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Supervisor Problem
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I am finishing up my internship. My supervisor has been great during my internship. However, a problem has arose. He wants the interns to go out for dinner before we all leave. He wants to take us somewhere that I can eat because he knows about my celiac. I told him not to worry about it and that if I didn't feel like the place he picks would be able to feed me safely I would bring my own food. I don't think he quite understands the extent of the sensitivity. I don't eat out unless I absolutely have to (ie traveling). He pretty much said that he would feel uncomfortable if I brought my own food. I go out with friends to restaurants but I just get something to eat. I have to check out the restaurant he wants to go to, but I am worried if they can't provide something I can eat. I can just do what I do with my friends which is order something to eat, but that might be awkward. While I am leaving this internship I may end up working here and having him as my supervisor again in the future, so I can't burn this bridge. Any advice would be appreciated. thanks.

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So ate you supposed to pick the restaurant or did he pick one?

If you have a choice, pick a reputable one that gluten-free well. If not, call them and see if they can accommodate you and take it from there.

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He has picked the restaurant. I am going to call them, but I'm worried about eating out. He seemed to become very insistent that I don't bring my own food. He said it would make him uncomfortable if I brought my own food. How much should I push to bring my own food. If I don't feel safe, should I just get a drink and leave it at that as I know he wont make a scene?

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I would just bring your own food regardless. If you feel comfortable eating at the restaurant then go ahead... but if you don't, at least you know you've got a back-up. It's good that your supervisor is trying to be aware of your dietary needs but you are the one that suffers the consequences... not him.

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I would definitely talk to the restaurant manager or chef ahead of time, and arrange for them to prepare a plate of food especially for you (since there will be a big group I am sure it would be worth their while). You can discuss with them and get what you want and discuss how it should be prepared. A personal visit would probably be best so that you can evaluate whether it is safe for you. If not and you absolutely won't bring something from home, then I would just order a drink and a small appetizer, have coffee afterwards and ice cream for dessert if you do dairy and generally try to attract as little attention to yourself as possible if that is what makes you feel most comfortable.

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If he is insisting that you not bring your own food then I wouldn't bring food because to do so appears would really hurt your supervisor's feelings. And I see his point, he wants to treat you and the rest of the interns to a dinner like it's a reward for doing well during your internship. To bring food would be kind of insulting like going to an awards banquet and supplying your own trophy. Visit the restaurant and see what would be safe to eat and make the rest of your plans from there. Some foods are obviously going to be safer than others. I've always found that a garden salad with out croutons with oil and vinager in shakers is a safe option. But, talk to the restaurant and see what items contain gluten and what needs to be done to make menu items gluten free. However, if you still feel unsafe eating there then I would plan on eating your dinner either before you leave or after you get home. At the dinner you could just have a drink. Regardless of whether or not you decide to eat at the dinner I would definitely NOT suggest you bring your own food because your supervisor said not to and that if you did go against his request it could be seen that you can't or won't follow requests from your supervisor. Especially, because he tried to be considerate to your celiac by allowing you to be a part of picking the restaurant but you declined to speak up for yourself and suggest a place you find safe. So if you find that you don't feel safe eating ANYTHING there then you are really forced to suck it up and eat outside of the event. You have to realize that he will be a reference for you for a while and you want to leave on the best note possible and purposefully making him feel uncomfortable isn't the best way of doing so even if it is difficult for you.

I realize that my opinion probably won't be popular because people here seem to think bringing food and hurting other's feelings is better because it's "safer" for the person with celiac. But, there are times where other's feelings do have to come first even if it's difficult for you.

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I had this same problem in the fall with an course I'm taking. It's a fellowship-type thing in a hospital. At the end of the four months we have a little "graduation" and a lunch that's catered by the food service at the hospital. Well seriously, the only thing I feel confident eating in that cafeteria is the hard-boiled eggs. :ph34r: Anyway, the director of my program insisted that I talk to the head of food service and work with them on having something to eat. I must have told him six times that I'd bring my own but he kept saying "oh no, we'll get you something to eat."

