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The Great Reset
Episode 124th July 2021 • Chef Life Radio • Adam M Lamb
00:00:00 00:25:10

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The Great Reset

Episode #1 -Season 2 | 2021

Image courtesy of Rachel Elizabeth O'Shea

Introduction

Welcome Back

Questions

Station Identification

The Chef Life Crew

Tim Ferris FB Post

Chef James Shirley

FB Message from Katy

The problem as I see it

FB Post from CJ.

Calling out the problem.

What we can do about it.

Chef Jensen Cummings, Best Served Podcast

Who, Not How - By Dan Sullivan

Transcripts

Adam Lamb:

welcome back to the show.

Adam Lamb:

It's been a minute, but I'm so glad you're here.

Adam Lamb:

Whether you've been a chef for a long time, or you aspire to become

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a chef, all are welcome here.

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This show is for you.

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We're all in this together.

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And I know it's easy to forget that sometimes when all you see is the

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inside of your kitchen every day, but believe it or not, we all stand with.

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I'm your host, Adam Lamb.

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And this is a very special edition of chef life radio.

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It's the first show in three years.

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Normally we have guests with us, but I was so moved by some of the

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things I've seen in heard lately that I knew I had to put this one down.

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Where have I been?

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You ask?

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Well, let's just say that I had my own work to do wandering in the

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darkness, uncovering the secrets of living a fulfilling life.

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So I could come back, be a better host and tell you what they are.

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Chef life radio features, heart-centered leaders and chefs.

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At the same time, run a profitable sustainable operation while enjoying

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the best years of their life.

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So you can become one too on this show.

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I need to speak to one of the biggest problems I've witnessed over the

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years, which most of us have ignored.

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But since the pandemic has stripped away the glory story of working as a

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professional chef, it's now right in front of our faces a little later in

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the show, I'm going to call it out in a word, read you two messages.

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I got last week to illustrate my point.

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And I'm going to give you some suggestions on how to deal.

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But first I have a couple of questions for you.

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Have you had enough yet?

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How much more can you hang in there with ever dwindling numbers

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of cooks or dishwashers with no one coming in the door to apply?

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You've been through some tough times before.

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All you need to do is hang in there, right?

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It doesn't make you a bit nervous reading all the articles

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about the great resignation.

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Now it's not just in our industry, but workers are

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fleeing all parts of the economy.

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The entire supply chain has been disrupted.

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How much more can you take before you get ready to throw in that kitchen talent?

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Is there any end in sight to ease the load you and your

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team are shouldering right now?

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Is there anyone stepping forward in your organization or operation to help?

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Is anyone reacting to your please or are they falling on deaf ears?

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Why are some operations fully staffed and you're still

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struggling to fill the schedule?

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Don't fret.

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My friend help is on the way.

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Right after the break stay tuned.

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This is chef life radio dedicated to inspiring professional chefs

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working towards a more equitable and sustainable culinary culture.

Adam Lamb:

I'm your host, Adam Lamb.

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And over my 30 year career as a chef and hospitality, professional, I've coached

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and mentored thousands of culinarians.

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Who've gone on to lead lives of contribution community

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and authentic leadership.

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Let me be your guide on this journey.

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Looking for solutions and perspectives to some of the biggest issues

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impacting the hospitality industry, our careers, and our lives today.

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If you love what we're about and want to support the mission of creating

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a culinary culture and lifestyle that not only serves all of us,

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but one that we can be proud of.

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Come join the crew@chefliferadiocrew.com.

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Where for a modest fee that helps keep the electricity and wifi on.

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You'll be able to access exclusive content such as our monthly, ask me

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anything, episode our raw down and dirty rod dog interview outtakes that we'd

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like to call on the dock specials and the entire back library of episodes.

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And now a special thanks to our listeners who made the show possible.

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Chef's life, radio member, crew.

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We may not be the tip of the spear.

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Are we sure as shit are the sharpest edge, big shout out to

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our newest member of the crew.

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Kristen Costa, she's joining Michael Farmer.

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David's spare Chino, David queen Alissa lamb.

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Yep.

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That's my girl buying her daddy.

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A couple of beers, Deidre, Coco, Tony Granger, Patricia Burke, Erica Parker,

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Mindy Espinosa, Denise Lopez, Michelle Siano, Matt Quinlin, and Cody Maxwell.

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Your donations and subscriptions have made it possible to upgrade it.

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Hire an assistant and a co-producer because lately I've become obsessed

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with getting the word out of a new beginning for our fraternity and craft.

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I salute you.

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We shout Jeff life.

