As the years pass, I am forever reminded of my first 5 or so years in the foodservice business, how I acted, and what I got away with and today's youth or, teen to twenty somethings. I was no treasure to work with in the kitchen in my late teen, early twenty's up until about 22-24 was when something clicked. I had already been a manager of sorts (Sous Chef or Salaried cook, meaning work me 70-80 hours for 40 hrs a week pay) for a few years at this point.
I had some levels of responsibility which I loosely interpreted to mean, I can get away with things, however I am responsible for the failures of others in my team too. I was not really managing anything well at this time. I was however rapidly improving my cooking skills and really learning. Within a matter of a few months to age 25 I'd actually have my first real Exec. Chef job. I like to romanticize about these times, often referring to myself as dedicated, and loyal to my tasks. Today, I get all consumed with my younger managers wants and needs, they seem to want everything else accept for the work and time it takes to get the job done. Not a fair statement of everyone for sure, but certainly for many.
I'm always hearing of their family and personal time needed. Did I do this too? I know I did not dare make the same comments back in my time, if I expected to stay employed.
I work in a business now that at some of it's locations has periods of downtime, and they last sometimes for more than a week. I never had this luxury in my first 18+ years in the business. Holidays, weekends, I worked them all sober or not. But today I work with young managers whom don't understand the amount of real work that goes into developing a career in foodservice. I struggle tremendously with it. It also terribly points out my age of pushing the back side of my 40's. When I think about it I understand, I too was not terribly focused back then, however I put in the time to get it done no matter the cost, now here I am 30+ years later still doing some of those long hours and weekends while the newbies are enjoying more time off than I ever knew, and show the arrogance that it is deserved that they should have this off time, regardless of months or years served.
In this day and age, this work ethic for most is clearly at an all time low. However I think I understand why. It is harder than ever to secure a job anymore. And if you do, young managers have a miriade of expectations ranging far and wide away from just managing and producing great food, in fact food is only a tiny fraction of their responsibility. For myself, I generally had the luxury of focusing on the Food. This is no longer the case. To answer that same call in my time, I don't know that I'd have been able to, and still be a good Chef manager or successful in my responsibilities for producing great food.
It's is alot to ask in this day and age for between 40 to 50k, maybe a bit more or less. Looking back, at my first Exec chefs job, outside of food cost, procurement, labor controls, sanitation, and menu development, that was where I was centrally focused, and maybe that's why I had the success I did, and yet see so much higher a failure rate today.
I was not concerned with HR, Accounting, Marketing/Merchandising, Customer relations, Computer programs, and their maintenance. To name just a few,,,today's manager covers far more than in my time. With that, maybe it all makes sense.