Author Topic: Overheard at Work  (Read 5117368 times)

frugalnacho

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12550 on: February 17, 2016, 11:06:19 AM »
While B is the most rational business choice there is more to life than Randian objectivism. If she's not coping in the current position it's very unlikely that threatening her with losing her house will improve her performance. Extreme stress typically doesn't help people, especially if she's already frequently near tears. As for teaching her a valuable lesson, maybe it will. But I suspect most of us didn't learn our lessons in such a brutal way. She can understand she made a mistake without being foreclosed on, losing her home and being out the difference between the balance on the mortgage and the amount the bank makes from the foreclosure. Falling over is enough to learn to look where you're walking, a broken leg doesn't serve to reinforce the lesson, it's just a handicap that prevents walking well even after you've learned to look.

For the business, you need to look at the costs of replacing her. It's entirely possible that they could be lower than the difference between the old and new salary. I lean towards C and then non renewal of the contract (giving her warning that she needs to be job hunting a long time in advance).

Unfortunately for her it's not his job to stand under her and be a safety net when she decides to start walking the tight rope.  Sometimes broken legs are the consequence for making poorly planned decisions and taking foolish risks.  I fear if he goes with option C she won't learn to watch where she is walking, she will learn that she can be completely reckless and she will be rewarded for it.

Who is the one that is going to have to pick up her slack if she stays in the position?
It might be cheaper to keep her, but not so if you have to pay a more expensive person overtime in order for the job to get done.

Unless it's your own company, I don't see how C could be an option.

Option C was to demote her back to her old responsibilities, yet still pay her inflated salary.  I don't know how anyone could ever justify that solution under any circumstances.  Unless it's your own company and you feel like giving her charity for making bad decisions, but even then I don't think you should.

JordanOfGilead

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12551 on: February 17, 2016, 11:41:12 AM »
... So go (best after work) to a peaceful place and ask her a bit - why did she do that, what was her reasoning.
Then ask her about the rest of the financial situation - chance is she has done other bad decisions, too.
Then try to give her advice - cancel cable etc. maybe even pointing directly to MMM.

If it works out you will win a friend an a (hopefully, in a bit of time) good and motivated worker.
If she rejects your tips she has problems I would not want in my coworkers. Lack of self control and leaning ability. At worst kick he rbefore it gets really bad for the company.
Leadership 101
As a manager, I can't disagree with this more.  You are her MANAGER not her FRIEND.  What she does in her personal life, how she deals with her finances, what happens outside of work is none of your business.  Yes, you need to have empathy and some knowledge of the subordinate as a person to build a healthy working relationship, but it's not your mission to "fix" their personal life or finances.  That is a gross overstepping of the bounds of the manager / subordinate relationship.  Some folks might consider that level of meddling into their personal life harassment or a hostile work environment, why would you open yourself up to that?

You have to do what is right for the company.  You give her a written performance improvement plans with some specific, measurable goals to attain over the next 90 days that are directly applicable to her responsibilities in this new position.  You coach her to help achieve those goals.  If she fails, demote as agreed to.  If she succeeds, you keep coaching so you have a productive employee.

boarder42

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12552 on: February 17, 2016, 11:43:11 AM »
1. cooking - pretty much open ended and if you follow the all recipes path and start cooking recipes you think you'll like while reading comments you will learn to improvise and learn to COOK

2. baking  - SET ingredients and measurements and cook times and rest times etc. to cook it correctly

I disagree, I've never understood why baking is considered different from cooking.  I use recipes as a general guideline, but I ultimately go by feel for both.  For instance, after doing bread or cookies a few times I know what the proper water content should be before putting them in the oven.  It's not always the specified amount.  I've also never been able to use baking times exactly.  Gotta go by look or toothpick.  If baking was an exact science then recipes would never change.  There'd only be one chocolate chip cookie recipe out there :-(  Baking as with cooking: experiment, wing it!

baking is chemistry its very simple.  there are multiple recipes b/c people like things different. 

i cant just decide to add extra flour or water to something without it ruining a chemical reaction.  if i want a brothier soup i can add more liquid and still end up with soup.
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Pooperman

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12553 on: February 17, 2016, 11:52:22 AM »
1. cooking - pretty much open ended and if you follow the all recipes path and start cooking recipes you think you'll like while reading comments you will learn to improvise and learn to COOK

2. baking  - SET ingredients and measurements and cook times and rest times etc. to cook it correctly

I disagree, I've never understood why baking is considered different from cooking.  I use recipes as a general guideline, but I ultimately go by feel for both.  For instance, after doing bread or cookies a few times I know what the proper water content should be before putting them in the oven.  It's not always the specified amount.  I've also never been able to use baking times exactly.  Gotta go by look or toothpick.  If baking was an exact science then recipes would never change.  There'd only be one chocolate chip cookie recipe out there :-(  Baking as with cooking: experiment, wing it!

baking is chemistry its very simple.  there are multiple recipes b/c people like things different. 

i cant just decide to add extra flour or water to something without it ruining a chemical reaction.  if i want a brothier soup i can add more liquid and still end up with soup.

