A fork in the road

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Well, this could as easily be in the Professional Chef's forum but it's as much personal so I will drop it here.  After two years as Exec at my present job I have put in my notice. Actually talked to the owner a couple weeks ago and I still have two weeks left.  Right now I'm working hard to make sure my Sous is 100% ready to step up and lead the kitchen once I'm gone.  He's a great dude and I know he's got what it takes although I feel bad for him that he has a tough road ahead.  We're a bit short staffed as it is and our strongest line cook is leaving in a month for culinary school.

While there have been a lot of great things about this job, there are some deal-breakers emerging that are impossible to ignore.  All jobs have some good and bad, but long ago I developed what I call the 'pit of the stomach rule'.  Some stress is normal but when I have a knot in the pit of my stomach when I walk out the door for work, then I know it's time to move on.

I'm accepting an Exec position for the company I left to join this one.  Obviously I left on good terms, just wanted to try something different.  The new job will be a lot better is some ways- certainly the money will be better- but I will miss my crew and will always have some regrets that things worked out the way they have.

The next step for me is to finish out my month's notice, then I'm taking a much-needed few weeks off between the end of this job and the beginning of the next.

I guess I bring this up in the Cafe just because it's about feelings, not work.  You know...endings...beginnings...that sense of melancholy that I usually get at transitions/boundary events in life.  Relationships run their course but new roads stretch into the distance, beckoning me onward.  Right now I'm standing on the deck facing into the winds, heading into the unknown. 

On some level that's a really cool feeling.
 
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I'm having some feelings of my own right now but this is your thread so I will just say it happens ( not that I have to even say it....we have both been around that merry go round more than once)
Once you get that omg I hate to even leave the house if I am heading into work feeling it is time to punch the clock for the last time.... before you give them a reason to be glad you are leaving cuz you were such an a hole.

What is awesome is you get to walk back into a house you are familiar with....none of those first day jitters to ruin your well earned break.

Enjoy it you earned it....
mimi
 
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I discussed some of the factors here:  http://www.cheftalk.com/t/92264/musings  {Links work screwy here}

Feel free to talk about your situation, flipflopgirl!  That's the point of this thread and why I posted here instead of in the Chef's forum.

I spoke to the Corporate Chef for a bit today.  He and I worked together for a few years so we know each other well; we've worked the line for years in a very busy restaurant.  Work-wise the move should be good for me.  More money, less stress and a more competent crew from the dish crew on up to the President.  They know what they're doing. The check average will be lower than at my present gig by a bit, and the food a bit more pedestrian.  But of course, I will have a little bit of room to grow it a bit and go a little more upscale.

My concern is that the town isn't a dream place to live.  I'm working in a small town but it's 25 miles from my hometown (a small city of 175,000) so on my days off I can run back and shop, visit family or see a movie.  I'll be moving to a town of about 15,000 that's a good 200 miles from any real city.  That bums me out a little, but there is good fishing there.

You really hit the nail on the head- if I stay I'm going to reach the point where I throttle someone right there on the line!/img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif   I've gotta get out while it's on my terms.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still doing good work there.  Last weekend some regulars came in that eat there three or four times a week.  They're a super cool older couple and I always take 20 minutes at least once per week to chat with them.  When I told them I was leaving they acted like their dog just died./img/vbsmilies/smilies/redface.gif   It made me feel bad.  There are lots of regulars that come in every week to see what I'm doing next.

The saddest part is that we have a some great things going for us and a unique situation.  I think the owner is squandering it in ways that threaten everything that we've built over the last couple years.  Think hard drugs, gambling, etc in addition to some sloppy business practices.  I kind of worry the place will be gone in another couple years, and I don't really see him addressing the issues.

Hopefully this will be a step towards what I want to do (which is move out to Montana or Idaho).  It may sound crazy but next to cooking my main passion is hiking, camping and bushcraft.  I want to walk out my back door and see the mountains, when I'm out of work I want to sleep out under the stars under a canopy of trees.  As I get older and have less days ahead I realize I don't want to spend them all under the florescent lights of the kitchen.  I still really love being a chef and my present situation hasn't soured me on the business, but it has reminded me that it has to be balanced with the other reasons for living.
 
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Thanks for the thread and for the feelings.  I'm going through something similar, I guess you could call it the beginning of the end.  I've put the wheels in motion to leave my medical practice and get into the restaurant industry.  It's a strange time but I just don't know how much longer I can keep walking out the door with that feeling in my stomach.  I'm also amazed at how from other people's perspective, they can have so much respect for my skills, knowledge, judgement, experience...yet when I say this is something I am going to do, suddenly I may not be thinking clearly.  My family is totally behind me, which is important.  Yes, it will change our lives quite a bit but in life you can do a lot as long as you've got people in your corner with a towel between the rounds.

Life is definitely short and no one can count our days.  I'm certainly familiar with that.  Even if I only have ten or a dozen years in me, at least I'm looking forward and not just standing collecting dust.
 
