Well, this is what really happens after someone walks out on his or her job: we stop everything immediately and search frantically for that person. After all hope is lost the search is called off and we have a moment of silence to honor them. Then there is a good deal of time spent on in-depth discussion as to how we all might do better so that no one will be “taken” again. We inform the guests that we will not be able to complete service for the evening and maybe not ever again. At a small memorial the following day we all grab each other’s leg and start pulling real hard.
JUST LIKE I AM PULLING YOURS!
All sarcasm aside, the void does fill with lightning speed, and recovery takes but a moment. In most cases, life moves on with little or no discrepancy since the walker was not performing anyway, they were not able to. Most times with a long-term team member, a walkout has been building for some time. Little or no communication occurs previous. That is a HUGE mistake. I worked very closely with one of my commis chefs on a daily basis for years. I noticed he had been sort of distant and quiet one week. Then one night in the midst of a very intense dinner service, he blew, five full minutes of ranting, raving and rioting right up in my face.(I even got a little spit on me) Throwing his apron on the floor, giving it a real good stomp, he flew out the back door screaming the proper obscenities, my own obscenities following closely behind him. I nearly fell on my rear. I picked my jaw up off the floor; we finished the service cleaned up and went home. Completely dismayed, I had no idea why this happened. Since we had worked together for so long, I called him. After some sincere conversation, we worked out all the issues to mutual satisfaction and he was back on the job the next day. I was unaware he was having a problem; he never said anything! This is a fine example of why it is important to have honest and open communication between all members of an operation. This requires that a manager be approachable. From my own personal experience, I believe that 90 % of walkouts are avoidable if only the person would communicate their troubles and a manager is open-minded; most problems can usually be worked out.
On the other hand, some people who walk out on a job are expressing extreme selfishness. They have taken a job for prestige or money and found that it requires experience, skill and HARD WORK. In the heat of the moment, they find that they have bitten off more than they could chew. Now they have become embarrassed. Sometimes this can become an asset; a lesson learned. Once called out, their limitations are evident, laid bare for the entire world to see. If they have enough humility to admit they have made a mistake, I usually give a second chance. A fresh new relationship (with a different position) can develop and we can move on in a productive fashion. Very creative people are sensitive. Very high-pressure situations create special circumstances.