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Who would you rather work with? Hard working or naturally talented?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Would you rather have a chef (or line cook)working for you who is naturally more talented but not that hard working or have a chef who is not so naturally talented but very hard working?

I'm some ways I'm not the most naturally talented chef.(or line cook dependending on where you live) My organisation needs lot of work and I'm not the fastest. However I work very hard and people know that if I can do something I will. I have worked with chefs over the years that have been better than me but people would rather work with me because I work hard.

What about you?

post #2 of 23

You can teach a man skills......you cannot teach a man ethics or attitude.

 

I would take a hard worker over talent any day as I know I can teach them the skills and they will work hard to maintain those skills ;)

post #3 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fablesable View Post
 

You can teach a man skills......you cannot teach a man ethics or attitude.

 

I would take a hard worker over talent any day as I know I can teach them the skills and they will work hard to maintain those skills ;)

 

Well said and I agree. Ethics make the man (or woman). They are inherent in the type of person we are and typically can not be changed. Skills can be taught and grown with time. Someone who puts out limited effort or is always looking for ways to take short cuts, or is only there for the paycheck, are a dime a dozen. Give me an honest, caring, hard worker any day.

post #4 of 23

People are more complicated than that.  Sorry.  Are you fishing for a particular response?  I, for instance, will not work harder than required for people that do not appreciate it or reciprocate in any way.  It is my right to decide how much of myself I give and what I am happy getting in compensation.  Everybody is an opportunist; it is your job to find ways to help people while motivating them to help themselves.

post #5 of 23
Does it have to be either or? Some of the best crews I have had were a mixture of both, plus a wide grade of this spectrum in between.
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PovertySucks View Post
 

  Are you fishing for a particular response? 

No

post #7 of 23
I've worked with a lot of kids who are just learning the industry, and one thing that sets people apart from the very beginning is organization. I'm not trying to pick on the OP here, but organization is to cooking as time is to jazz. If you can't keep time, you can't hang. But, a truly hardworking individual with a real passion for the work will learn organization, even if he or she is not that bright, IF they are able to realize its importance. It is the first thing I try to teach, and if they can't learn it, then they don't work out. My suggestion to you is to work on that. Put your respectable work ethic into learning organization, and it will take you far.
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by PovertySucks View Post
 

People are more complicated than that.  Sorry.  Are you fishing for a particular response?  I, for instance, will not work harder than required for people that do not appreciate it or reciprocate in any way.  It is my right to decide how much of myself I give and what I am happy getting in compensation.  Everybody is an opportunist; it is your job to find ways to help people while motivating them to help themselves.


So in this way, you decide who gets your motivation, caring, creativity, and work ethic?

You don't work hard when you feel the place is not deserving of your efforts?

If you feel that way, then how do you manage to deal with management when they ask for more of you?

post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by PovertySucks View Post

People are more complicated than that.  Sorry.  Are you fishing for a particular response?  I, for instance, will not work harder than required for people that do not appreciate it or reciprocate in any way.  It is my right to decide how much of myself I give and what I am happy getting in compensation.  Everybody is an opportunist; it is your job to find ways to help people while motivating them to help themselves.
You sound like exactly the kind of person I don't want on the floor of my restaurant. Front, back, doesn't matter. I am good at reading people, and if you're not giving me all you've got, it doesn't matter if it's good enough. I'll work your position while I run the kitchen, and you'll be excused.
post #10 of 23

Hear me out.  I'm not saying, "I don't work hard because I'm great and this job is beneath me."  It's more subtle than that.  I'm trying to explain a very long and difficult lesson I have learned over the years.  It's easy to be taken advantage of if your only concern is doing a job as best as possible.  You have to also look at what you stand to gain and whether a particular job is benefiting you in the long run.  It took me a long time to decipher the difference between a boss or co-worker that were worth the blood, sweat, tears, etc. and someone who just knew my commitment to quality and used me as a band-aid on a poorly-managed business.