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I found out a couple of days ago a musician I dated seriously back in the early 1980's died.
Vietnam vet ...agent orange.....another one bit the dust.

His daughter who was no fan of mine never even let me know.
I found out from a mutual friend on the local music scene.....poor guy...I could tell he wished he had kept his pie hole shut.
He said everyone was looking around and asking where I was but the little brat never opened her mouth.

We had so much fun and met so many people and played so many great gigs.....I had a nice little collection of autographed drum stix and guitar pix...wonder who's attic they are in now lol.
Not just all stage stuff ... he was known for the bass but he could hold his own with the best of the keyboard guys and man oh man he could make you cry when he picked up a horn.
Sound mixing when someone was on tour and theirs no called no showed ( prolly hanging out with phaedrus phaedrus boss lol) studio work.... did it all.
Always...always took me with if I could get the time off.
Parted as friends...I had kids and the "Bobby McGee" lifestyle would not have been healthy for them.
Would go for a year then he would check in but mostly it would be just a how ya doing thru someone else.
This last year had me all wrapped up being caretaker for my namesake so whatever time I had to socialize was spent fishing or three day weekends far far from home so if someone had tried to get me I wouldn't answer back.

Just sent out a carpet bomb email trying to find that souvenir box.....should also have a zillion pix and tapes in it.

So thanks for the go ahead to spill my feelings phaedrus phaedrus it helped to get it out.
To tell the truth the industry is full of peeps who are just oddball enuf to get it.

So......let me buy a round for the house (we liked kamakazis but a brew will do) :level: :beer: in memory of B.
Pretty sure we will meet again at that big dark and smoky jazz joint that never closes.

mimi
 
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I've been sort of a hobo since I left my house on April 30.

I've lost a bit of weight in the past 2 mos.

And work is physical enough I come home sore!

Although its getting better.

I work a comfortable 50 hours a week.

And I'm living here for the summer.

Its on a private river frontage.

 
Oh! The places you'll go when you know how to cook.

Happy Summer,

Peachcreek
 
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I have stayed in some interesting places but Peach....you took the cake.
Is it far enuf out that you can see the stars really good at nite?
Quiet except for the locusts?
Can I come visit?
Taking the namesake home on the 10th ..... it has been raining for days and my camper sprung a leak right over my bed.
The mosquitos are swarming and the tides are too high to enjoy the beach front.
I could use a vacation from my vacation .
:laser:

mimi
 
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Tonight was my last Saturday night at my present job. Sadly it was pretty lame...very slow for a Saturday.  It seems it will end with a whimper.  Tomorrow is my last day, going in to do Sunday brunch.  Maybe I'll pop back in as there's a small function in the evening, so I'll make sure everything is ready to go and say my farewells to the staff.  It's bittersweet as many things are.  As much as the place can occasionally drive me insane I have mostly loved my time here.  I kind of wish I had another week to use up a few things.  I have a case of veal bones in the freezer that I meant to turn into demi but didn't get around to it. 

Oh, well, such is life.
 
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Dandelions bloom in Stowe.

Life is so short. We say that. Life is shorter for other things. Time is just a matter of our relationship to the way that a moment passages from one point to another. Its fast; its slow; its meaningless; its endless.
I drive past this field almost every day. I have watched it transform from a winter beaten and browned field to greening in spring and now these gorgeous flowers. I thought about stopping and taking a photo. It seemed that I was always needing to be someplace at a certain time and didn’t have the time to stop and take a photo. I drove past the blooms and each day promising myself I’d stop on the next time I drove past. On my way to work one morning I passed by the field and stopped at the stop sign down the road. I felt compelled to turn around and take a photo. I turned around and drove back. I spent about ten minutes trying to find a good picture, I snapped quite a few using my phone. I got back in my car and went to work. When I drove back in the afternoon the farmer had mowed the field. The blooms were gone.
I chose to follow my intuition that day. Something inside me was stronger and louder than my logic. I listened to my heart, my inner voice. My Angel. My lesson now is to remember that voice. To listen for it. To recognize it. To begin to build a trusting relationship with it. Sometimes stopping to smell the roses doesn’t involve roses. Or smelling them. It takes us as aware people to recognize and learn that ability and embrace that openness to know those times and feelings when they come along.
Putting intention out to reach for that lesson.
Tessa

June, 2016

16%2B-%2B1
 
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That's beautiful, Tessa. Both the picture and the words.  It's important to really embrace the moments when we can for they often do not last and can't be counted upon to come again.

Today was my last day!  I'm officially unemployed!/img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif   Well, for a few weeks anyway.  For the first time in a while I don't have anything I *** have to *** do.  IIRC 'Game of Thrones' is back tonite, think I'll fire up my Roku and watch it./img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
 
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Lovely pix and beautiful words @Peachcreek  ...

