You’re right, there are more than 13 ways to dramatically F#*k up your career as a chef.
The top of the list is obvious; redistributing the wealth of your employer into your own Capitec account or practicing mixed martial arts on your boss would both be somewhat career limiting. This having been said, I come across new brilliant acts of self-sabotage every so often. Here are my top 13 career incapacitators:
1. Complain constantly – We all know that the work of a chef is hard sometimes; hours on your feet, pressure and demanding customers. Constant grumbling and whinging will wear your employer down. Step up, be positive you chose this job.
2. Never learn new skills or expand your knowledge – If you are still cooking nouvelle cuisine or if your idea of a great starter is a prawn cocktail, it’s time to learn something new. Take a course, research new trends and experiment. Fashion in cuisine moves fast.
3. Faking it – ‘Yes Chef!’ shouted when you are clueless will never cut the mustard.
4. Cover up mistakes – Nobody will notice: Wrong! Fess up if you make an error, learn from it.
5. Disappear in a crisis – We all know those Chefs who find something to do in the office or storeroom when the Sh*t hits the fan. Bad move. Be part of the solution and help the team dig their way out.
6. Abuse your kitchen brigade – So you had a rough time as a trainee and your exec chef used to lock you in the freezer, right? Tempted to do the same to your juniors? Bad idea Chef. This will get you fired. It is abuse Bozo.
7. Not keeping your ego in check – The curse of the chef. Letting your ego feed your sense of importance can lead to magnificent self-sabotage. Remember - you are not exactly saving lives here, you are cooking. Get a reality check. Leave the histrionics to teenage pop stars.
8. Kickbacks from suppliers – It starts with a ‘small (perverse) incentive’ and ends up as a fraudulent backhander. Go to jail, go directly to jail. Many years of cooking penitentiary food and new best friends lie ahead of you.
9. Sucking up to the bosses – Do not be a brown noser. Be professional and diligent and communicate well upwards. Bosses can smell insincerity from 100 meters and your co-workers will struggle to trust you.
10. Waiting your turn to progress – Best not to wait in line patiently for development and promotion. Get yourself noticed (without sucking up to the boss) and make yourself invaluable.
11. Leading from your chair – Some, may I say lazy chefs? just love their computers more than leading by example in the kitchen. Surely cooking is more fun than an excel spreadsheet. Leading by example is still the best strategy.
12. Taking a job only for money – There are well paid jobs for chefs, make sure it’s not better money but with a dead-end. Build a career with people you trust and can take you up the ladder. Also, there is no joy in working in a job you hate just for the pay-check.
13. Never offering to help – ‘it’s not my job.’ Especially in the times of pandemic every employee needs to be willing to do anything it takes to run a business. We have seen; GM’s doing the gardens, Chefs doing duty manager shifts even Accountants cleaning rooms! Again, those fine people who have had a ‘can do’ attitude are more likely to keep their jobs.
We are human so, by design, we are programmed to F#*k up from time to time. Most employers are forgiving to some degree or other. Beware the dangers of outstanding self-sabotage, guard your reputation closely – your bad name as well as your good, will follow you around.