But the thing is, as you understand well, I was FINE with bringing my own! So I went ahead and brought something which I figured I'd eat if the gluten-free option was suspect. Well, everyone had a chef salad, and there was a plate of raw veggies with some kind of dip in the middle. And a plate of fruit. Three kinds of salad dressing, none labeled with ingredients. My plate was plain lettuce. I was supposed to put the veggies on and make a salad I guess. Except that there were no ingredients on the dip or dressings, so of course I didn't trust them.

So I just pulled out my food that I'd brought. :rolleyes:

I'm just finishing up a second unit of the course and I'm not even going to discuss it this time. Last time I did ask him "why does it concern you?" heehee... So I'll just say that this time, yet again.

Of course, this is a bit different from what you're describing. In your case I would call the restaurant and talk to them. If nothing else you could probably have a salad and a drink. If he asks why you're only eating that then just tell him (again). Explain that you cannot take the chance. Period. Personally I think it's rude of people to keep on INSISTING over and over and over and over that we do what they want, when we've said what works for us! :angry:

Sorry...my pet peeve. B)

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As with all like dilemmas, the way you handle this is going to boil down to what makes YOU feel most comfortable. Like many kind gestures, they are really born out of the giver's own need to feel good about themselves and not primarily about how it makes the recipient feel. Keep that in mind before you decide how to handle this in a way that is true to yourself.

Were it me, I'd call the restaurant and see if they can reassure you; how well they understand your needs will depend on you. It is very possible to arrange for something simple that will do the trick. I'm thinking you're young and you'll have to find your way in that area at some point. But if this is still not an option, I'd then tackle it head on, have a sincere heart-to-heart talk with the supervisor, telling him how much you appreciate the kind gesture but you are apprehensive about the situation. Your post says "he pretty much said" he'd feel uncomfortable if you brought your own food; that doesn't sound to me like he came out and stated this. I am thinking he may not have a clear understanding of what this could mean for you and you may be so worried about burning bridges, (and that is wise) that you are afraid to assert the situation. If you clearly explain to him (and I'd write down the points I'd want to cover) and he still insists you do it his way, you will realize his gesture is misplaced. But make sure you understand his feelings on the subject before you help him understand yours. I have a hunch that he sincerely wants to include you, and if that's the case, he certainly can understand whatever compromise you and he reach. In any event, if you are calm, sincere and mature about the whole thing, you won't burn a bridge, in fact you will show traits valuable in an employee.

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Maybe you should be unable to go at the last minute due to illness or family emergency.

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I am finishing up my internship. My supervisor has been great during my internship. However, a problem has arose. He wants the interns to go out for dinner before we all leave. He wants to take us somewhere that I can eat because he knows about my celiac. I told him not to worry about it and that if I didn't feel like the place he picks would be able to feed me safely I would bring my own food. I don't think he quite understands the extent of the sensitivity. I don't eat out unless I absolutely have to (ie traveling). He pretty much said that he would feel uncomfortable if I brought my own food. I go out with friends to restaurants but I just get something to eat. I have to check out the restaurant he wants to go to, but I am worried if they can't provide something I can eat. I can just do what I do with my friends which is order something to eat, but that might be awkward. While I am leaving this internship I may end up working here and having him as my supervisor again in the future, so I can't burn this bridge. Any advice would be appreciated. thanks.

He offered to let you pick the restaurant. I'm not sure why you are turning this into a problem by not picking one.

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My first year out of college, I landed a great job and had to go have dinner with one of our Chinese suppliers. My boss had already told me to make sure I ordered a big plate or I'd offend them. I guess being young and stupid and thinking that I was NOT in China and he was HERE, that I could do what I wanted. I was full from the airplane food and couldn't eat another bite. I ordered soup. And then the Chinese guy pointed me out to the whole table and asked why I wasn't eating! (And no I am not celiac!)

