Thursday, August 14, 2014
Career Passion In The Hundred Foot Journey
From Barnes and Noble website
My wife, daughter and I went last weekend to see the movie, The Hundred Foot Journey. We thoroughly enjoyed it and from the laughter in the theater most everyone did. The cinematography alone inspired us to want to visit small country towns in France. The story opened up a view of the initial clash of two cultures, Indian and French then the unfolding of how although different they learned from each other. The characters were full of a wide range of emotions from of course humor as was noted but also jealousy, prejudice, appreciation, and happiness.
The movie is based on the book by the same name written by Richard C. Morais. The story looks at a family who had a successful Indian restaurant in their homeland that was burned down during political upheaval. The mother of the family tragically dies in the fire. The father leads the family to Europe to settle. By happenstance of car problems they wind up in a small town in France. Then further happenstance and what the father feels is the mother’s spirit guidance, he purchases an old beaten down restaurant for sale with the desire to turn it into an Indian Restaurant with his son as the main chef. The problem is the location is right across from a well-respected French restaurant in the village.
The movie focuses in on the humorous tension between the father and the owner of the French restaurant, whose husband died so she is a widow who pours all her energies into the French restaurant. The Indian son who learned all he knew of Indian cooking from his mother becomes intrigued by French cooking and desires to expand his talent and knowledge by working at the French Restaurant under the culinary tutelage of the French owner. That increases the tension between his father and the owner of the restaurant.
That is all I will say of the story as this is not a review and my daughter says I always say too much about movies ruining them for others. Kind of like the Geico Maxwell the pig clip, (if you have not seen it click on the link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64cBC3IgcCw ), that appears in movie theaters during the ads and spoils the movie endings for those standing before him.
The angle I want to view the movie from is from the career angle. Probably since much of my work over the years has been helping college students on career issues this stood out to me. We see in the movie Hassan who is the Father’s son and chief cook at the Indian restaurant has a natural talent for cooking that was cultivated by his mother in the original restaurant. In considering careers we need to consider and understand the natural talents that we have. Explore your skills and how they relate to the work you do. Some people are stuck in jobs where there is a talent and skill mismatch. Explore on the internet jobs that relate to your skills you are strong in. There are many free skill assessments on the internet.
Hassan’s attitude about his culinary work captured my attention. He carried a humility about his skills. This allowed for his curiosity and desire to improve to flourish. He could have settled on making his father’s Indian restaurant become more popular in the small town and vicinity. That would have given him a good life most likely. Yet his inner desire to learn and grow as a chef allows him to take the risk to join the team at the French restaurant. In doing so he helps that restaurant improve as well as continues the growth of his culinary skills. In our careers we need that same curiosity to keep growing and learning. This attitude aids in helping conquer boredom in the workplace as well as opening up new opportunities. Our attitude shapes the passion in our work also and you definitely see career passion alive in this movie.
The movie as mentioned earlier brings out happenstance events or as I mentioned last week, life chaos, that affected how Hassan’s opportunities in the town advanced. If the brakes had not failed they would have not found themselves living in that town. If the racial prejudice event had not occurred a major turning point in the French restaurant owner’s life may not have happened. Granted this movie is fiction but the chaotic events are very true to life and fit well with what Dr. Jim Bright brings out in his chaos theory of careers. How do we make the most of the chaos events that come into our lives?
Then one final thought from the movie comes from the final segment of the movie. In keeping with my promise not to spoil the movie I will only mention that a change occurs for Hassan that allows him to reflect over his life values. In the end you see him connecting his career and other aspects of his life to his personal values. In our career journeys to have the most fulfillment in our work time we need to explore our values and see how they connect with the work we are doing. How do those values balance the various aspects of our lives such as work, family. and leisure? For most of us our career journey is longer than 100 feet. It is well worth exploring how well our career journey has gone and how work adds to our life experience.
Reflection: If you have not seen it yet, go see The Hundred Foot Journey as well as read the book. Reflect over your natural talents and skills – how do you use them in your workplace? How curious are you about your career area? Are there areas where you can grow and continue to learn? How do your personal values relate to how you do your work?