THE LINE COOK
I recently binge-watched Hell's Kitchen Season 11 on Hulu. On the first episode, each chef was challenged to create their favorite dish for Chef Ramsay to judge. One chef by the name of Zach presented his dish.
Before Chef Ramsay indulged, he asked Zach what his position was at the restaurant he worked at. "Uhhh... Just a line cook." Zach replied bashfully. Chef Ramsay sensed Zach's embarrassment and reassured him that head chefs are made on the line.
Zach eventually made it to the top 6 on the show, surviving fifteen eliminations. Now, Zach refers to himself as "a crazy good chef." He became a head chef at Shariz, a butcher at Capital Grill, and the chef at Warm Daddy's. Currently , he caters all around the world.
It all started on the line.
It is easy to admire people for where they are versus how they arrived there. Our society has become fixated on the destination rather than the journey.
It is almost as if we are ashamed of what positions we have to hold momentarily in order to propel us to where we want to be. Every career path has a "line." The line teaches you the basic foundation of the role at hand. It humbles you. It keeps you grounded.
The line prepares you for leadership.
This instantly reminds me of Undercover Boss.Clearly I am a reality TV buff. I absolutely love the concept of Undercover Boss because it places the CEO in the heart of a business or organization. But anytime I watch the show, it always aggravates me that the CEO can barely do the "line work." It's as if some of them have become masters of delegation versus delivery.
I find myself more captivated by leaders who are actually in-tune with the work I do instead of overseers of it.
The line cultivates humility.
Dr. Rick Rigsby delivered a powerful speech at Cal Maritime's 2017 Commencement Ceremony. He spoke primarily about the countless lessons he learned from his father, a third grade dropout who eventually became a cook. Dr. Rigsby shared an incredible piece of advice from his father, "Make sure your servant's towel is bigger than your ego." His father knew that service cultivates humility.
Dr. Rigsby went on to speak about John Wooden, a former UCLA basketball coach. He pointed out the fact even though John Wooden was a dynamic coach, winning over 10 national championships, he was still seen sweeping his own gym floor. This simple act enabled him to grow his influence in order to make an impact on those around him.
Don't be ashamed of the line work. Be faithful in it. Not only will you eventually be blessed with more, but also with the wisdom needed to sustain it.
"If you want to make an impact, find your broom."
- Dr. Rick Rigsby