The phrase “the grass is always greener” could not ring more true for those working in the hospitality services. In an industry where employees are notorious for working just to leave; it’s easy to see greener pastures and move on to the next endeavor. However, with the increase in the number of restaurants the labor pool seems to be shrinking causing stress on the industry from owners to line cooks. So, before you pack up your knives for a supposedly better opportunity, consider a few factors: quality of work environment, potential for growth, and overall job satisfaction. While we don’t claim to write the bible on hospitality solutions, the goal is to evaluate whether or not it’s worth it to leave your current job. Many BOH employees would roll their eyes at even acknowledging these aspects, this industry is changing and attention must be paid.
Tolerable Work Environment
Notice that this section is not titled “Positive Work Environment”. Admittedly, working in a restaurant is not always the most pleasureable. If you’re in the kitchen chances are you have to deal with toiling in small spaces, risking injury (knives, meat grinders, Vitamix’s, ranges etc), and high stress - most likely all with long hours and fairly low hourly pay. Not many would think of this type of work environment as ideal, but it takes a certain type of person to tolerate these conditions enough to continue in this profession. However, if you can hack it because you know that the experience will sharpen your skills as a cook, it’s probably not time to leave. In the opposite circumstances where the work environment is not tolerable it could be time to start looking. There are times when you land in a position where you feel stuck, and worst of all not improving your cooking skills. In this case, if speaking to your managers is futile, then looking for a new job would be the next logical step.
The Potential For Growth
For those looking to hone in on their craft, this aspect is the most important. If you’re not in the industry, then this concept might not seem like a priority. Many young culinary professionals seek to become great chefs, and to do this they must constantly be learning. So, if you find yourself in a place where your working repetitively for hours to produce one component of a dish for weeks or months - don’t even think about leaving. Your chef is teaching you about consistency and persistence, being able to recreate the same outcome repeatedly is an incredibly valuable skill to have. Always remember that Chef Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin spent one year in garde manger, before spending two years in the fish station at Robuchon’s Jamin. Even if you’re not working under a great chef, if you leave work everyday accomplishing something you have not done before, then that is enough incentive to stay. There are cases where one learns nothing or if you have learned everything you can. However, with the ladder you must have tenure. In this instance your first step would be to speak with your chef or kitchen manager about recommending your to a different restaurant. Only if this doesn’t work do you begin your job search.
Are You Happy?
This questions is definitely a thinker. It also depends on what one considers as “happy”. It will be a rare occasion when you’re not stressed out, but it’s all about the satisfaction you get from working in the profession. Being on the line while your team is in the weeds can give you an adrenaline rush, and many people can find this feeling satisfying if not addictive. Of course, not everyone feels this way. If you find yourself dreading going to work every morning, it may be time for a change.
Consider what you really want to do and do it. While many job boards like Craigslist can get the job done, if you’re short on time and energy searching by mobile might be the best option. Harri.com mobile app is a great option to use on the go, especially if you’re caught in a place with free WiFi. The worst that can happen is that you go on a few interviews to see what’s out there and get a better perspective on who is hiring.
Maria Gee is a Digital Marketing Manager for Harri.com. A restaurant worker turned blog-writing-video-directing machine, she aims to educate and entertain those in the hospitality field. She spends the majority of her spare time posting food pics on Snapchat and Instagram at @mariaalexag, and frequenting as many hospitality focused networking events as she can fit into her calendar.