Helped a great deal at a point when I need to take a deep breath and just slow.the.heck.down.

I feel you @Phaedrus.

Sleep late and get up to a huge pot of coffee and lurk the internet all day in your boxers.

Just because you can.

/img/vbsmilies/smilies/cool.gif

mimi
 
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Weird- couldn't get logged in. Anyone else having issues? At any rate, yesterday I managed to score a good deal on a place to stay in the new town. Paid the deposit and 1/2 a month rent so I can move in my stuff any time. That's a relief for sure. While I still have to move 250 miles at least all I have to do is rent a truck, won't have being "homeless" hanging over me while I'm on vacation to Montana.
 
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I worked in over 25 different food services in my career. I worked catering, cafeteria, hotel F&B manager,Restaurant manager, Private club chef/manager, fast food, water park concessions and Corp food to name a few. I'm not sure there was a food I didn't cook at one time or another. I chased the dream for years Until i realized "it didn't matter where I was, It only mattered if I could be who I am where i'm at". In other words I just wanted to be in a position to practice my trade and show what I could do. This business is all about selt-satisfaction. In the beginning it's all about everyone else patting me on the back telling me how wonderful I am. Well, over time that gets less and less and like everything else in life what you do becomes normal. This is why you really need to have a love for what your doing. Everyday isn't going to be a joy, center of attraction kind of day. You need to be satisfied with you and what you do. I remember a cook asking me why I liked being a chef, or the person in charge in his eyes. My answer was, This is the only profession I have worked that I could go home after working 12 to 14 hours and still have a smile and sense of accomplishment in my heart. You need to be happy with yourself. People think in order to be happy in this business they need to work in the best restaurant in town. Thats not true! You need to work in a place that allows you to express your inner talents and creativity. You need to be in an environment that allows you to express yourself and never asks you to jeopardize your integrity and values. I never moved from one job to another for money. I only moved to a different kitchen in order to learn or given the opportunity to express myself through what I can do. If your good at what you do money will follow. I think the best advice I would give to a person just getting into this business is, don't say "NO". When your asked to work over, just do it, asked to do anything, just do it. Don't be part of the problem, be part of the solution. The people I helped move up in all my kitchens were people who help me on a daily basis. One of my Clients once told someone who was calling them and asking questions about me and my company. They wanted to know why they liked having me take care of their food service. Their answer was, he takes care of all our needs and goes the extra mile and gives us more than we ask for. He never says he 'Can't do it" he just says what time would you like, it's done. We put it in his hands and we never worry about it again. This is how I built my business over the years. I never had to quote a price for catering, they just wanted the best. By me making my client look good, in turn made my clients look good to their guests. This went on longer than I expected. I guess I didn't have a short career, so the advice and story couldn't really be short either..........Good luck I hope some of this advice helps someone......ChefBillyB
 
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Enjoy Montana! Enjoy the fishing!
...you know that Montana is The Last Best Place, right?
If you have time go digging at Crystal Park...and the fishing up that way is pretty good too! :D
 
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Well, over time that gets less and less and like everything else in life what you do becomes normal. This is why you really need to have a love for what your doing. Everyday isn't going to be a joy, center of attraction kind of day. You need to be satisfied with you and what you do. I remember a cook asking me why I liked being a chef, or the person in charge in his eyes. My answer was, This is the only profession I have worked that I could go home after working 12 to 14 hours and still have a smile and sense of accomplishment in my heart. You need to be happy with yourself. People think in order to be happy in this business they need to work in the best restaurant in town. Thats not true! You need to work in a place that allows you to express your inner talents and creativity. You need to be in an environment that allows you to express yourself and never asks you to jeopardize your integrity and values. I never moved from one job to another for money.

Yeah, you have to do it because you "love" it, or at least because it gives you a sense of satisfaction. I have never lost my sense of purpose and satisfaction but when you reach the end of the road at a given job you will know it. Not everyone leaves when it's time to leave and God knows I have often stuck it out long after I should have walked away. I suppose that if I've learned nothing else in 25 years in the kitchen I at least learned when it's time to move on.

I kind of disagree with one thing, though- I think it's good to work in the best restaurant in the market. Not the fanciest mind you but the best. Most reliable, most consistent. If you're not the best you better be close and you better be trying. In a perfect world your only competition would be the cook you were yesterday but in the competitive world we live in you have to stand out. It would be great to not need the money but you have to be an advocate for yourself in this biz- no one else will do it for you.
 
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In a perfect world your only competition would be the cook you were yesterday but in the competitive world we live in you have to stand out. It would be great to not need the money but you have to be an advocate for yourself in this biz- no one else will do it for you.
Not only advocate, but represent your own talents and interests.
I've had a lot of places of employment.
I always go back to the 3 things I get from my work: compensation, working environment, and experience.
So I stay as long as I get all 3 things.
I hang on as long as I can if I have 2 of the 3.
If I'm down to one? I'm gone.
 

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