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Radio is now part of a network of individuals, support groups,

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community activists, and podcasts.

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We'll have all come together to facilitate change in our hospitality culture.

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If you're in the darkness and believe that no one cares about your pain.

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Click on the partner tab at the website at www dot chef life, radio.com

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and get some immediate assistance.

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If you want to lend your voice and your energy to make that change real click on

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the partners tab on the website and be part of the new hospitality Renaissance.

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Thanks for being here and thanks for everything you do.

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to the show.

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Chef I'm Adam Lamb, and this is chef life radio.

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Here's a quote I saw on Tim Ferris's Facebook post that caught my eye the

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other day, mainly because I thought he was describing me, quote, people fall.

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So in love with their pain, they can't leave it behind.

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The same for the stories they tell, we trap ourselves and

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that by his guests, Chuck, Paula Hanuk makes you think doesn't it.

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Have you trapped yourself with the stories that you tell yourself

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during this most difficult time of transition in our industry?

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It's important to question the stories we tell ourselves.

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So they don't become a belief, a thought.

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We think so many times that it becomes a pattern that we come to think of as a

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truth, either about ourselves or others.

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In other words, a delusion you want to deal in truth.

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Talk to a recovering junkie.

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They'll set you straight once.

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And for all about freeing yourself from any delusion or false belief you

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have, it's not about profit or loss for someone in recovery, it's life or death.

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They don't have the luxury of indulging in or entertaining any delusion that

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is not based in truth, especially any story that their ego Mitel simply

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because if they listen, they'll fail in their commitment to sobriety,

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the ego can be so persuasive, right?

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Hey man.

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No, one's around.

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Yeah.

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You want to drink?

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Who don't man?

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Come on.

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It's just one.

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Yeah.

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For people in recovery, they have to deal in facts, old friend, a

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fellow chef, and truth teller.

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James Shirley tells me often lamb free your mind and your ass will follow.

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Yeah.

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Everybody needs someone like James in their life to keep them on point

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and headed in the right direction.

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So in this episode, let's be clear, we've known for the last 10 years or so

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that our industry was facing a labor.

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Now it's old news that the pandemic hit the industry like a hammer to the head.

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The great resignation is the catchy little name.

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Everyone seems to be using now to describe what every type of business or

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industry is facing post COVID to assist us in understanding the challenge of

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ramping up and scaling our operations.

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At the same time, workers seem to be inexplicably, leaving their positions

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for greener pastures or choosing to do something else with their lives.

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But as I said before, we in the hospitality industry have known about

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decreasing applicant flow for you.

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So you think we, as an industry would have figured out ways to deal

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with the shortage by now, right?

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Some smart and heart-centered chefs, leaders, and operators saw this

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coming from around the corner and did something about attracting talent.

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But for the most part owners, partners, nonprofits, and hospitality companies

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seem to think that it's still the early two thousands when there was

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a steady stream of applicants for any job posted depressing the wages

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and keeping them from having to add any benefit of any consequence.

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I mean, why not?

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Don't break it if it's not fixed, right?

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Some of them seem to be confused as to why that strategy is not working.

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Now, let me read a message.

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I got on Facebook to illustrate the point, Katie.

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Right?

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It's I'm struggling as a server right now.

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I left two jobs recently because of coworkers, stealing tables,

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being outright racist and rude.

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Not to mention the occasional customer I'm sitting at home right

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now, trying to decide my next move.

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I worked through lockdown straight back to open, no unemployment pay.

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Do I continue serving and vice would be nice please, or out there.

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I just feel stuck.

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The great resignation.

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Really?

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Why are people leaving the industry?

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Well, Katie gave us one big hint right there, but we

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haven't been listening to her.

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Why should we, I mean, she's just a server.

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Turns out she's closer to the truth than we've been for a while, and we

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really need to start paying attention to all the Katie's out there.

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Why?

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Because she could have been our future.

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Now it looks like she'll be someone else's answer to a crappy

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situation as bad as it all seems.

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I prefer to think about our current challenge a little bit differently.

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I'm calling this the great Reese.

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An incredible opportunity to address the systematic problems of our industry

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that have been around for years.

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So here's my reply to her where number one don't ever put up with less than you

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deserve, no matter what anyone else has said to you or what others may have had

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you feel about yourself or number two before jumping into another job, make a

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list of the five most important values about your next job that matter to you.

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Keep that with you all the time, or number three.

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Do your research about where you apply?

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What's the culture?

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Like what are their core values?

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How do they treat their associates?

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And do they empower their employees or do they just grind it out?

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Usually the best person to ask is someone that works there.