Ehh, baking is somewhere in the middle. You can futz with things slightly, but not completely. Like for chocolate chip cookies, you can add orange instead of vanilla (which is yummy, by the way). You can use more or less fat or change the kind of fat you use or even how you order the ingredients (will impact how crispy/soft and the size of the cookies). What you can't do, though, is change the ratio between liquid and solid.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12554 on: February 17, 2016, 11:53:19 AM »
baking is chemistry its very simple.  there are multiple recipes b/c people like things different. 

I could say the same thing about cooking.  They're both just putting a bunch of shit together and cooking it till it's done.

i cant just decide to add extra flour or water to something without it ruining a chemical reaction.

But I do.  I rarely am able to use exact ingredients and have it turn out ideal.  Differences in relative humidity between the recipe creator and my apartment?  I don't know.  But I always go by look/feel when adding the last of the water, and stopping early or adding extra as needed.  Also might cut back on the cinnamon or go heavy on the peanut butter.  Am I screwing up a delicate chemical reaction?  Maybe, but I've never created mustard gas, so I think it's ok ;-)

LennStar

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12555 on: February 17, 2016, 12:16:01 PM »
... So go (best after work) to a peaceful place and ask her a bit - why did she do that, what was her reasoning.
Then ask her about the rest of the financial situation - chance is she has done other bad decisions, too.
Then try to give her advice - cancel cable etc. maybe even pointing directly to MMM.

If it works out you will win a friend an a (hopefully, in a bit of time) good and motivated worker.
If she rejects your tips she has problems I would not want in my coworkers. Lack of self control and leaning ability. At worst kick he rbefore it gets really bad for the company.
Leadership 101
As a manager, I can't disagree with this more.  You are her MANAGER not her FRIEND.  What she does in her personal life, how she deals with her finances, what happens outside of work is none of your business.  Yes, you need to have empathy and some knowledge of the subordinate as a person to build a healthy working relationship, but it's not your mission to "fix" their personal life or finances.  That is a gross overstepping of the bounds of the manager / subordinate relationship.  Some folks might consider that level of meddling into their personal life harassment or a hostile work environment, why would you open yourself up to that?

You have to do what is right for the company.  You give her a written performance improvement plans with some specific, measurable goals to attain over the next 90 days that are directly applicable to her responsibilities in this new position.  You coach her to help achieve those goals.  If she fails, demote as agreed to.  If she succeeds, you keep coaching so you have a productive employee.
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shadowmoss

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12556 on: February 17, 2016, 12:52:47 PM »
I was just coming on to say that I would report a manager who pried into my personal financial decisions so fast it would me his head spin.  It is not his business.  However, it is also not part of the decision process on her pay or responsibilities.  Let me be the grown-up she is.  You most likely would not consider having these issues with a new male graduate.  You might have a talk about how he needs to man-up to his new adult responsibilities at work and in his personal financial decisions, but I'm guessing it wouldn't impact his pay in the way you are letting this female get to you.

BTW, I'm a 60+ female who has worked in a male-dominated industry pretty much my entire career.
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Nederstash

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12557 on: February 17, 2016, 01:05:25 PM »
Wow, so many responses! Thanks! We actually came up with a solution we're both happy with: she's going to do a specific selection of tasks of the highed paid position for half her time, the other half of her time she will do her old job. I managed to divide the remaining 'higher' tasks to other coworkers. Her new pay will be halfway between old and higher pay. She can make this work with her mortgage. I feel this meets everyone's needs - it's only temporary until her contract expires, the work is getting done and her pay will reflect her work. I have a feeling that the lower stress levels will make her do the 'higher' tasks better. I think she got in way over her head and now she gets some room to breathe. I did stress that she's only on a year contract so she will need to hunt for jobs again in due time, because both jobs are temporary projects. But she knew that before her mortgage... *headdesk* I hope she'll find something, because I'm not going to bail her out again. As many of you pointed out, that's not the company's objective.

Thanks again everyone!

Nederstash

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12558 on: February 17, 2016, 01:22:42 PM »
I was just coming on to say that I would report a manager who pried into my personal financial decisions so fast it would me his head spin.  It is not his business.  However, it is also not part of the decision process on her pay or responsibilities.  Let me be the grown-up she is.  You most likely would not consider having these issues with a new male graduate.  You might have a talk about how he needs to man-up to his new adult responsibilities at work and in his personal financial decisions, but I'm guessing it wouldn't impact his pay in the way you are letting this female get to you.

BTW, I'm a 60+ female who has worked in a male-dominated industry pretty much my entire career.

I don't think I would have made a different decision if it was a man. Can't fully prove that, seeing as I don't expect to see such terrible money management in *anyone* ever again :) I would like to add that I didn't pry into her finances; she brought it up as a reason not to honour the agreement. Prying into private affairs would be a terrible thing for a manager to do!

I'm also not in a male-dominated industry, about 60% is female (including me).
« Last Edit: February 17, 2016, 01:24:38 PM by Nederstash »

nobody123

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12559 on: February 17, 2016, 01:27:06 PM »
Wow, so many responses! Thanks! We actually came up with a solution we're both happy with: she's going to do a specific selection of tasks of the highed paid position for half her time, the other half of her time she will do her old job. I managed to divide the remaining 'higher' tasks to other coworkers. Her new pay will be halfway between old and higher pay. She can make this work with her mortgage. I feel this meets everyone's needs - it's only temporary until her contract expires, the work is getting done and her pay will reflect her work. I have a feeling that the lower stress levels will make her do the 'higher' tasks better. I think she got in way over her head and now she gets some room to breathe. I did stress that she's only on a year contract so she will need to hunt for jobs again in due time, because both jobs are temporary projects. But she knew that before her mortgage... *headdesk* I hope she'll find something, because I'm not going to bail her out again. As many of you pointed out, that's not the company's objective.