 

And yes, I make choices as to how hard I work depending on what is asked of me and where.  If you pay me to prep, I have mild suggestions for specials and ways to utilize product, but I am not going to cost the menu on Excel out of the kindness of my heart.  I don't do a bad job or take short cuts in correct technique or sanitation.  I definitely don't milk hours or hurt the budget through carelessness.  Management does not find fault with my performance because I am not simply standing around saying, "I would prefer not to." It isn't a kind of laziness.  It's just a kind of assessing one's options and realizing that there is a balance between working for somebody else's benefit and working for your own.  It's blunt, but I also believe it is an honest way of looking at things, and it is a viable defense against the kind of management who hire people and use them like a tube of toothpaste, discard, and repeat.  Obviously, keep your ears open for a job where you can give it your all and be rewarded for doing such, but know, it is sometimes a waiting game.

 

Regardless, the OP's question is still kind of absurd, isn't it?  I find it unlikely that someone would have to decide between a lazy talented person and a hard-working slow messy person.  It seems like there is a terrible downside to either potential worker.  In reality, people are much more complicated and can be trained through creating a fair and balanced way to teach them in which they benefit as well.  That was all that I was trying to say to the OP.  That, and to really work on organization and cleaning as you go.  You can't do anything if you're not ready to do it first.

post #11 of 23
That does make sense, but at the same time, I think it sucks to work somewhere where you don't feel your skills are appreciated or being utilized properly. So the right thing to do is probably to work somewhere else instead. But yeah, that's not a simple thing to do, I know.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by PovertySucks View Post
 

Hear me out.  I'm not saying, "I don't work hard because I'm great and this job is beneath me."  It's more subtle than that.  I'm trying to explain a very long and difficult lesson I have learned over the years.  It's easy to be taken advantage of if your only concern is doing a job as best as possible.  You have to also look at what you stand to gain and whether a particular job is benefiting you in the long run.  It took me a long time to decipher the difference between a boss or co-worker that were worth the blood, sweat, tears, etc. and someone who just knew my commitment to quality and used me as a band-aid on a poorly-managed business.

 

And yes, I make choices as to how hard I work depending on what is asked of me and where.  If you pay me to prep, I have mild suggestions for specials and ways to utilize product, but I am not going to cost the menu on Excel out of the kindness of my heart.  I don't do a bad job or take short cuts in correct technique or sanitation.  I definitely don't milk hours or hurt the budget through carelessness.  Management does not find fault with my performance because I am not simply standing around saying, "I would prefer not to." It isn't a kind of laziness.  It's just a kind of assessing one's options and realizing that there is a balance between working for somebody else's benefit and working for your own.  It's blunt, but I also believe it is an honest way of looking at things, and it is a viable defense against the kind of management who hire people and use them like a tube of toothpaste, discard, and repeat.  Obviously, keep your ears open for a job where you can give it your all and be rewarded for doing such, but know, it is sometimes a waiting game.

 

Regardless, the OP's question is still kind of absurd, isn't it?  I find it unlikely that someone would have to decide between a lazy talented person and a hard-working slow messy person.  It seems like there is a terrible downside to either potential worker.  In reality, people are much more complicated and can be trained through creating a fair and balanced way to teach them in which they benefit as well.  That was all that I was trying to say to the OP.  That, and to really work on organization and cleaning as you go.  You can't do anything if you're not ready to do it first.


I understand now what you mean.

But here's thing....

 

We all work in this industry for varying reasons.

 

Some are here to make money and think of it as just a job.

Some are here because they are dedicated to the food business and want to leave their mark.

 

From the stand point of job motivation, willingness to do the job, I see no difference in the 2 examples.

 

You are at a job to work and make money both for yourself and the company you work for.

It doesn't matter what industry you are in.

I would have to agree with the other post and just say that you have to have a bit more of worldly experiences.