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Show, shop around closing time, hang around.

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Someone will want to talk to you.

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Everyone is hurting for employees right now, so you can afford to be choosy.

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This'll be your home and family for the next little bit.

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And you are the one that gets to choose who you'll make friends.

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Why did Katie need to leave her job?

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Does it sound like her manager valued her or worked to create a culture

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where it's sticking around for?

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Yeah, that was probably someone else's job, right?

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To put it a little differently.

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Listen to this post that CJ put up in a private group.

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The other day, as a seasoned veteran of the hospitality industry, I sit

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on my couch after a long shift, having drinks, listening to music,

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contemplating whether or not this industry is worth sticking around.

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And seeing this nasty plague that falls over the unseen backbone of food industry.

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As we know it, this year was tough for each and every one of us.

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And I feel like a lot of us came out second guessing if we made the right

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decision, making this strangely hard and time consuming career, a path,

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we wanted to go down for some of you.

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Yes.

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You who went to school, studied, you got your degrees, but for all the

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other psychopaths holding it together, like me, we were born to do it.

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It's horrible.

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We love the thrill, stress, cursing, yelling, and screaming, and not

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many will tell you, but we thrive on the unorganized chaos, but at the

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end of the day, we pulled together.

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And when you light that cigarette and start your car and tune to the

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music on your way home, you just want to start screaming and frustration,

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but you can't because at the same time, you also have this weird, warm

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feeling that you can't explain to anyone who hasn't been in the kitchen.

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It makes you smile because you know, you just crushed it.

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And for one measly, You're at peace, but it doesn't last for long because you know,

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tomorrow's Tuesday and you'll be back to work the next morning, knowing you're

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going to have to do it all over again.

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No matter how tired you are, there's nothing that gets you

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out of bed in the morning.

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Like the anticipation of that one moment, what I'm trying to say is where

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do we all stand post COVID 20, 21.

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Is it still worth it for us?

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Is it worth pre pandemic wages that most operations are still.

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Is the best we can do beg the home office or our boss for a better way.

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We are the backbone.

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We're not on the line.

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Come service time.

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The powers that be well, they can't make any money.

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At what point do we is chefs line cooks, prep, cooks,

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dishwashers, say we've had enough.

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Most of us, I won't do that because for some fucked up reason, we

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love the abuse we get at work.

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We love the beating we take at work.

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We love flirting with the staff.

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We love the free food.

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By God, the free soda and sometimes red bull, but is it worth our dignity?

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Our time, our respect, we need to stand.

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All right.

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So this a bit I could go on and on about what CJ says in his post and, you know,

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rightly or wrongly or counsel him on what things he shouldn't, shouldn't say.

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But when I read between the lines, here's what I clearly understand

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about how CJ feels about his.

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Well, I'm not even going to call it work because for him.

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It's a calling.

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I mean, why else would anyone stick around with that kind of neglect?

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If he didn't feel in his heart that he was right where he was meant to

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be loving up as guests, clients, or residents with what he does with his

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hands and his heart sounds like he's very passionate about what he does,

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but here's the thing about passion.

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Passion will use you up like a junkie drains, a syringe and

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toss suicide, because you are no longer of any use to him.

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Passion will convince you that loyalty matters more than your own health.

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So you stay one more day.

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One more shift one more night as you self medicate, the pain in your heart

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and the confusion in your brain.

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Passion unfulfilled in time leads to bitterness, which leads to what apathy.

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That's the word I want to talk about tonight?

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Apathy.

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Fuck it.

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It's the best it's going to be.

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What can I do about it?

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Except adjust my expectations.

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Right?

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Really not much anything I can do going through the last

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15 months brought everyone.

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No one escaped the pandemic hole and it's become the fucked up

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PTSD version of Groundhog day.

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So after a while, that grind makes us apathetic.

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So why bother listen?

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Sometimes the house has to be on fire for the folks inside to wake

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up and go outside and get some water for those resistant to change.

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Sometimes things have to be so bad that they see no other recourse,

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but to deal with the problem.

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This is an exciting and scary time.

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Yeah.

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It's going to take a new way of thinking about old problems and a new way

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of being to come up with solutions.

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Some of us cling to the notion that this is someone else's job

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to face that it's enough just to come to work and do a good job.

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We stand there and watch the slowly unfolding disaster

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occurring right in front of us.

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As managers and owners weigh the ROI on a smaller staff and increased cover counts.

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Some are actually trying to make up the revenue they lost during the

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pandemic by pushing the pedal down careening towards operational culture.

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While they sit and count their money, patting themselves on the back.