Thanks again everyone!

Hopefully you have the new agreement and pay level in writing.  I wouldn't put it past someone in a desperate financial situation to sue you for "missing" back pay once the contract is up.

shadowmoss

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12560 on: February 17, 2016, 01:58:45 PM »
I don't think I would have made a different decision if it was a man. Can't fully prove that, seeing as I don't expect to see such terrible money management in *anyone* ever again :) I would like to add that I didn't pry into her finances; she brought it up as a reason not to honour the agreement. Prying into private affairs would be a terrible thing for a manager to do!

I'm also not in a male-dominated industry, about 60% is female (including me).

Consider my sanctimonious halo duly knocked off.  My comment had more of my own baggage than I realized.  My true apologies.

I do think you will see even more of this type of bad financial decisions, though.  It is pretty common.
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mm1970

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12561 on: February 17, 2016, 02:10:16 PM »
I work in a school with 3 year old kids. Last week, we had a little girl shadow in our class to see if she would be a good fit. She cried the whole time while screaming: "I want to go shopping with Mommy!".

It made me sad. I hope one day she wants to play, like a normal kid.

Maybe the mom just said she was going to go grocery shopping while the little girl was at school.  The girl just missed her mommy and "shopping" was where she was at.  My three year old told me that I "ruined his whole life" this weekend because I helped him get off of the toilet and he wanted to get down by himself.  I don't put much stock in what a three year old says.

Ha ha ha!!  I thought my 3 year old was the only one who did that.

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12562 on: February 17, 2016, 02:14:04 PM »
Wow, so many responses! Thanks! We actually came up with a solution we're both happy with: she's going to do a specific selection of tasks of the highed paid position for half her time, the other half of her time she will do her old job. I managed to divide the remaining 'higher' tasks to other coworkers. Her new pay will be halfway between old and higher pay. She can make this work with her mortgage. I feel this meets everyone's needs - it's only temporary until her contract expires, the work is getting done and her pay will reflect her work. I have a feeling that the lower stress levels will make her do the 'higher' tasks better. I think she got in way over her head and now she gets some room to breathe. I did stress that she's only on a year contract so she will need to hunt for jobs again in due time, because both jobs are temporary projects. But she knew that before her mortgage... *headdesk* I hope she'll find something, because I'm not going to bail her out again. As many of you pointed out, that's not the company's objective.

Thanks again everyone!
Way to thread the needle, yo. +1

Hopefully she also thinks about how to cut some of the fat out of her budget, maybe. Wishful thinking, rite? >.<
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mm1970

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12563 on: February 17, 2016, 02:19:39 PM »
Having never closely watched anyone boil, fry, brown, or anything to vegetables, it takes a decent amount of googling to learn how to even cook up just a medley of veggies on the stove.  Which ones need to cook longer?  Which just a little bit?  How can I tell when they're done?  When the directions say "until brown/translucent/thick/thin/a sizzle/moderate boil/beginning to blank" I struggle. 

Also, I have to learn how to chop every interesting kind of vegetable and fruit.  Bell peppers took me years to memorize the best way to cut them, and I use them weekly.

I was going comment with the same thing. It's easy to forget about all that basic knowledge once you have it, but that doesn't mean there isn't a learning curve there. My Mom actually cooked a lot, but I was an idiot kid that didn't pay attention so I'm mostly self-taught from books, but books tend to leave out lots of details.

Let's take the original example of browning hamburger. Do I just throw the brick of hamburger in the pan and leave it? Wait, which one of these pans do I use? Does it matter if I use a non-stick pan, and if so what needs adjusting? Do I need to put oil or water or something in the pan with it? Do I stir it around a lot or does that ruin something? Does "brown" mean when I can see some brown, or mostly brown, or all brown, or half-burnt? And how long does that take, anyway? And what do I do with all this liquid in the pan?

I pushed through that learning curve by being un-picky enough to eat anything overdone, and young and "invincible" enough to eat anything underdone. But not everyone is quite as willing to eat their failures.
My own personal learning curve was pretty steep.  When in my 20's, I rarely cooked, and when I did, it was often a disaster.  As in: burns, and cuts requiring stitches.

One day I made a very hard, very successful jambalaya for a work potluck.  There was a tray left, and I gave it away.  I'd burned myself making it and didn't want any more of it!

Fast forward to age 31 and getting fat on my husband's cooking.  I learned to cook.  At the time, i watched the Food Network.  There was one 1/2 hour show on Sat morning that was a basic how to cook show.  That's where I learned most things.  And then just trial and error.

I created my own food blog even in 2007 or so just to document my successes and failures.  I figured out that if I actually made something good, I should record how I did it.

Nederstash

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12564 on: February 17, 2016, 02:44:16 PM »
Way to thread the needle, yo. +1

Hopefully she also thinks about how to cut some of the fat out of her budget, maybe. Wishful thinking, rite? >.<

I have a really strong urge to make her work on some foreclosure cases we have going... but that might just be rubbing it in her face. I'll just stick to our new agreement (which will be in writing of course!)