People may take advantage of an employee, but the jobs needs of the place really overshadow the workers,

and to that end a manager will do what is necessary to get the job done, with or without someone like you.

post #13 of 23
Alright, I've been thinking about this a lot. I think if you feel like it's not worth your time to cook for me, I'm going to know it, whatever your reasons. I believe fully in what I do, and in what I want you to do. I'll teach you how to do what I do if I feel like you'll be receptive. But I still stand by what I said before. I'll do it without you if you aren't on board. And it's true, motivation for a paycheck is just as good as passion for the industry at the end of the day. But if you don't belong in my kitchen I don't want you there, and I think what povertysucks is trying to say is that if he/she doesn't believe in the work, or isn't being applied as he /she thinks she should be, then a measured effort is appropriate. I have been going through a thing where I've been accused of being kind of a dictator at work, and I'm more sensitive than usual to the needs of the workers. But after a great deal of thought, I am resolved in my belief that withholding talent or effort is tantamount to sabotage, and I consider that unforgivable. Give me everything, or walk.
post #14 of 23

I understand the experiences that would lead to someone thinking the way @PovertySucks does. However, living with the mentality of glass is half empty, world is out to get me, I'm here for the recognition or paycheque is a terrible waste of vital life energy. The lessons of life will be both negative and positive all depending on how you look at it. I have been taken advantage of many times over in my long life in the culinary world however I do not work any less in any job. I have come to understand who I am as a chef and what I am capable of. In knowing oneself it is entirely on me when it comes to the places I work and whether I get taken advantage of. I harbour no ill will for the incredibly lazy people who do take advantage of others as their lives are full of emptiness and non creativity BECAUSE they are not willing to work hard to figure things out for themselves. 

 

If one does not wish to be taken advantage of then get to know who you are as a person and what you are good at and have to offer the industry, research the places that would fit who you are, your skills and your personality, then in the interview relay this information in a communicative and concise manner. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. Stop pointing fingers that others are the bad people that are to blame. You are in charge of your attitude and what happens to you in life. That is the brutally honest way of looking at life. None wants to accept and take responsibility for their lives however, once you do the world is your oyster.

 

If one wishes to be successful in any career it requires one to know who they are, how they fit in, and where they wish to go in life.......then do it!

 

I work extremely hard to this day. If someone wishes to use me then I take responsibility for putting that energy and non-communication out there for them to interpret that is okay for them to do so with me and then I communicate that is not going to happen. That has come from being an old dog who is willing to learn new tricks in this industry. I am an optimist, glass is half full so there is room for a fill up sort of mentality. This will give you an amazing career full of opportunity, growth and success! You do not have to be the quickest, brightest or the best (nor even the most organized), just the one with the open mind, willingness to learn and to work hard to get better everyday .

 

So work hard, play hard and have an open mind when it comes to life and learning :) 


Edited by Fablesable - 3/4/15 at 11:52am
post #15 of 23


Whether hard working or talented, I believe in the realm of teaching and child care one should never praise a child for their 'innate' abilities, but always for the amount of work they put into their work.  I believe the same applies in a kitchen.

"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #16 of 23

Man, I didn't think I was coming off as that bad.  I didn't say I was sabotaging anything or making service slow or food bland.  It was just a word of warning and a way of pointing out how strange these two hypothetical workers were.  Disorganized but willing versus talented but lazy?  Those are not real people or at least not fully fleshed out.

 

My example, myself, being qualified to work in a burger joint but not really having my heart in it.  I'm still cooking good burgers.  I'm still changing the fryer oil.  I'm still grateful to be employed.  I am properly dressed, on time, prepared, and if a coworker needs me to help them through a mountain of prep, I will.  Sure.  But you're a manager, and we're friends, and you ask me if I was working as hard as I could, I'd tell you that I could do better.  If I really loved this burger joint, I could donate a few of my personal recipes for lacto-pickles, condiments, charcuterie, and bring in my smoker and Vitamix from home.  But when your employer starts relying on you to do these kind of things without a change in title, more money or hours, etc?  Guess what?  You're being used.  And I'm stuck in a loop.  Constantly oscillating between being fed up and wanting to give it my all, and somehow, by trying to balance this out by disconnecting and just thinking of the paycheck while I look for a better kitchen to work in, I'm in the wrong?

