Making the grade.

edited September 2011 in Spurious Generalities
So, how much of your ego and self worth is dependent on making the numbers at work acceptable or the grades that result from your work at school? Is it more important than the actual work you did?

That number is what counts when it comes to making the higher powers happy, but it might not really be an accurate reflection of the effort you put in, or your opinion of your own work, or even the true quality of that work. That number means progress or setback, no matter what you accomplished or learned. The true story may be very different.

You may have made some personal progress and become better at your job, or learned something by investigating a tangent that was not recognized and credited. Neither of these will be reflected in the magic number, but both might give you more satisfaction, and be better in the long run for you, as long as you can overcome the temporary bad feedback.

For the last month at my new chef position I have put all my skill, and enough dirty cook tricks to fill a book into making my numbers and keeping the customers happy. Everyone was happy with my work, customers, servers, and the cooks, but I knew I would be screwed unless the numbers were good, and praise the kitchen gods (St. Henkel, St. Hobart), I rocked the numbers. The last month's 'food cost', a ratio of the material cost of the ingredients compared to the sales, was 34.4%, this month, 28.8%. In the eyes of the owners, I am now the prospective golden child. I am one happy overlord. But much more important is the fact that I did it without riding my cooks too hard, and the sales are picking up. I am happy as hell, because now that the numbers reflect my efforts, I have some way to back up the decisions I make.

I would say that the massive ego rush and sense of smug satisfaction I am feeling is about 60% numbers, and 40% pride in the work I did, it's nice to do good work, but it's important that it is relevant to the real world.

One can try ones best, do good work, and still fail to accomplish a goal. How does this make you feel when it happens to you? Or have you ever lucked out and made the grade without even trying?, one of those great moments where you made it look easy, because it was easy.

"you can't drink milk with lobster"


  • LouisCypherLouisCypher Regular
    edited September 2011
    I don't think the numbers are more important. Sure it feels good to brag about doing however many covers a night, but my night last night had me thinking about this exact same topic. We had an unusually slow night at work. I mean really slow. Just me and one other guy, but we were relaxed, tasting every component of every dish, arranging them perfectly and sending out fucking perfect beautiful food to every customer we did have. Nothing fell through the cracks because we were slammed, no telling the pantry guy "do it better next time but send it out anyway."

    I'm sure my chef/owner would disagree though.
  • edited September 2011
    Yeah, those are good nights, two or three guys really making each dish perfect, the type of care that you just can't put in when you're getting raped. Some fancy garnishes, some extra time, some really happy customers. Unfortunately if I caught someone doing this now I would have to urge him to stick to the standard plating procedures, even though I would have been doing the same thing myself 3 months ago, the opportunities for hypocrisy as a manager are limitless.

    "familiarity breeds contempt"
  • Gary OakGary Oak Regular
    edited September 2011
    To me it's really not important because I luckily discovered that I rather lead a happy life than one in which I please everybody else. I was actually listening to one of my favorite podcasts last night and the host was talking about the exact same thing. He was shitting all over award ceremonies like the Academy awards because he believes that the real satisfaction comes from the fact that you did something great, and that the rewards are just a pale reminder of what you accomplished. I can't say I disagree.
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