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As they show off the latest P and L dripping with the blood and sweat of

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those who stay and make it possible, really we're going to leave the

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staffing problem to them to solve.

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Why, why would you stay in a job that doesn't value you?

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I mean, don't get me wrong.

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I did several times in my career for reasons that now I can no longer fathom

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because it was going to be great exposure, a great experience that I was going

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to be working with a renowned chef.

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You know, no problem that he's abusive, but you know, all kinds of shit like that.

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We can rationalize just about anything.

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But at the end of the day, when my head hits the pillow, my heart cloudy,

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heavy and bitter, I come finally to the true, true unassailable truth.

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I will only ever have the body, the relationship, the job,

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the bank account, and the boss that I settle for laying there.

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So goddamn bone tired.

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I convinced myself that maybe tomorrow will be.

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But how can it be when I'm going to get up and mindless go to work and make the same

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fucking decisions that I made yesterday.

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And they'll probably be the same ones I make tomorrow in

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a word I became apathetic.

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I thought most of us think that I'm tough enough that I can wait

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it out, that someone will see and appreciate what I do and save me.

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No one is coming to save me.

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No one is coming to save you.

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Stop bitching, man.

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Cause no one will ever understand how much mental, emotional, and physical effort

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we put into our jobs except maybe another chef and they have their own problems.

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So if you're waiting around, expect somebody to come up and pat you on

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the back for everything you put in, you might be waiting for awhile.

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We, my friends are going to have to appreciate ourselves, keep

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our eye on the problem, ditch the fucking apathy and put in.

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We have everything we need already, just like hundreds of thousands of people

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making the decision to leave their jobs.

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I resigned my position after two years.

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Just recently want to know why, because I wanted to tell a different story.

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I wanted to tell your story.

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I was reminded of this recently, listening to chef Jensen Cummings podcast at

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best served when he spoke about today's reality and the hospitality, but.

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That every restaurant pub catering company is, or should be a media

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company and a hospitality company, both internally and externally.

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We as chefs already have a leg up on that because all of us are storytellers.

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Look at our menus.

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We love to tell stories about where the food comes from,

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how it was grown, who grew it.

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There are very many reasons for our fellow chefs line cooks

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and dishwashers to be leaving.

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But one thing is clear.

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We are doing a pretty shitty job telling the story of our operation.

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We're leaving it up to big media to tell the world how crappy

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it is to come into this field.

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And some of us are letting it happen.

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The answer my friend is in your pocket.

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Yeah.

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Your phone craft the narrative of you, your operation, and

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start posting on social media.

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And I'm not talking about static images like food shots.

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Nobody gives a shit about it.

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Do videos of staff laughing as they're setting up the line, do videos of

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you talking or training or cooks or servers beyond whatever platform your

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perspective employee might be, get over yourself or any hangup you might have

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about being in that video and start telling the story, because if you don't.

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Someone else is because the reality is this is not a labor crisis.

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This is a crisis of apathy.

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This is a crisis of wages.

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Yes.

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But more importantly, it's about a lack of culture, community and compassion.

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And if you're waiting for someone else to fix that, then good luck.

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The hard truth is if you're understaffed right now, then

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you have a culture problem.

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How you pay your people, treat your people, how you grow your people.

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You also have a story problem.

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No one knows it yet because you haven't put it out there in the

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way that prospective employees will understand operators like

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noble foods and South Carolina have had it figured out for a while.

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Now, everyone on the streets knows that chef Nobel has instructed his staff.

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If someone applies, it has a little talent and a lot of the right

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attitude, don't let them out the door.

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We don't have a position.

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We'll make one.

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If you're looking for work like Katie, they're always a number of smart

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operators like chef Nobel and everyday.

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But if you don't get off your ass, figure out what really matters to

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you and put yourself in action.

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You'll never know.

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If you're sticking with this field, good on you.

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But I have one request, get crack and creating a story that someone will

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align with and start spreading the news.

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Because if you wait for HR or you GM it'll be awhile before anyone joins you

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on the line, you can't blame anyone else, chef, no one else truly feels your pain.

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They're not in your clogs.

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And if you know you can't blame anyone else, I guess you'll

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have to start figuring out what you're going to see on that.

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Facebook live, by the way, the object of the video is to show how

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human and approachable you are.

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Don't worry about having the right words or looking.

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People who will be attracted to your voice and story.

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Don't give a shit about that.

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They just want to connect with you.

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And that's where they are now to cabbage to these suggestions.

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First.

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My lawyers.

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They're a bunch of dour, unimagined of pencil pushers,

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but they keep me out of jail.