 

It's not ideal, and I hope I'm not stuck doing sub-par food for long (this restaurant is ripping people off and using me to do it!), but there is nothing wrong with getting the job done and going home.  People do it in every profession, but in this one, it's all passion this and passion that.  I think dedication comes over time and is far better than passion.  Unfortunately, it is hard to dedicate myself to certain restaurants.  Do you think that guy in the mattress costume on the side of the road is dedicated?  Or passionate?  Or just disturbing.

 

Sorry for the rant.

post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fablesable View Post
 

You can teach a man skills......you cannot teach a man ethics or attitude.

 

I would take a hard worker over talent any day as I know I can teach them the skills and they will work hard to maintain those skills ;)


This truism gets repeated so much no one bothers to muster the 2 watts of brain power needed to question it.  You can teach a man, or a woman ethics or attitude.  We used to call it parenting (children) and mentoring (adults).  That was the entire purpose of most religious education, and the teaching of philosophy.  Many professions actually take it upon themselves to assume their students and new members need such guidance and direction, but certainly not this one.  But since all that went out the window so did the knowledge that people are largely nurtured.  Hence the increasing lack of nurturing in the youth of the USA and the general moral decay.  Of course, taking on someone else's parenting job later in life as a business expense is not always wise, but even natural talent has to be properly shaped no matter how good their upbringing.  Many people do change in response to the example of respectable leadership that they obviously may not have had in their life before.  What you judge on the surface may not actually be true to that person's character either.  I've been judged on this forum for having unorthodox opinions, yet somehow I always manage to be one of the best for anyone that has ever hired me who was worth working for, despite what the internet's "pros" think.

 

But as a linecook, I would prefer to work with talent than only reliable rented mules.  I've found wasted talent is much more likely to teach me things and inspire me.  It may become wasted on them, but not on me.  That may be selfish since it may come at a cost I don't endure, but that is my opinion.  Maybe the lack of trying to tame talent is a cause of the widespread mediocrity in American culture.  Americans embrace uniform mediocrity like savings bonds. 

 

Fact is however, labeling people and making decisions based on labels, is usually bad in personal life or in business.  I've worked for millionaires who have hired the absolute scum of the Earth and gotten more out of them than "culinary professionals" and even turned some of them into civilized human beings.  People in general and individuals tend to be much too complex to lace into mutually exclusive and dichotomous groups and treat each differently through and through. 

 

Yeah hardworking CAN get farther than innate talent, but only when that talent is not properly guided.  The glass is half empty, but it can always be topped off somewhere.

post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enquerencia View Post

Alright, I've been thinking about this a lot. I think if you feel like it's not worth your time to cook for me, I'm going to know it, whatever your reasons. I believe fully in what I do, and in what I want you to do. I'll teach you how to do what I do if I feel like you'll be receptive. But I still stand by what I said before. I'll do it without you if you aren't on board. And it's true, motivation for a paycheck is just as good as passion for the industry at the end of the day. But if you don't belong in my kitchen I don't want you there, and I think what povertysucks is trying to say is that if he/she doesn't believe in the work, or isn't being applied as he /she thinks she should be, then a measured effort is appropriate. I have been going through a thing where I've been accused of being kind of a dictator at work, and I'm more sensitive than usual to the needs of the workers. But after a great deal of thought, I am resolved in my belief that withholding talent or effort is tantamount to sabotage, and I consider that unforgivable. Give me everything, or walk.


Have you ever wondered if anyone holds out on you as an honest and warranted response to you?  Chefs can be so one-sided, they cannot even see how one-sided they really are.  Work is work, but some people are way better than others to work for.  In my experience, most really bad eggs are filtered through decent hiring, and decent people become jaded for good reason, although it may not suit you to care.  But there is no such thing as a sensitive or benevolent dictator.  Someone may have a really good reason to not give you everything and unless you really look at yourself, you may not see that you are really cheating yourself in the long term.  I cannot tell you how many times I've seen the signs and just found another job because of how crazy and ridiculous people can be to work for.  Things like I am being shown the ropes by the guy I am replaceing next week and he doesn't know, and other crazy stuff.  On the flip side restaurants have quality staffing issues for a reason.  Something as simple as being disrespectful because you feel you can be may amount to shooting yourself in the foot. 