Anyway- back to your problem. You should do what some of the others suggest...call the place or go by and talk to them about it. My daughter has celiac and we eat out about once a week with no problem. I just recently attended a catered event with my daughter. I found out who was catering it and then called them. The man even read me the seasoning ingredients over the phone to make sure. You will face this a lot in the corporate world...and that's bad for a celiac. But you don't have to take your own food. You can safely eat out.

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I would not eat the restaurant food . I have come to far in my recovery to risk my heath for any one or any thing.I honestly do not care who I offend when it comes to my health.

I would give my supervisor these choices, I go and not eat or I go and bring my own food or I do not go. His choice.

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Do some homework, call the restaurant and ask.

There may be more choices for safe dining than you realize. :)

If you don't feel comfortable ordering anything, eat before you go and just get something like a drink or coffee or a dessert and push it around the plate.

I disagree that you should "feign illness" on that day, as it just further isolates you and that is no way to live.

If you still do not want to eat out anywhere, I think it is best to make sure your supervisor understands WHY you are so apprehensive, ESPECIALLY if you may be working with this guy after the internship. He may not realize why it is so important to you.

You need to assert yourself a little, hon, especially in the business world---no time like the present.

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"Bob I made a list of restaurants I'm comfortable eating at. If you insist on a different one I will insist on bringing my own food, there really isn't another option for me. I know you aren't comfortable with that but I'm not comfortable watching everyone eat. There is no reason that me eating food that won't make me sick should make you uncomfortable and I really wish you'd just stop making a big deal out of it."

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"Bob I made a list of restaurants I'm comfortable eating at. If you insist on a different one I will insist on bringing my own food, there really isn't another option for me. I know you aren't comfortable with that but I'm not comfortable watching everyone eat. There is no reason that me eating food that won't make me sick should make you uncomfortable and I really wish you'd just stop making a big deal out of it."

Excellent!

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"Bob I made a list of restaurants I'm comfortable eating at. If you insist on a different one I will insist on bringing my own food, there really isn't another option for me. I know you aren't comfortable with that but I'm not comfortable watching everyone eat. There is no reason that me eating food that won't make me sick should make you uncomfortable and I really wish you'd just stop making a big deal out of it."

If Googles is trying NOT to burn bridges, then I definitely wouldn't be confrontational like this. Instead, like others have said, just go to the restaurant during non peak hours and talk to the manager or chef, explain the situation, and see what they can do. If you don't trust what the restaurant can do you can order a fresh salad, but this isn't always a safe option. For example, I can't order a salad from Panera Bread, even if they change gloves, because I end up sick from CC. Sometimes I just order veggies at restaurants so I can eat with my friends. A baked potato would be pretty hard to CC given the way that most restaurants handle them.

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I have to disagree hexon, the only way that would burn a bridge is if the guy is completely unreasonable. Yes, checking out the restaurant is a good idea but eating there may simply not be an option. If she's happy to sit around for a while watching other people eat that's fine, but I wouldn't do that. There is no reason any of us should ever have to, especially since she indicated that he seems to be willing to accommodate her. By offering a list of places she knows are safe, she is making his job of accommodation easy and effortless. By saying that she is okay with other (unsafe for her to eat at) options as long as she doesn't have to sit around watching other people eat is her sticking up for herself. That is something she needs to be able to do and is something he should be used to as a professional. It can't hurt to reassure him that there is no reason for him to be uncomfortable with her eating safe food, even if it means she brings her own. It is okay to stick up for yourself and disagree with someone and not burn a bridge. Being a doormat for everyone solves nothing and is a terrible way to begin a professional relationship.

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Why don't you just eat beforehand, go, order whatever, and then play with it? Cut it up, push it around on your plate, sneak bits into your napkin in your lap for later disposal. He's paying for it, not you. If it makes him happy to see you order food, go for it. You don't have to eat it.

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