I enjoyed the series ‘Professional Master Chef’ on television and I was struck by something the judges said when commenting about two of the semi-finalists. They had been highly impressed with the dishes the chefs had presented and Michel Roux Junior remarked that, despite their very obvious skill, neither chef exhibited any arrogance or conceit. Monica Galetti replied that they didn’t need to, because their work spoke for them.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve often found that the most arrogant or self-important people are those who have least to commend them. It’s as if they know they have to compensate for their lack of ability or knowledge or skills by trying to make you feel inferior or less able than they are. I’ve listened to people confidently spout facts and information, which makes them sound very knowledgeable, and I know that they’re just parroting what other people have told them – even what I’ve told them, sometimes! I can only assume they don’t realise that most people can see through them!
Of course, we all pick up information and knowledge from various sources – hopefully we never stop learning – but we don’t need to be overbearing or bumptious about what we know.
The other interesting comment that Michel Roux Junior made was that letting their work represent their skill and knowledge showed the chefs’ professionalism. I like that idea -and I find it so relevant in my working life. I’ve referred before to the huge changes in working practices since I started out as a young and very green Architect, how so many contracts used to be agreed on a handshake and how the world has ‘progressed’ to the tomes that constitute modern contract documents. But the true professional, in whatever field, is the person who knows what they’re talking about and what they’re doing. They’re the person who’s happy to share that skill and knowledge with their Client to reach the best solution / end result. As a professional, that’s my goal; I want my work to speak for my skill and knowledge, be it in designing, be it consulting with or advising a prospective Client. I’d like to think that even people who don’t like me personally would still recommend me as an Architect because of the knowledge and skills I have. Put it this way: if I need a brain surgeon and I have the choice of a very skilful and experienced surgeon who I can’t stand, or one that I like but whose reputation as a surgeon is not, let’s say, so established, I’ll go with the person I don’t like! Obviously, I’d explain to my friend why he was passed over!
On that affirmative note, I wish everyone reading this a very Happy, restful and invigorating Christmas and a prosperous New Year – all the things I wish for myself, in fact!