post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by PovertySucks View Post
 

Hear me out.  I'm not saying, "I don't work hard because I'm great and this job is beneath me."  It's more subtle than that.  I'm trying to explain a very long and difficult lesson I have learned over the years.  It's easy to be taken advantage of if your only concern is doing a job as best as possible.  You have to also look at what you stand to gain and whether a particular job is benefiting you in the long run.  It took me a long time to decipher the difference between a boss or co-worker that were worth the blood, sweat, tears, etc. and someone who just knew my commitment to quality and used me as a band-aid on a poorly-managed business.

 

And yes, I make choices as to how hard I work depending on what is asked of me and where.  If you pay me to prep, I have mild suggestions for specials and ways to utilize product, but I am not going to cost the menu on Excel out of the kindness of my heart.  I don't do a bad job or take short cuts in correct technique or sanitation.  I definitely don't milk hours or hurt the budget through carelessness.  Management does not find fault with my performance because I am not simply standing around saying, "I would prefer not to." It isn't a kind of laziness.  It's just a kind of assessing one's options and realizing that there is a balance between working for somebody else's benefit and working for your own.  It's blunt, but I also believe it is an honest way of looking at things, and it is a viable defense against the kind of management who hire people and use them like a tube of toothpaste, discard, and repeat.  Obviously, keep your ears open for a job where you can give it your all and be rewarded for doing such, but know, it is sometimes a waiting game.

 

Regardless, the OP's question is still kind of absurd, isn't it?  I find it unlikely that someone would have to decide between a lazy talented person and a hard-working slow messy person.  It seems like there is a terrible downside to either potential worker.  In reality, people are much more complicated and can be trained through creating a fair and balanced way to teach them in which they benefit as well.  That was all that I was trying to say to the OP.  That, and to really work on organization and cleaning as you go.  You can't do anything if you're not ready to do it first.

 

Don't waste too much time trying to justify yourself to "pros" on the internet who are usually entirely one-sided and closed minded.  So many people on here are so ignorant of how nasty a large portion of this Biz is, and how many scumbags really do bring this staffing upon themselves.  I've been the best of workers, and I've been just good enough,  and it isn't about money or ego stroking.  Some people just don't deserve it no mater what.  I've held jobs just to pay the bills until something better came long.  But don't bother trying to justify this to chefs, who can be the most Machiavellian, self-serving, discriminating sociopaths on Earth.  I've learned so much about navigating this jungle and I deal with each type of boss and job accordingly.  Why employers think that anyone lovingly embraces giving their entire life over for bad pay and constant disrespect like a deranged masochist is beyond me.  Honestly, you make more sense than is discernible by much of the internet.  I liked your band-aid on a poorly managed business comment by the way.  That is always the worst because nothing you do will fix anything, and they just want more and don't do anything for themselves in the first place.

post #20 of 23
Everything is circumstantial in life. If we have a couple hundred covers on the books and we're running a crispy skin fish special then of course I'll take the talented dude who knows what he's doing over my dishwasher even though my dishwasher may be the most commited and hardest working person in the kitchen. Just as I would rather have the dishwasher help me fold 600 empanadas then the guy who's getting paid $15 because it would be a waste of money.
P.s. I've never seen any chef work harder then a dishwasher. More hours?; sure of course, but not harder.
post #21 of 23
Exactly, it's not so much the piece, but where it is on the board.
post #22 of 23

"P.s. I've never seen any chef work harder then a dishwasher. More hours?; sure of course, but not harder."

 

Unless, of course, the Chef is in the dish pit, at the end of a long day, helping the crew, creating a team like setting, and encouraging the help to work faster and more organized.

post #23 of 23

There's usually a balance between the two.  You can have a lot talent but you still won't succeed without hard work.  And you can bust your ass as hard as you want but with no talent you're not gonna go far, either.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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