If an activity is too difficult, or the pressure of a situation is too much for a person to handle, then perhaps it would be best to stop doing it and/or leave.
Example: Dustin became a chef at a restaurant and he quickly learned how draining the job can be. The strong sense of urgency he felt once the orders started to roll was overwhelming. The mental strain made it difficult for him to keep up with everyone else. Thus, the head chef told him: “I know this job is stressful but if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen and find another day job.”
In other words, the head chef was saying that if the job was too hard for Dustin, then he should quit and find other work.
The Origin Of “If You Can’t Stand The Heat, Get Out Of The Kitchen”
It’s believed that Harry S. Truman is the one who coined the phrase. He used this expression as early 1942. In a newspaper from that year called The Soda Springs Sun, he was quoted as saying:
“Favorite rejoinder of Senator Harry S. Truman, when a member of his war contracts investigating committee objects to his strenuous pace: ‘If you don’t like the heat, get out of the kitchen.”
I can’t seem to find the phrase in any newspapers from before the above mentioned time. So it looks like the expression was indeed coined in that year, making it 77 years old.
Tip: Hey, food is prepared in kitchens, right? Well, speaking of food (I need to work on better transitions), I’d like to recommend our food phrases list. You might find some expressions on there worth reading about.
- Bill became a trucker. The job was simple at first, but it wasn’t long until the long hours took a toll on him. So he complained to his fellow truckers, but they basically told him: “Bill, if you can’t stand the heat, then you should get out of the kitchen.”
Note: If you’re looking for the meaning of more idioms and phrases, well that’s what Know Your Phrase is all about. We have an alphabetical list (the menu’s near the top) that contains hundreds of sayings. Use the list to navigate around and find specific expressions you have in mind. If you’re unable to find the one you want, maybe come back another time.