What You Can Learn About Career Management from Kitchen Nightmares

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

My son attended a culinary arts school in NYC. As a result, I started to watch some shows and found them fascinating. Every episode of Kitchen Nightmares is the same AND provides great lessons for you and managing your career.

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My son attended a culinary school and, thus, I started to pay more attention to some of the cooking shows on TV. One is an old series apparently called “Kitchen Nightmares” where Gordon Ramsay goes into different restaurants that are having problems. Let me dissect the plotline of every episode.

A terrible restaurant. No people in the seats. The food is awful. The chef in the restaurant doesn’t know what he or she is doing.  I’ve only seen “he’s” so far but I’m sure there’ll be some female chefs that are involved. The places are mismanaged.  The owners don’t know what they’re doing. Ramsay walks in, calls attention to all the problems, comes up with a simplified way of addressing the menu, and packs the place in one way or another and they go off happily. Now, so far every restaurant I’ve watched has since closed but that’s not important to the story.

What’s important to the story from a career management standpoint . . .  you are the amateur here, just like the owners of these restaurants are really amateurs. They don’t know what they’re doing. They allow themselves . . . I don’t want to say they get taken advantage of, but they’re being taken advantage of by people who don’t care as much as they do about success. They give away their power to everyone in the restaurant. Suddenly they’re going through a crisis where they’re losing a lot of money and close to closing,

Think about your career for a sec. Who’s the amateur here? You! You’re dealing with people who are professionals. The professionals can be the recruiters that you’re dealing with you; you change jobs once every couple of years. Even if you’re a consultant who changes once every couple of months, by comparison, experienced recruiters are handling job changes all the time,

What I see on the show, time and again, is people make it too hard on themselves, or they surrender their power to the so-called expert. The expert takes advantage of the situation. This starting to sound a little familiar? Even in your current workplace, you give away your power to the people who are running the organization to look out for you, instead of managing your own career. This is where it keeps breaking down for people.

You need to take charge of your career, talk to people who are further along, and bring in experts to help you. Like I don’t claim to be an engineer and to have the knowledge of an engineer, but I know how to help people be more effective in the workplace, in a job change, with hiring and a couple of other areas. So, if the issue is a skills issue, you look for a way of simplifying sit or you get down to a core element. 

For most of you, that’s not going to be the factor. The factor is everything around the process of career management. You don’t have a lot of knowledge and you don’t make the time to learn anything. You don’t make the time to ask for advice hence, why I’m calling you an amateur.

Don’t act like the folks on these shows. Act like professionals do. Whether you hire a coach like me, or you’ve talked to people just from the standpoint of understanding how your career could go, Don’t just talk to two people and think you’ve got it all mastered.  Do it continuously.

Talk to people who are further along in their careers than you about how they got there. Talk to leaders, talk to people who are just four years ahead of you, and do it regularly. Make a point every other month, every third month, to have an appointment set up for the rest of your career. I know it sounds overwhelming.

Do you know what’s more overwhelming? When you wind up doing crap work because your boss doesn’t really care and just assigns it to you. Or your ownership starts passing you over because they start to take you for granted and you haven’t done anything to network. Continue to network and start planning for your future. Don’t be like the folks on Kitchen Nightmares. Act like a pro instead of an amateur.

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ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER

People hire Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter to provide No BS Career Advice globally because he makes many things in peoples’ careers easier. Those things can involve job search,

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

hiring more effectively, managing and leading better, career transition, as well as advice about resolving workplace issues. 

He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with over 2700 episodes. 

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