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12565 on: February 17, 2016, 04:09:47 PM »
Wow, so many responses! Thanks! We actually came up with a solution we're both happy with: she's going to do a specific selection of tasks of the highed paid position for half her time, the other half of her time she will do her old job. I managed to divide the remaining 'higher' tasks to other coworkers. Her new pay will be halfway between old and higher pay. She can make this work with her mortgage. I feel this meets everyone's needs - it's only temporary until her contract expires, the work is getting done and her pay will reflect her work. I have a feeling that the lower stress levels will make her do the 'higher' tasks better. I think she got in way over her head and now she gets some room to breathe. I did stress that she's only on a year contract so she will need to hunt for jobs again in due time, because both jobs are temporary projects. But she knew that before her mortgage... *headdesk* I hope she'll find something, because I'm not going to bail her out again. As many of you pointed out, that's not the company's objective.

Thanks again everyone!

Out of curiosity, did the other employees sharing in these higher-for-her tasks also get a bump in pay?  Or are these tasks actually lower for them?
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ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12566 on: February 18, 2016, 04:37:10 AM »
I have one.... and it's actually giving me some restless nights. A few months back, I hired a girl fresh out of university on a one year contract. After a month trial period, things were going great and a more difficult position opened up. I told her she could have a shot at it since she was doing fine and she seemed really eager. The pay was also higher (couple hundred a month). We did discuss that it was a leap of faith and if it wasn't going well, she could return to her original position and pay, no harm no foul.

The past few weeks, this girl has been struggling, even after some intense coaching. She was frequently near tears. Had a talk with her and we reached the conclusion that the higher position was too much, too soon. But when I informed her it would be better if she went back to her old position with her old pay, she informed me that that wasn't possible... as she'd just bought a house and gotten a top-end mortgage, based on the higher paid job. All contracts signed and sealed.

So my options are:
A) let her keep her higher pay but make her do the tougher job - probably resulting in a burn out on her part
B) force the agreement: back to the old job with old pay - making her lose the house and a fair deal of money
C) let her keep the higher pay, but go back to the old job - resulting in a thoroughly overpaid colleague.

Need I remind you, she has a 1 year contract as well... How on EARTH can someone make this financial decision? And how in the hell did she manage to get that mortgage... I don't even want to look into that. Anyway, I'll probably go for option C... but I feel well shafted, to be honest!

Don't reward poor performance at work. You need to set clear benchmarks and timelines she needs to meet, and make the consequences clear to her if she doesn't meet those expectations.

Have you considered that she may be exaggerating her personal financial troubles to get some breathing space?

I think this is quite likely.

jwc082

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12567 on: February 18, 2016, 05:58:02 AM »
Coworker told me today that she's finally glad to have a job that she earns enough to pay all her bills.

She makes $60,000 per year.

Holy sweet jesus I live on a fourth of that.

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12568 on: February 18, 2016, 09:44:27 AM »
CW 1: You guys ever use the ATM here at work?
CW 2: Yeah, occasionally.
CW 1: Do you get charged to get your money out?  I just checked and I got charged $3 twice to get $20 for the lottery!
CW 2: My ATM fees are reimbursed by the bank.

CW 1 calls bank, turns out he is not in the same program as CW1 even though he and CW 2 both use the same bank.  The bank will only refund one of the $3 charges.

CW 1: Oh well, I would rather spend $3 for a chance to win $xxx million than not win.

serpentstooth

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12569 on: February 18, 2016, 10:54:13 AM »
Do you genuinely want to branch out with cooking, or is it more "well, MMM says to cook your own food so I guess I have to, sigh"?  It also sounds like you've gotten hold of some bad cookbooks/cooking websites, as they exist in far greater numbers than good ones.  I also began cooking in childhood, but even in the eighties I found I was a rarity when I got to college and the majority couldn't even warm up something in the microwave, so I don't condemn anyone not having the skills.  If you truly want to learn to cook, or cook better, I recommend Michael Bittman's How to Cook Everything.  It literally starts out from very basic stuff and builds on skills.  If you can't scramble an egg, there's no way you're going to make a successful soufflé. 

As for Oklahoma Oprah the Pioneer Woman ... she'll do in a pinch.  Just don't believe that a multimillionaire rancher's wife (before she began making her own millions) is just like you and me.  ;D

Thanks for the suggestions everyone :)  I'll probably check out the Pioneer Woman sometime.  I want to point out that I was just answering how someone may not really be able to cook, since that seemed unfathomable to an earlier poster.  My DH has cooked for years, and doesn't realize the kind of basic knowledge I'm lacking.  For example, within the last few months I learned that when you put oil in a pan to cook something, you can tell it's warm enough by tilting the pan around and when it runs in a liquid form, that's good.  I just kept throwing in water droplets until they really sizzled, which is more of a pain.  I also just scrambled my first eggs a month ago (but I don't like eggs, so there had never been a reason for me to do so before).  And I cook b/c we live in the middle of nowhere and I like eating food every day.  Done with this foam though!

