Pizzas & Calzones

Posted: December 11, 2011 in Food for Thought
Tags: , ,

“It’s complicated, it’s a much longer story to tell” is how I have to preface any conversation about my current job. It’s become so frustrating for me to explain to people how and why I am having such a hard time with what seems like an awesome job and why their knowledge of me is not always accurate. I’ve decided to use this posting as a perfect example from a recent work event.

Sell Event
Two weeks ago, we had a ‘sell event,’ which is when you invite candidates you’ve offered a job to with your group out for a social event. We had pizza making and karaoke.

The pizza making involved us making pizzas, and in a great surprise of events we would be making personal pan pizzas. Yes! As we started to be given instructions and a demo of the pizza making, my mind was already in over drive. Being ‘that person’ I decided to ask the big Naples woman if she would be adding a ‘lip’ to the pizza to make the crust. And question that got many stares from my colleagues. I mean, what type of pizza doesn’t have a pronounced crust? Fine, then at least address the crust issue for some of us that like traditional, crust-laden pizza.

Now that the demo had been completed, we went back to our individual stations and I got to work. I found a big heap of dough and immediately knew that I wanted to make deep dish pizza. As I started rolling out the dough, I decided ‘I have to make this a cheese-crust pizza.’ At that point I got on line to add toppings to my dough and I got many stares and comments about how thick my pizza was, while the rest of the people had roll out their dough to be very thin like the woman who had given us the demonstration.

As I start to roll the mozzarella cheese into the crust, I decide that it would be really interesting to make a calzone. I make my pie and ask the Naples woman if there are other toppings and she replies that they don’t have meat balls. And I said ‘I meant like chicken, or sausage or…’ Realizing that I now sound ungrateful, I decide to ask ‘If I wanted to make this into a calzone, I would just need to flip this over right?’ in order to save my gaffe. This made her smile and say:

You make me happy…come with me

She starts to unfold the lip of the pizza, and I tell her that I have plans for cheese filled crust. She gives a knowing glance and dismisses the other chef who has echoed my sentiments. She only unfolds half of the lip in order to tuck the other side of the pizza in, making a perfectly closed ‘pizza purse’ aka calzone.

Me: How do we take this to the next level?
Chef: Let’s add cheese on top

Nom!

Colleagues: What’s that?
Me: It’s a calzone!
Colleague: you would have to be differentMe: What, it’s food, you should enjoy what you’re eating…they’re personal pizzas!

On a side note, the seating at a sell event can often be critical. I learned the hard way last year that being stuck around some people ensures that you can easily get stuck sitting somewhere for longer than you’d rather be. I had made an effort to orchestrate where I sat and with whom I sat. I had managed to round up the people most similar to me, aka the fun bunch. My table (one of three) decided to clap every time someone at our table got their pizzas, commencing with a loud cheer when all of our table had their pizzas. Did I mention we were the only table that did this? It wasn’t awkward, but it was very telling of the kinds of people in our group. Two women made explicit points about the hole in their pizzas and the innuendos around that, and one guy put his pizza on his head while another guy took a bite (all for the camera of course).

Analysis
You can see from this event where we are given the freedom to make our pizzas that I like to be creative and do what makes me happiest — I also like to engage people in a way that no one else had bothered to do by talking to the chef. I had been given stares and derision for asking about pizza crust while others were content to not ask any questions, and I decided that thin crust didn’t work for me even though that’s what the recipe showcased but didn’t explicitly call for. I also asked about other toppings while no one else bothered to see if they could maximize what was supposed to be their personal pizza. If it’s my dinner, I really want to make it my way and with all of the things I require.

I can admit that I do try to be different sometimes, and that that is my natural inclination but under no circumstance should everything that I do be perceived as an intention to subvert authority. I do subvert, but in this instance and most at in this group people’s perception that I am intentionally going out of my way to be myself is foolhardy. Technically, I did more work to get what I wanted in a calzone, but often I can do a process differently to achieve the same result yet be perceived as an intentional outlier.

In a nut shell, being different or trying a different approach is not always appreciated. Innocent actions can often be perceived as intentional subversion, and what is a matter of personal choice (what type of pizza, if pizza at all) can often be subject to unnecessary public scrutiny even if it shouldn’t be a matter debated by the public.

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