naked...
There is a big difference between suggestions and telling someone what to do. I am aware of that, still I find that is best to keep even my suggestions to a minimum.
But I consider Fieldthistle's thoughts here,===There are many of us, in our 40's, 50's, and perhaps 60's who would like to learn, grow, and promote the businesses we work for...to prosper as we help the business prosper.===
This is incredibly important to me. I remember reading that you should learn 50 new things every day. I still want to learn and do new things. A person my age has the ability do this. I like to be proud of where I work for and how I can make it profitable. I call myself the Dr. Frankenstein of the kitchen as I can resurrect food before it is dead.
====Perhaps this is the most important thing...keep all employees informed of what is going on, what new things are expected, of how they are doing... ...a well-informed employee will work harder or leave if they have a grasp of the future. The "need to know" model just makes an employee feel alienated.===
Old saying I learned in the Navy, "I must be a mushroom. They keep me baffled and feed me B.S." I have worked in a kitchen, solo by myself only to learn that there was a party of 18 coming in at the middle of the dinner rush. This happened frequently. In fact, the owner got mad when I looked at the reservation book, he felt it wasn't my business to know this information!!!
The most important thing to do, no matter how much you pay them and what their job is, the boss/chef needs to try to give out compliments for a job well done. I always did that.