I didn't realized how much cooking knowledge you pick up by osmosis until I met my husband. My in-laws do not cook. As in, they sold their stove and put a cabinet in instead. There are 17,000 little things that my husband never had occasion to learn and it makes cooking super frustrating and inefficient for him.

I like Pioneer Woman for raw beginners because she has pictures of everything. Don't know what "saute the onions until translucent means"? Well, here's a high res picture of translucent onions in a saute pan. Her taste is not the same as mine, but if you can learn basic cooking techniques, you can go find other recipes from there. I also really like Serious Eats, particularly Kenji Lopez Alt's articles. Even if you don't understand everything at first, you learn a LOT about how cooking works from reading him. You might also browse Craftsy.com. They have very detailed video courses done by professional chefs. They aren't free, but it may be worth buying one on sale if something really interests you.

dragoncar

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12570 on: February 18, 2016, 11:43:47 AM »
I like Pioneer Woman for raw beginners because she has pictures of everything. Don't know what "saute the onions until translucent means"? Well, here's a high res picture of translucent onions in a saute pan.

I feel like I have a good handle on the "how," but there's a dearth of information on the "why."  For example, WHY do we sauté the onions until translucent?  What happens if I throw the onions in with the other ingredients at the same time?  They still get cooked right?  What if I cook the onions too long?  I love caramelized onions!

I sort of understand why you cook ginger or garlic first to get the flavor into the oil, but still not sure about onions.

I often think recipes have too many steps - brown this, set aside that, cook this separately until X and then combine. 

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12571 on: February 18, 2016, 12:10:24 PM »
I like Pioneer Woman for raw beginners because she has pictures of everything. Don't know what "saute the onions until translucent means"? Well, here's a high res picture of translucent onions in a saute pan.

I feel like I have a good handle on the "how," but there's a dearth of information on the "why."  For example, WHY do we sauté the onions until translucent?  What happens if I throw the onions in with the other ingredients at the same time?  They still get cooked right?  What if I cook the onions too long?  I love caramelized onions!

I sort of understand why you cook ginger or garlic first to get the flavor into the oil, but still not sure about onions.

I often think recipes have too many steps - brown this, set aside that, cook this separately until X and then combine.

I am not a pro, or even a very good cook, but here's my basic explanation... hard stuff takes longer to get soft and release flavour. If you drop something on the floor and it makes a thunk, it should be the first thing in the pan. If it makes a splat, it can go in last.

Also, the less you want to eat something raw, the earlier it needs to go in the recipe. Wanna bite into that raw onion? How about a rutabaga? OK, so those go in first. Potato tastes like crap raw? Then it needs longer to cook.

Now combine the two to come out with a schedule. Celery is pretty hard, but is also pretty edible raw. So it goes in the pan after the hard onion that tastes like poop raw. Potato is really bouncy and tastes like crap raw, so you can put it in before the celery... and so on.

Those are great rules of thumb and also made me laugh.  +1

dragoncar

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12572 on: February 18, 2016, 12:41:23 PM »
I like raw onion too, so maybe that's why it doesn't matter to me

chemistk

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12573 on: February 18, 2016, 01:58:29 PM »
I like Pioneer Woman for raw beginners because she has pictures of everything. Don't know what "saute the onions until translucent means"? Well, here's a high res picture of translucent onions in a saute pan.

I feel like I have a good handle on the "how," but there's a dearth of information on the "why."  For example, WHY do we sauté the onions until translucent?  What happens if I throw the onions in with the other ingredients at the same time?  They still get cooked right?  What if I cook the onions too long?  I love caramelized onions!

I sort of understand why you cook ginger or garlic first to get the flavor into the oil, but still not sure about onions.

I often think recipes have too many steps - brown this, set aside that, cook this separately until X and then combine.

I am not a pro, or even a very good cook, but here's my basic explanation... hard stuff takes longer to get soft and release flavour. If you drop something on the floor and it makes a thunk, it should be the first thing in the pan. If it makes a splat, it can go in last.

Also, the less you want to eat something raw, the earlier it needs to go in the recipe. Wanna bite into that raw onion? How about a rutabaga? OK, so those go in first. Potato tastes like crap raw? Then it needs longer to cook.

Now combine the two to come out with a schedule. Celery is pretty hard, but is also pretty edible raw. So it goes in the pan after the hard onion that tastes like poop raw. Potato is really bouncy and tastes like crap raw, so you can put it in before the celery... and so on.

If I had to make one recommendation on this topic, watching Alton Brown's Good Eats (or reading the books, they work too) can seriously up your cooking skills. If you like the science behind everything, he goes into pretty great detail at times. he also talks about the history, nomenclature, cultural preferences, etc. about food. Watching an episode or two can easily drive one to try a thing or ten in the kitchen.

dragoncar

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12574 on: February 18, 2016, 02:47:29 PM »
I like raw onion too, so maybe that's why it doesn't matter to me

Yup - me too, in the right place, like on a burger or in a salad, but not really in a stew or soup. Besides, if you're eating the onion raw, you're not cooking - so then its just making (ie. making a sammach, making a salad) and all the rules change.

FWIW, mushy, tasty stuff goes in last because it doesn't need to be softened through the breaking down of the cell walls and loads of chemistry stuff I'm not really sure about. Also, there is a fine line between carmelized onions and burnt onions. Just ask my smoke detector.

