Dennis McCurdy's Find A Way
Get What You Want, Get What You Deserve.

Bone a Turkey

Become indispensable.

My first real job was as a dishwasher at a local restaurant when I was in high school. The restaurant was quite big and always very busy. I was fast, worked hard, did a good job, and also had my eye on advancing to the short order corner. This was the area where short order cooks prepared French fries, pizza, fish and chips, clams, fried chicken, and shrimp. I did two things to get that job: 1) I worked hard, and 2) I asked if I could have it. My dishwashing career lasted three weeks. I was promoted to the short order "fry corner."
 
It was a good job for a 17-year-old boy. First summer I worked 50 to 60 hours per week, with a one-time record of 73 hours. I was thrilled to earn the money. We, that is, the fry corner boys, prided ourselves on being good at what we did, and fast. It was that challenge that made it interesting...and, of course, gave us time to goof-off because we got everything done early.
 
Even though I liked what I was doing, I was always interested in learning more. I took every opportunity to learn, I listened, watched, and learned. One day, Don, the head chef, was boning a turkey. The process meant using a thin-blade knife to cut the meat away from the bone of a cooked turkey. The meat would then be sliced for hot turkey sandwiches. I watched and asked questions. I asked Don to teach me, which he was glad to do.
 
One day one of the other employees said to me, "What do you want to do that for? It's a messy job. You don't need to do that. It's not your job, and besides they will just give you more work."
 
"Yes," I said, "that's true." But what I intuitively knew was that I was learning more skills. And the more I learned, the more valuable I would become. Not only for this job but for any future opportunities.
 
Next I learned how to make salads. As luck would have it the salad area was right next to the range where the chefs worked. This made it easy for me to observe them. And as the summer slowly faded into fall, I watched, I asked questions, I learned. The chefs showed me what to do, and how to do what they did. Sometimes in the afternoon, when everything was caught up, Don would say, "I need to go to the storage room. Can you handle any orders that come in for me? It should be slow and easy."
 
As time went on I had more and more opportunities to learn. And I did. Then, one day, a chef was sick and they asked me to work behind the range, helping with the easy stuff. Soon, there were very few things I didn't know how to do. And, of course, the more you can do, the more valuable you are.
 
What are you doing in your life, in your career? Are there turkeys you need to bone?
Are you continually developing your abilities? Do you have a Personal Development Plan?
 
Remember this: The only thing you can improve is you and what you do. And if you do improve, everything will change for you.
 
Enjoy boning your turkeys. Become indispensable. It will pay big dividends.


Dennis