Good Job/Bad job, resume jumbles, and some needed advice, what to do?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by born2cook, Oct 13, 2004.

  1. born2cook


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    Listen this post is long , if you dont have the time to read it then it's cool,maybe some other time. I just need some help, no alot of help.

    Greetings folk, i have a dilema that involves a host of things. let me frist start off my saying that i am a career changer. After 9-11 reality hit me as it may have hit some of you. I lost my job at an educational company in NJ and the unemployment lines were pretty long, so i decided to use the old GI Bill to have a career in the one thing that calms and excites me above all else which is cooking. I "flipped" my GI bill to be able to partially payoff some of my school bill, eat and get to culinary school an hour away in Pa for about 18mnths.

    That was then

    Well a few weeks before classes were over i was offered an intern position by one of my instructors at a restaurant in nj that he was taking over. i accepted and worked for free for three months before the chef fought the owners about bringing me on board officially. Well after a few more months of working the chef asked me if i would be his sous chef and stupid me said yes. I helped my chef write and plan menus, did inventory and set production and even supervised a few people in the process. On my graduation day that i found out that i would not be graduating from school due to financial issues, my chef left the restaurant and while my classmates were graduating i was sweating during the restaurant's evening rush. After another month or so my Chef told me that he discoved that the restaurant was going to be sold and told me that i should start looking for another job. well since i felt that i needed to gain more experience i took a job at another fine restaurant in northern new jersey. the new job was nice and was an hour away from my home. and even though i was losing money every hour due to train fare. i was glad cause i was learning. But low and behold, a problem occurred when the paychecks started coming up short. I spoke to the chef about it and he told me that even if you work overtime that you only get paid for the hours that you are assigned. So, after 2 more weeks i left and worked at an internet company for a bit before i left nj to move to atlanta for better opportunities. Hey! atlanta looks good but acts funny with out-of-towners coming in for jobs. I was pounding the payment and **** near homeless every day, because of some rules that some places had about calling different states for references(which later i found out was some bs). luckily i hooked up with one of many culinary temp agencies and worked like **** for a month just to get back to nj. well anyway i found my way back to Nj and took a Job at FedEx Kinkos!! which i've been at for about 8mths. My old chef asked me to come work for him at both of the country clubs that he had worked for and even though i'm over an hour away from his new country club, I dont have a car at the moment so thats on pause. Well, after i had re-couped some of losses from the atlanta move i was stable again and i took a sous chef job at a small fine dining restaurant in addition to working at Fedex-kinkos, well after a few months there, there's another problem. The gas line on the stove ruptured and there was a minor fire and the restaurant has been closed since August. The owners stiffed everyone on their paychecks, the chef quit, and they approached me on taking the job. Every-time i try to get in contact with them about my paycheck they give me the run-around or are simply not around. At the present moment they have not paid me, but they e-mail and dangle the position in front of me and i keep thinking that "hey, i need the experience" and i've already wrote and designed the new menu. My old Chef told me not to wait on anyone and to find another gig, my friends wants me to go to the state labor board or throw rocks through their windows, but in my head i keep thinking " i need the experience". So that the skills that i have can compliment the employment that i seek in the future more that it does now.

    Question???? Should i just walk away and find another job and wait 10-15 more years or take the risk of learning under fire and if it turns out good could make me upwardly mobile now.

    #2 when i apply to jobs and people see, oh! he was a sous chef here and then he was a line cook and then a sous chef and then a line cook. How do i explain that logically. do i say , "hey ,you win some and you lose some"?

    #2 what steps should i be taking at finding he best situation where i can gain valuable experience and make a decent living doing it?

    #3 How can i fix my resume whereby i dont have a thousand jobs listed or is that a good/bad thing?

    If you make if this far, thank you, deeply!!

    I welcome all comments and suggestions, I need it all

  2. dano1


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    Professional Chef
    1. yes, unless they are paying you a retainer(which they're not) . Sounds like the carrot and stick. You've already been screwed out of $$, it won't stop after opening again either IMO. Regarding a "chef" job only you can answer that. Don't sell yourself short, or oversell yourself either. If you haven't mastered the basics and developed somewhat of a "style" don't even think about it-and i'm not talking about what you learned in school. You lead by example, so must show your cooks how you want something done this way. don't have to list every minute detail, or job on your resume(especially if the gig didn't last too long). Many people move up, and down, in this biz-explain as a lateral move if needed. One note, stay positive, even if they were rat bastar* crooks. the last thing i want to hear from a potential hire is bad mouthing of prior employers-not my problem and can cast you in a bad light. Especially true if filing a lawsuit, involving labor, etc...

    2. redux. use common sense and believe a 10th of what you hear in this biz. As far a 'decent' living, hotels, large foodservice operations(b&i), corporate, are where you will make relatively more $$. smaller ops with higher overhead will pay less. Of course there's a trade off.

    3.see #2

    hth, danny
  3. katbalou


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    Professional Chef
    you should also contact the local or state labor board about not getting paid. i had to do that once, it took a while but i finally got paid and the labor board does all the work of getting the money for you.