Most meats need a quick sear to seal the flavour in before cooking. Lean meats (turkey) need oil (butter, bacon) on them to prevent drying out. Stuff stuck into meat (garlic cloves) will mush-ify to add flavour as the meat cooks.

Here's a fun starter recipe to impress family and friends. Very few ingredients, relatively easy to make, and enough chemistry to keep things interesting: Pumpkin Pie Cake

Note that the hard pecans go in the fryingpan first so they release more flavour...

Raw onion on a stew (e.g. chili)?  Heaven.

But I guarantee if I sear my meat first, then throw onion on top while the meat cooks, the onion will be done by the time the meat is done.

If you do it in reverse (onion first) you have to take the onion out and set aside to sear the meat.  Never understood this sequence but see it all the time.

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12575 on: February 18, 2016, 04:48:09 PM »
Speaking of onions, is anyone else pissed off that recipes requiring caramelized onions seem to say it takes 10 - 20 minutes to caramelize onions?

I get that they are trying to not scare off people by listing long cook times, but be real. You're probably not caramelizing onions properly in under 40 minutes even cheating with flour. I do it for as long as I have time to occasionally stir and add water... an hour, an hour and a half, two hours, whatever. The longer the tastier.

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12576 on: February 18, 2016, 04:58:45 PM »
My in-laws do not cook. As in, they sold their stove and put a cabinet in instead.

I'm confused. If they don't cook, what did they need that extra cabinet space for?

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12577 on: February 18, 2016, 05:14:05 PM »
My in-laws do not cook. As in, they sold their stove and put a cabinet in instead.

Wow. Something almost everyone takes for granted, and deciding they don't need it?  Minimalizing their possessions?  Selling an unused item?

Sounds Mustachian to me!

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12578 on: February 18, 2016, 05:59:10 PM »
I tried giving a savings/investment PowerPoint presentation to three of my co-workers and one of them kept complaining they simply couldn't save any money whatsoever, and that it was impossible. I didn't pry for details but if you're going to attend a retirement seminar where the focus is "save as much money as you can and invest the rest" why bother showing up?

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12579 on: February 18, 2016, 06:10:55 PM »
My in-laws do not cook. As in, they sold their stove and put a cabinet in instead.

Wow. Something almost everyone takes for granted, and deciding they don't need it?  Minimalizing their possessions?  Selling an unused item?

Sounds Mustachian to me!

;)

Ha. Except then you need to take into account that they eat every single meal out. Every. Single. Meal.

Which gets really tiring. When we were visiting I kept getting annoyed that you had to leave the house multiple times a day to get food.

Kitsune

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12580 on: February 18, 2016, 06:32:58 PM »
My in-laws do not cook. As in, they sold their stove and put a cabinet in instead.

Wow. Something almost everyone takes for granted, and deciding they don't need it?  Minimalizing their possessions?  Selling an unused item?

Sounds Mustachian to me!

;)

Ha. Except then you need to take into account that they eat every single meal out. Every. Single. Meal.

Which gets really tiring. When we were visiting I kept getting annoyed that you had to leave the house multiple times a day to get food.

I have actually made hamburger buns, from scratch, because I was too lazy to pull on pants and walk 2 blocks to the store to buy some. Leaving the house for every single meal sounds like the WORST.

serpentstooth

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12581 on: February 18, 2016, 07:12:02 PM »
My in-laws do not cook. As in, they sold their stove and put a cabinet in instead.

Wow. Something almost everyone takes for granted, and deciding they don't need it?  Minimalizing their possessions?  Selling an unused item?

Sounds Mustachian to me!

;)

Ha. Except then you need to take into account that they eat every single meal out. Every. Single. Meal.

Which gets really tiring. When we were visiting I kept getting annoyed that you had to leave the house multiple times a day to get food.

I have actually made hamburger buns, from scratch, because I was too lazy to pull on pants and walk 2 blocks to the store to buy some. Leaving the house for every single meal sounds like the WORST.

I have done exactly that before. I mean, you expect me to FIND socks, put them on, dress the baby in doll size outerwear, dress myself in outerwear, stick the baby in the stroller and all that before I even GO OUTSIDE. Forget it, I'll just bake.

dragoncar

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12582 on: February 18, 2016, 08:09:13 PM »
My in-laws do not cook. As in, they sold their stove and put a cabinet in instead.

I'm confused. If they don't cook, what did they need that extra cabinet space for?

Disposible plates and cups, plastic flatware, thousands of packets of powdered Parmesan, red chili flakes, ketchup and dressing.  Two shelves of just take out menus.  One pineapple.

serpentstooth

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12583 on: February 18, 2016, 08:13:38 PM »
My in-laws do not cook. As in, they sold their stove and put a cabinet in instead.

I'm confused. If they don't cook, what did they need that extra cabinet space for?

Disposible plates and cups, plastic flatware, thousands of packets of powdered Parmesan, red chili flakes, ketchup and dressing.  Two shelves of just take out menus.  One pineapple.

They don't believe in cheese, so definitely not parmesan. But I think they use it to store books, actually.

MgoSam

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12584 on: February 18, 2016, 08:20:13 PM »
My in-laws do not cook. As in, they sold their stove and put a cabinet in instead.

I'm confused. If they don't cook, what did they need that extra cabinet space for?

