Despite the best efforts, the groveling, the yelling, there comes a point in one’s career when one realizes we are getting nowhere. As a professional cook in the most dynamic industry in the world, it is a surprise that so many of my colleagues have remained a commis for several years, or have stayed at the Peninsula for 35 years and still remains a captain waiter. There are many excuses for this. That’s just it. Excuses. Not reasons. So something can be done about it. But here we can identify the most common. The list is adapted from an article by RunningRestaurants.com:
- You have people on board who are not pulling their weight – Co-workers whom you stick to. Depending on the professional orientation, you may be mired in mediocrity because your co-workers have convinced you that it’s not worth going the extra mile for someone as special as guest. Many have complained of Labor Unions actually encouraging this attitude. I know some individuals (I refuse to call them professionals because…) who prioritize Union work over what they were hired to do in the first place. Some Executive Chefs complain they could not adapt to situations because the Union dictates that it has to be put in writing at least one week in advance. Perish the thought for the head chef to order ‘Pantry chef called in sick today. Go work the pantry one week from Tuesday’. If your posse is not flexible, or have not the sense of urgency. or couldn’t care less about the welfare of guests, chances are you are not either.
- You have failed to invest in yourself – Since there is nothing constant but change, being carefree will leave you behind the times. No more being updated on what’s happening now. Maintaining the status quo. Being afraid of what is different. ‘We have been doing it this way for years. Why fix it?’. We learn new things everyday. We just have to make the conscious effort to realize that.
- Delegating dilemma – We try to be the jack-of-all- trades, yet be the master-of-none. We try to be everything, but fail to focus on what we are good at. So we miss out on what could be done better. If we actually delegate some things to other people, we would not be complaining about not having enough time to learn how to make a good Hollandaise sauce.
- No direction – Like a ship without a rudder, if you do not know where you are headed, you will just go round and round. A vision, a dream, a desire will propel you forward. It may be slow, it may be instant. With perseverance, you will get there.
- Acting on advice and recommendations – or the lack of thereof. Acting on sage advice, on recommendations from co-workers, be it on a professional or personal level, will give you options. If you take it in yet not implement it, you still maintain the status quo.
If you are guilty of any of these, you probably have not move an inch in the last couple of years, don’t know any better, afraid of the unknown, maintains the status quo, complaining you are not paid enough, and basically a boring person. I recommend to take the risk. Learn something new everyday. Be the best in whatever your do. Change. Just change. For better or for worse. At least when you die, you will no longer wonder what it felt like.