(Devil on my left shoulder) 180 days into the job I received my 90-day review. Unfortunately the raise was only retroactive one pay period. Back in my high tech days a 4% raise wasn't too shabby. It doesn't carry the same wallop when you make $12.00 an hour. I have reached a point where I am finally able to reflect on my career change. The newness of Seattle has dulled and the excitement of being out of school is gone (however my first loan repayment check written tonight reminds me of the good times I had). I would be lying if I didn't say once a week I think, "Man, I wish I had a desk job again." It's true. But as long as I only think that once a week, I'm doing ok. If I get to five times a week, hmmmm, how expensive is law school?
My feet hurt more than ever, hence the appointment with the podiatrist next week. I've had just about all I can stand with prepping the sauté station. In addition, throw in the pantry station twice a week and, well, "Man, I wish I had a desk job again." Last week I spilled 2 quarts of gumbo in the walk-in, most of which saturated my apron. That may have been the same day the left lens of my glasses popped out about two minutes before the lunch rush. For future reference, a paring knife makes a great screwdriver for those tiny eyeglass screws. I got into my first "tiff" with a server. She was snippy, I snipped back, she blew up. The cooks seemed to get a kick out of it. I got a small lecture on "keeping my cool".
(Angel on my right shoulder) My 90-day review was positive and I was awarded "Team Member of the Month" for February. Chef said my transition from school to the hotline was a good one. According to him, students take a little while to get that "sense of urgency" but I seemed to pick it up right away. I believe that is because everyday in my dining room class I heard the instructor scream (in a French accent) "People, where is your sense of urgency!?!? Let's go, let's go, let's go!!!" Some things stick with you forever.
Our restaurant is getting a complete overhaul, menu and décor. I am very fired up about the direction the food is going and can't wait to start cooking new items. The timeline is to have it completed in the spring. Along with the new menu and décor, we hired a new General Manager and Manager. Both have brought a new attitude and positive vibe to the restaurant.
I shared my burnt out sauté prep feelings with the Chef and he is going to move me off sauté and onto the grill in the next few weeks. A much needed change of daily routine. I also started picking up some shifts with the most respected catering company in Seattle. I'm hoping my next step will be out of restaurants and into a catering company (to get away from the "same thing, different day" restaurant cooking). Picking up a few shifts will help me decide if catering is the correct route before making a full commitment.
As of today, 7 months into my first job after culinary school, these are the realities of my career change. I would be lying if I said it has been an easy change. I am finding the toughest part to be every other Tuesday when I open my envelope and say, "Where's the rest of my paycheck?" If you are making a career change, be ready for good days and bad days, and sometimes both within the same day.