Disposible plates and cups, plastic flatware, thousands of packets of powdered Parmesan, red chili flakes, ketchup and dressing.  Two shelves of just take out menus.  One pineapple.

They don't believe in cheese, so definitely not parmesan. But I think they use it to store books, actually.

Is Parmesan cheese? I thought it was just wood chips?

frugalnacho

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12585 on: February 18, 2016, 08:48:47 PM »
My in-laws do not cook. As in, they sold their stove and put a cabinet in instead.

I'm confused. If they don't cook, what did they need that extra cabinet space for?

Disposible plates and cups, plastic flatware, thousands of packets of powdered Parmesan, red chili flakes, ketchup and dressing.  Two shelves of just take out menus.  One pineapple.

They don't believe in cheese, so definitely not parmesan. But I think they use it to store books, actually.

Cheese is a figment of the liberal media and the dairy industry.  Prove me wrong!

serpentstooth

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12586 on: February 18, 2016, 09:00:05 PM »
My in-laws do not cook. As in, they sold their stove and put a cabinet in instead.

I'm confused. If they don't cook, what did they need that extra cabinet space for?

Disposible plates and cups, plastic flatware, thousands of packets of powdered Parmesan, red chili flakes, ketchup and dressing.  Two shelves of just take out menus.  One pineapple.

They don't believe in cheese, so definitely not parmesan. But I think they use it to store books, actually.

Cheese is a figment of the liberal media and the dairy industry.  Prove me wrong!

They're from a climate where dairy cultivation isn't really possible (far too hot), and it isn't really part of the traditional diet. And like 90% of East Asians, they're lactose intolerant. My FIL says cheese smells like rotten milk (which is basically is; it's just controlled rotting), and I think that it may be something hard to adjust to if you didn't grow up eating it.

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12587 on: February 18, 2016, 09:34:02 PM »
CW1's 23 year old son has always wanted a Toyota Truck.  This year he bought a 2015 Toyota Tundra for $37K.  This didn't include $4k for tax and fees, but did include a nice lift package.   Same CW's 25 year old son has always wanted a BMW.  Just bought a 2013 BMW for $25K, payment of $225 a month, which according to CW "shouldn't be too hard to make."   CW2, a little shocked, asked how long the loan term was for,  10 years?  These boys have jobs in internet sales. 
       I couldn't speak.  I'm having a hard time forking out $13K for a used Toyota Camry,  I prefer my cars closer to the $5K range and I make 100K per year.

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12588 on: February 18, 2016, 09:57:01 PM »
Yesterday, I had a very interesting conversation with a "financial planner" in a local bank.

FP: Sir, as per xyz report only 20% people save adequate amount for retirement in India. I would like to help you manage your investments so that you can retire comfortably.
Me: Thank you for your concern. Tell me more about your services
FP: At what age would you like to retire ?
Me: 45 (I am 32 now)
FP: 45 years to retirement ?
Me: No, at age of 45
FP: No one can retire at 45. You have to keep working longer to retire. Let me tell you about our great financial product (commission was 6% of fund value per year)

I ran so hard towards the door, security guards thought I have robbed the bank.

PS: I went to bank to close a dormant account and was caught by bank appointed financial planner. Main objective of the bank is to sell high commission products to unsuspecting customers in the name of "expert advice".

coolistdude

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12589 on: February 19, 2016, 12:09:53 AM »
Yesterday, I had a very interesting conversation with a "financial planner" in a local bank.

FP: Sir, as per xyz report only 20% people save adequate amount for retirement in India. I would like to help you manage your investments so that you can retire comfortably.
Me: Thank you for your concern. Tell me more about your services
FP: At what age would you like to retire ?
Me: 45 (I am 32 now)
FP: 45 years to retirement ?
Me: No, at age of 45
FP: No one can retire at 45. You have to keep working longer to retire. Let me tell you about our great financial product (commission was 6% of fund value per year)

I ran so hard towards the door, security guards thought I have robbed the bank.

PS: I went to bank to close a dormant account and was caught by bank appointed financial planner. Main objective of the bank is to sell high commission products to unsuspecting customers in the name of "expert advice".

That last line is awful. Really, no one can retire at 45? Not even people making high six figures? I can only hope that the "FP" has nightmares of you retiring and telling all of his clients.
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markbike528CBX

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12590 on: February 19, 2016, 02:04:50 AM »
Yesterday, I had a very interesting conversation with a "financial planner" in a local bank.
........
FP: No one can retire at 45. You have to keep working longer to retire. Let me tell you about our great financial product (commission was 6% of fund value per year)

I ran so hard towards the door, security guards thought I have robbed the bank.
.......

Sounds like a post for the "Mustachian People Problems" thread.   
Especially if there was hassle from the guards.

RWD

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12591 on: February 19, 2016, 06:55:16 AM »
FP: Sir, as per xyz report only 20% people save adequate amount for retirement in India. I would like to help you manage your investments so that you can retire comfortably.

This line is interest as according to this site the average household savings rate in India is 32%. Surely that means more than 20% are saving enough for retirement?

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12592 on: February 19, 2016, 07:22:34 AM »
My in-laws do not cook. As in, they sold their stove and put a cabinet in instead.

