Lead, Follow, Or Get The Hell Out Of The Way


I recently happened to find an article that discussed things that you have to explain to people who don’t work in kitchens. I absolutely loved it, and I agreed completely. I’d like to highlight a few that most resonate with me and explain some things about who I am.

Urgency and precision are paramount

It’s OK if Bob in finance doesn’t have that report ready yet. It does matter if Mikey on fish doesn’t have that sole cooked at the right time and for the right amount of time, because if it’s there a minute too long, the 50 other items and dishes stacked behind it begin to slip into oblivion.

Often I see fear in people’s eyes when they speak to me just because of the look I am giving them. I swear it’s completely unintentional. They just happened to walk in at one of those moments when I am trying to balance 40 time sensitive things at the same time and they are adding one more. I’m never upset at them, but I admit, the entire time they are speaking, all I am doing is trying to figure out how to accomplish this and where to place it on my mental priority list.

People generally don’t understand the world I live in. I need to know everything yesterday, and I need everything done 10 minutes ago, because if I don’t have what I need that very second, the world may as well fall down around us all. One minute to a professional cook is like an hour to everyone else. People have no idea how many things need to be crammed into as little time as possible just to facilitate a single meal. This crucial part of my work becomes a problem in other areas of my life like driving. If there’s a two second delay, it feels like an eternity to me.

You answer someone with a clear “yes” or “no”

Anything else is too ambiguous.

A few days ago, it felt like there was a volcano erupting all around me and someone walked in to throw a wrench into everything. I got them to follow me and I looked at them with the intensity of a thousand suns and asked a very direct and precise question or two, and all I needed were one word answers. I don’t have time for explanations, and most of the time, I don’t care. I just want the exact specific information that enables me to complete the task that just got added onto my list.

When someone asks me a question while I am in work mode, a million thoughts and reasons run through my mind and I really don’t have time to explain it all to anyone, so they better be happy with simple answers.

It’s also a huge problem when I decide to try and explain, because I simply cannot put all the thoughts into coherent sentences and then it just becomes an incredibly confusing waste of time. I just want to say what I mean. Blunt, honest, straightforward, and simple.

Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way

If you can’t keep up, you had better find some sort of use for yourself to avoid becoming a weak link.

There’s so many things I could say about this one, but it really does stand on it’s own. It’s the one that resonates the most, because it’s so true.

I hate indifference and lack of passion or care.

I can’t stand the bystander effect, where you just assume that someone else will deal with it, and then if everyone thinks that way, nothing gets done. This part of me stretches so far past the kitchen. It is something I actively think about every single day in any situation. If I love something, you’ll know it. If I hate something, you’ll know it. I don’t wish to hurt people’s feelings, and I hate when I do, but I also don’t like skirting around problems or not being honest in how I feel. I say what I think because I don’t see the point in mincing words or wasting time.

Don’t be wishy-washy. Just be honest.
It’s okay to disagree, just as long as we all have an opinion in the first place.



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