Work is such a four letter word. It is. I mean really, work is having to do something you really just don’t want to do. Think about it… if you’re doing something you enjoy doing… are you doing work? Or are you enjoying an activity? Ah ha… here you see my point. If you are doing work, you are doing something (at least according to my dictionary) you don’t necessarily want to do. You may be good at it. It may even at times be exciting and challenging. But if you don’t consistently want to do what you are doing, it turns into work. Now, I’ve had a lot of time to think about what work is. Seriously… my job was jobs. I was responsible for classifying what people did in their career. Oh and paying (or unfortunately at times, not paying) them according to what they did on a day-to-day basis. Now in my experience, there were two types of people. People who went to their jobs everyday to do work, and people who went to their jobs everyday to enjoy their career.
Now I can tell you that at different times in my 15 years of employment (yes, I started my first job at the ripe old age of 14 (my parent’s were slave drivers I tell you… or geniuses for instilling in me the sense of accomplishment when you do a job and do it right) I have both worked and enjoyed careers. Ironically, what I thought should be my enjoyable career and what actually has been enjoyable to me were complete opposites (see my post let’s start over… hi, my name is steph for a much longer explanation of this concept all you who are still trying to find your bliss).
So I’ve started a new job. Hell, I’ve completely switched careers. Well, at least that’s what it looks like on the outside to people. So far I… well, I love it. Granted, I go in and (this week) stand over a hot grill everyday, next week will be a flat top, then fryers… see, the thing is that this restaurant I work for (I am in a manager training program) wants you to understand and know the different jobs incorporated in running a successful restaurant. Ha… I’m still learning jobs. Additionally, while you are doing this, you need to be aware of the different relationships between the jobs and how the interact to provide the customer with the best experience possible. This was another aspect of my previous job in HR/Classification and Compensation. While doing all of this, I am supposed to be monitoring, providing direction, and coaching employees to be their best so that they make as much money for themselves and ultimately the restaurant as possible (and ya know… enjoy themselves as much as possible).
So the basics of what I’m doing are pretty dang similar to what I have been doing in HR. But with the added kick of having the ability, should I do my job correctly as manager, to provide the customer with an experience that will make them happy. I want to deal happiness for a living. And I can do this in the form of managing a team that provides awesome hot food and tasty cold drinks (more on my introduction to corporate restaurant management later… needless to say. some of my biases and ideas about it were flat out wrong and I’m not ashamed to admit it).
So yeah, this week I have learned some cool ass stuff:
- How to cook bacon perfectly, and in very large quantities (I believe this now qualifies me as a perfect wife especially since I wouldn’t eat the bacon so all of it would go to the lucky hubs)
- How to perfectly cook a steak to desired temperature (with perfect diamond grill marks I might add)
- That some line cooks and prep cooks are some of the hardest working and kindest people in the world
- You don’t have to perfectly speak another persons language in order to effectively communicate
- Knife skills get better with practice (both in the kitchen and in ninja training)
- Miscommunication is the root of a problem 9 out of 10 times
- Working in the kitchen is Hot. As. Shit.
- The kitchen produces the food. Customers want food. Appreciate the kitchen, the quality of the food gets better. The quality of the food gets better, you have happier customers. Win/Win (Check out the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey. It’s neat)
- I can make great Pico de Gallo… it uses tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapeño, and the salt from the endless tears I cry while chopping said onions (not really, that would be unsanitary)
I’ve learned so much and still have so far to go. But every day, I go to my job, I learn something new, I have a new interaction, and I see how it all fits into the bigger picture. Then I go home (well my temporary home until training is over) and it is such a gratifying feeling knowing that I made some good food that may have made someone’s day. It’s the same reason I write in this blog (well aside from the fact that sometimes I just plain like to hear… err… see myself talk), even if I don’t know it, there’s that pride in producing something (aka my witty and insightful blog posts) that may make a difference to someone, somewhere (or at least give them a chuckle).
Like I said, if nothing else…