Wow. Something almost everyone takes for granted, and deciding they don't need it?  Minimalizing their possessions?  Selling an unused item?

Sounds Mustachian to me!

;)

Ha. Except then you need to take into account that they eat every single meal out. Every. Single. Meal.

Which gets really tiring. When we were visiting I kept getting annoyed that you had to leave the house multiple times a day to get food.

In my road warrior days (living in a 1 bedroom apartment) I would have gladly traded the stove for a washer and dryer, in fact I even tried negotiating this with the leasing office.  I never cooked on the 4-6 days a month I was home as it was easier to just get take out and not let things spoil.  Luckily I lived in a large city where there were several stores/markets that catered to take out, so I could get pizza, steak, a salad, chicken, whatever I wanted they had it, cooked it, and was ready to go!

frugalnacho

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12593 on: February 19, 2016, 07:28:35 AM »
FP: Sir, as per xyz report only 20% people save adequate amount for retirement in India. I would like to help you manage your investments so that you can retire comfortably.

This line is interest as according to this site the average household savings rate in India is 32%. Surely that means more than 20% are saving enough for retirement?

The guy was selling investments with a 6% yearly commission.  Everything coming out of his mouth should be considered unreliable garbage.

plainjane

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12594 on: February 19, 2016, 07:43:26 AM »
thousands of packets of powdered Parmesan

I'm obviously going to the wrong places.  I've never seen packets of powdered "parm". 

I once brought deli-grated parm to keep in the work fridge.  People feel much more comfortable using that on their own lunches than they did going into my stash of rice cakes, peanut butter or oatmeal, so I didn't do that again.
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RWD

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12595 on: February 19, 2016, 08:00:28 AM »
FP: Sir, as per xyz report only 20% people save adequate amount for retirement in India. I would like to help you manage your investments so that you can retire comfortably.

This line is interest as according to this site the average household savings rate in India is 32%. Surely that means more than 20% are saving enough for retirement?

The guy was selling investments with a 6% yearly commission.  Everything coming out of his mouth should be considered unreliable garbage.

Good point.

maco

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12596 on: February 19, 2016, 08:55:56 AM »
Speaking of onions, is anyone else pissed off that recipes requiring caramelized onions seem to say it takes 10 - 20 minutes to caramelize onions?

I get that they are trying to not scare off people by listing long cook times, but be real. You're probably not caramelizing onions properly in under 40 minutes even cheating with flour. I do it for as long as I have time to occasionally stir and add water... an hour, an hour and a half, two hours, whatever. The longer the tastier.
Yeah, they really just mean brown them. I've heard the way to go is to put an entire bag worth of onions in the slow cooker overnight, then freeze the resulting carmelized onions.

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12597 on: February 19, 2016, 09:01:34 AM »
I'm obviously going to the wrong places.  I've never seen packets of powdered "parm".
Powdered cellulose, more like. That shit is disgusting.

Quote
I once brought deli-grated parm to keep in the work fridge.  People feel much more comfortable using that on their own lunches than they did going into my stash of rice cakes, peanut butter or oatmeal, so I didn't do that again.

They probably thought of it is a condiment, and those are often fair game. I even label mine for breakroom sharing. Still kinda fucked up tho.
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Kitsune

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12598 on: February 19, 2016, 10:16:46 AM »
Speaking of onions, is anyone else pissed off that recipes requiring caramelized onions seem to say it takes 10 - 20 minutes to caramelize onions?

I get that they are trying to not scare off people by listing long cook times, but be real. You're probably not caramelizing onions properly in under 40 minutes even cheating with flour. I do it for as long as I have time to occasionally stir and add water... an hour, an hour and a half, two hours, whatever. The longer the tastier.
Yeah, they really just mean brown them. I've heard the way to go is to put an entire bag worth of onions in the slow cooker overnight, then freeze the resulting carmelized onions.

I use the oven! 10lb bag of onions through the food processor, into a large casserole dish (or 2...), drizzle with oil or butter, put into oven, stir every 20 minutes or so. This WILL make your kitchen smell like onions for a good 24 hours, but if you then freeze the resulting caramelized onions, that's a good few months of luxurious burger toppings, caramelized onion and goat cheese pizzas, etc... For about 3$ and 2 hours. :)


boarder42

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #12599 on: February 19, 2016, 10:35:43 AM »
Speaking of onions, is anyone else pissed off that recipes requiring caramelized onions seem to say it takes 10 - 20 minutes to caramelize onions?

I get that they are trying to not scare off people by listing long cook times, but be real. You're probably not caramelizing onions properly in under 40 minutes even cheating with flour. I do it for as long as I have time to occasionally stir and add water... an hour, an hour and a half, two hours, whatever. The longer the tastier.
Yeah, they really just mean brown them. I've heard the way to go is to put an entire bag worth of onions in the slow cooker overnight, then freeze the resulting carmelized onions.

I use the oven! 10lb bag of onions through the food processor, into a large casserole dish (or 2...), drizzle with oil or butter, put into oven, stir every 20 minutes or so. This WILL make your kitchen smell like onions for a good 24 hours, but if you then freeze the resulting caramelized onions, that's a good few months of luxurious burger toppings, caramelized onion and goat cheese pizzas, etc... For about 3$ and 2 hours. :)

throw a bunch in the crockpot and freeze. 
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