Career path crossroads.

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by basilskite, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. basilskite

    basilskite

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    Hi guys! I'm at a bit of a crossroads of my life right now. I just graduated college with a psych degree. I decided that I love cooking my junior year of college when I stopped getting meal plans and moved into a dorm with a kitchen. I tried working at a corporate restaurant as a pantry cook for two months before moving on to a full time job. The restaurant job was meant as a segue until I found "real work".

    Despite the food that I prepared being lame, I loved the work. I never looked at the clock through out my shift, waiting for it to end (unless it was closing/cleaning time). Now I'm doing clerical office work, and it totally sucks. I think about food all the time. The only two major factors holding me back from a culinary career is the low pay and the hours. I don't have any loans/interests to pay because my parents payed for my college out of pocket, but I still need to pay them back. Also, i love having my weekends and nights free. There is so much to experience out there and most of it happens during that time frame. I fear being a 40 year old guy and realized that he missed out on life in general. Do any of you guys feel that way? I'm just trying to decide if it's worth it or not. I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter. Sorry for the long post.
     
  2. squirrelrj

    squirrelrj Banned

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    What? how does most of what life has to experience occur during nights and weekends? besides going out and partying with all the the other folks who enjoy nightlife, I couldn't disagree more.

    Plenty to experience in life outside of nights and weekend, and I think anyone who works in the industry will agree, because generally the only time we can "experience life" is the exact opposite of nights and weekends.

    If you don't like working nights and weekends, i'd probably consider a different industry, because you won't find many places that will work around your social life, just my .02
     
  3. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    Why SquirrelRJ, my goodness, you just stated that an employee has the right of free speech, so s/he could just speak up about the hours, right?
     
  4. squirrelrj

    squirrelrj Banned

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    Sure, speak up on all those points if you so choose, and like I said in my post, good luck on getting any restaurant to work around your social life.
     
  5. basilskite

    basilskite

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    Concerts, roadtrips, to mention that all my friends do the 9-5 gig. I don't drink (alcohol allergy) and I don't do clubs. I would love cooking as a career and am willing to sacrifice a bit of my social life for it. I just don't know if i'll go crazy a few years into the business. Also, the low pay is a huge problem at the moment.
     
  6. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    My experience was completely the opposite. I was crazy for a years, then I went into the business!
     
  7. josh1110

    josh1110

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    The payment is enough to get through life and make a savings. If your the type of person who needs a giant house, nice car and stuff a culinary payroll will not make you happy.

    Also you can have similar 9-5 jobs..for example in the resturaunt I work I start at 7am-4pm which is pretty much a standard 9-5 job.

    0.2 here
     
  8. guts

    guts

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    From what I can tell, you can definitely get a cooking position that will allow you to live like a normal human being (working 8 hour shifts, making above minimum wage with benefits, etc). Generally, these positions come in the form of hotels, retirement homes, etc...

    Generally, I'm pretty sure the major deterrent from taking a position like this is a lower quality of food, and a lack of prestige, and less of an opportunity to learn. That isn't to say there aren't exceptions to the rule, of course, but yeah...
     
  9. jmueller

    jmueller

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    It might sound a little straight forward, but my advice is to go ahead and start a culinary career. Hours are indeed long and there are few jobs that can be as tough as being a line cook, but if you are having fun while doing it, it will be very rewarding. I myself missed the window to switch career paths and I regret it almost every day. I think, there is nothing more horrible than doing a job every day that you don't really want to do. You will never be very good at it and you'll hate it so much that you'll feel mentally "exhausted" (can't really describe it in a different way) when you come home - which isn't really the best mood to go party in anyway.
     
  10. squirrelrj

    squirrelrj Banned

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    A lot of truth here, lots of learning to be had by the chefs in these types of "restaurants" as well.
     
  11. chefedb

    chefedb

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    In this business youan't have your cake and eat it to  unless your lucky and fall into something. It's weekends, nights, holiday etc. Thats the nature of the beast. If you did not want to work at these times and everyone felt the same. Then who would cook,  feed  or serve you when you went out at these times???
     
  12. basilskite

    basilskite

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    Yeah, if I was to dive full force into this, I'd want to learn as much as possible.
    I don't mind the long hours or the tough work. It's the time of day those hours are spent that's deterring me. I'm sorry you missed your window JMueller. I think I'm starting to see what you're saying. I'm realizing that there is nothing out there besides cooking that I can put my heart into and actually be good at it.
    What, so I'm obligated to sacrifice my nights and holidays to serve the greater good? Ha.
     
  13. basilskite

    basilskite

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    Thanks for the response guys. I think I'm coming to the conclusion that if I don't do this, I'll be a miserable dude for possibly the rest of my life. I'll get used to forgoing a social life as I gradually lose touch with my friends /img/vbsmilies/smilies/crying.gif
     
  14. squirrelrj

    squirrelrj Banned

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    Yes. If you love this industry as much as some of us, you give up those little things in life to do what you really love, that's my opinion and outlook on being a chef.
     
  15. guts

    guts

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    No, you're obligated to sacrifice your nights and holidays because that's the job description and no job is perfect. Whether you love it or not, work is work and you'll never have a job that has all the positives with none of the negatives.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2011
  16. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Sorry but thsts the nature of the business. Suggestion  Stay out of it, and follow up on your degree become a psych.
     
  17. steelbanger

    steelbanger

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    Basilskite, sounds like you want to start at the top. you need to pay your "dues" first, and that means the long hours, lousy shifts, lousy pay, and so on. All of us had to do it, and some continue to do so. That's fine when you're young and unattached. Hey, you'll always find work, anywhere in the world, if you're good at it. That's one of the advantages of being a cook. But as you grow older (trust me on this one) your priorities change. Family, life style, other interests. You'll want to settle into a more regulated work schedule, and yes, to have your evenings and week ends off is really nice, especially if you have kids. So, once you know the trade, and you have the experience to go with it, you can opt for a chef's job at a hotel, a corporate chef's position, teaching, research, whatever... These are highly coveted positions, however, and you have to earn them. They don't hand them out to greenhorns...

    Good luck on your quest.
     
  18. guts

    guts

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  19. chefross

    chefross

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    I have always had issues with this type of thinking.

    It boils down to ego and the fact that many Chefs feel they have a right of ascension to the title after having "paid their dues"

    I find this type of attitude more among the older Chefs who got their education from the "school of hard knocks."

    It's rubbish and stinks of elitism.  

    Many young people go to culinary school, graduate and get a job working on a line in a restaurant.

    Many of them as well go on to other food service venues, such as school cafeteria work, or other institutional feeding.

    YES......the students who graduate must get their experience somehow.

    YES...the young people who start out right out of college don't know everything.

    But...it is THEIR life and THEIR experiences to learn from.

    If their schooling and experiences qualify them for a position that is better than "entry level" than all the better.

    There are quite a few of the old guard here on these threads that feel this way. You can sense it in the way they answer questions put to them. It's sad really.

    I don't believe that one can group all school graduates into this category.
     
  20. brasciole

    brasciole

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    My suggestion is to try it. You'll never know for sure unless you do. I worked in restaurants for 15 years when I had some major life changes, divorce, moved across the country. I had the opportunity to take a job, working for my uncle (big mistake btw) as a warehouse manager of a few furniture stores. 9-5 weekends off, great $$ it sounded like a dream come true. Guess what, it was a nightmare. I learned that I belong in the kitchen, that is what I love to do. The long hours, late nights and always working weekends and holidays gets tough. But life is too short to be unhappy, follow your dreams you will know if it's not for you. Don't forget, there are places that are open for breakfast and lunch too. Good luck.