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So there is that they want me to remind you that if you own your own business,

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have at it, but if you are employed by a company, make sure you get permission

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to post on social media before you do.

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But at this point, why would any business stop you from promoting them for free?

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I don't know, just do your due diligence and get their permission.

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Secondly, when you do your videos, don't use your chef voice.

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You know, the one, I mean the one where you drop an octave, so you can use your

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big boy or big girl, voice time, check time tech, what hour to serve us most

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important part of this is that you are authentic, fallible, you know, human

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and today's social media landscape.

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Nothing is hated more than someone putting on airs.

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Just be yourself.

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Like it would be with your partner.

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Yeah.

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That's the ticket.

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As far as the other operators out there who refuse to see the tsunami

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of their destruction on the horizon?

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Well, like I said earlier, it's not like we were keeping silent about it.

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As a matter of fact, some of us like me have been ringing that fucking bell

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as hard and loud as I could, because at the end of the day to be told that I was

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right, brings me no constellation at all.

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Instead in that moment, I'll be warning.

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All those that fell by the wayside that could have been

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helped or were either ignored.

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Or deemed not worthy enough to give a shit about don't.

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Let me see your name on that list.

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Not after hearing this episode finally, to hammer home the point at

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least one last story to take us out.

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I went to see the film Roadrunner about Anthony Bourdain's rise to celebrity and

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as unfortunate, unjust, and very lonely.

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One of his friends, spoke about them in the film and said that she

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understood that his entire life, he had friends and family who loved him.

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He just chose not to believe him on the way home, understanding

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that story better than I wanted to.

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I said to Jennifer, it's not that he couldn't receive their love.

Adam Lamb:

He fundamentally didn't believe that anyone could love him because he

Adam Lamb:

never thought he was worthy of it.

Adam Lamb:

Or at least that was my story for a while.

Adam Lamb:

Be worthy of your own love and stop fucking giving it away.

Adam Lamb:

So cheaply to organizations, bosses, guests, and sometimes yeah, family

Adam Lamb:

members who can't, or won't make you that same bargain, that's it for our

Adam Lamb:

show really hoped you enjoyed it.

Adam Lamb:

If you got anything out of it, please share it with a friend,

Adam Lamb:

share it with a coworker, let them know that things are changing.

Adam Lamb:

There is a new way of thinking about hospitality.

Adam Lamb:

And it's coming your way here at chef life radio.

Adam Lamb:

We believe that working in a kitchen should be demanding.

Adam Lamb:

It just shouldn't have to be demeaning to be hard.

Adam Lamb:

Just doesn't have to be harsh.

Adam Lamb:

We believe that it's possible to have more solidarity and less, suck it up.

Adam Lamb:

Sunshine or compassion, less cutthroat island.

Adam Lamb:

We believe in more partnership and less put up or shut up more family and less.

Adam Lamb:

Fuck you.

Adam Lamb:

Find link.

Adam Lamb:

Consider for a second for all the blood, sweat ashes.

Adam Lamb:

And sometimes even tears we put into what we do really, man, at the

Adam Lamb:

end of the day, just some stuff on a plate on a bit really matters.

Adam Lamb:

It doesn't define you as a person or make you any more

Adam Lamb:

special or less than anyone else.

Adam Lamb:

It's just the dance that we're engaged in.

Adam Lamb:

So we might as well laugh and enjoy every bit of it.

Adam Lamb:

Even the crappy parts while we're here.

Adam Lamb:

Or didn't, you know, that the purpose of your life should be, do enjoy it.

Adam Lamb:

Like it happened.

Adam Lamb:

I love it.

Adam Lamb:

I am humbled.

Adam Lamb:

You got them for the glory of boxer I don't live on.

Adam Lamb:

Now.

Adam Lamb:

You can reach out to the show at facebook.com/chef life, radio

Adam Lamb:

Twitter at chef life, radio Instagram at chef life radio.

Adam Lamb:

Visit the website@chefliferadio.com.

Adam Lamb:

Subscribe to the podcast.

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In any of the major podcasts directories, please take a moment and give them

Adam Lamb:

a thumbs up and give us a review.

Adam Lamb:

It really does help spread the news.

Adam Lamb:

Thanks for listening until the next episode.

Adam Lamb:

Be well and do good.

Adam Lamb:

Leave the hall light on honey.

Adam Lamb:

I'll be coming home late.

Adam Lamb:

The show was produced, recorded and edited by me, Adam Lamb at the dish pit studio.

Adam Lamb:

And the basement bunker in Bardot, North Carolina.