I'm in a career crossroad

Discussion in 'Professional Pastry Chefs' started by toshibaaa, Jun 29, 2015.

  1. toshibaaa

    toshibaaa

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    Hi

    I'm in a career crossroad right now. I'm 28 years old hearing impaired with an education in culinary and marketing along with food service work experiences only.

    I'm currently working as a pastry chef for a restaurant with over 400 seats. I have been working for them since the first day they open which is over a year and 9 months now. I'm the only pastry chef with no help. I still make the same 3 desserts since the first day which are sticky toffee cake, no bake cheesecake and chocolate cake along with a couple sauces and cookies as garnishes and biscotti cookie compliments (which I hate to make the most lol because it free and it the #1 thing I'm making the most comparing to anything else.. it a cookie, boring). Also I do brunch items such as 2 flavours of scones, cheesecake piped french toast, and waffle.

    I worked roughly 90-100 hours biweekly, $14/hr with tips.

    Initially I was planning on opening a pastry shop with the money I saved up so far which is 65k. But after working at the restaurant, it grinding me down and working nearly every weekend, holidays and the long hours. I'm not sure if the pastry shop worth it. I'm missing quite a lot of family, friends and social events. when I finished my shifts, I pretty much just crashed and do nothing because I'm tired sometime from working nearly 10 hours straight.

    How do you guys deal with it or were you guys in similar position and change career?
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2015
  2. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    90-100 hours Biweekly? So you work 45-50 hours a week? 

    Or do you work 90-100 hours every week? 
     
  3. toshibaaa

    toshibaaa

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    45-50 a week (I work 5 days a week) and sometime I do more hours around holidays or special events/parties... I said 90-100 biweekly cause I get paid biweekly so I used to saying biweekly
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2015
  4. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    I went from working hours similar to yours to owning my own restaurant. When I did that 10 hour work days and 5 day work weeks became a thing of the past. The time investment pretty much doubled, but it was easy to deal with it because I was doing exactly what I wanted and loved. It was my dream brought to life. I still couldn't believe it actually happened.... Oh yeah, my pay didn't double like my hours did, more like a pay cut; but that didn't deter me in the least either.

    Passion is a way overused word these days and has become diluted as a consequence, but I truly had it and never doubted that I had it. I ate, slept, and breathed not only the culinary arts but the restaurant business as well. For me it wasn't so much a choice, as it was my destiny.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2015
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  5. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    45-50 hours a week is pretty good for restaurant work. You should be getting overtime for anything over 40 hours if you are in the United States. 

         I can tell you from experience that owning your own place will mean working a lot more than you are now. Book keeping, management and just more responsibility.  

    You might consider looking around for a different pastry job. It sounds like what is affecting you most may be the repetitive work every week with little chance to do other things or be creative. 

         So while owning your own place can be more time consuming and a bit more stressful, it can also be very rewarding. You can try out new ideas while producing what keeps the customers coming in. 

    But I think for the immediate future, try getting a new job with a bit more creative room. See how you feel after six months to a year, then rethink your situation. 

    And before I forget, congratulations on saving that much money. Obviously you'll need more than that to open your own place but that's a great start. 
     
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  6. chefpeon

    chefpeon Kitchen Dork

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    I think @chefwriter  gave you great advice. I agree that 45-50 hours per week in restaurant work isn't too bad and kind of par for the course, but if you're spending that much time at work being dissatisfied and bored, that's a recipe for burnout. Absolutely, owning your own place doubles your time commitment and can be more stressful, but if you

    get to do what you want, it may be worth it to you, or maybe not. You gotta figure out what's important to YOU. Do you want to eat, sleep and breathe the business like @cheflayne  or are other things in life equally as important? If you want to enjoy a life balance and not have the business be your raison d'etre, I think finding a better job before you make the leap into ownership is the best course of action at the moment. 

    I did the whole eat, sleep, breathe thing. You can only do that for so long. Some people can do it longer than others. Regardless, you pay a price for it. 
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2015
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  7. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Hi Toshibaa.....

    Like the others have said, 45-50 hrs a weeks is pretty good.

    If you were to run your own pastry shop, a 45 hr week would only have two causes:

    1) Physical health would only allow to work those hours

    2) Lack of business would allow you to work those hours

    From your description, I gather the job is a ho-hummer and kinda boring, I get that, and understand you wanting to try something more challenging.

    From my personal experience, running your own place will have you thinking about the following three things--night and day, while taking a dump or getting intimate with your partner:

    -How to cover rent

    -How to cover salaries

    -How to cover suppliers

    -How to keep current customers

    AND

    -How to attract new customers
     
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  8. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    I hear that. I did it for years before I decided that there were too many things that enjoyed in life that I no longer did since owning a restaurant because there was no time. I decided it was time to get back to doing those things. I closed my restaurant after a sufficient time period to make sure that I was good with my decision. Hung a sign in the window saying "going to the Caribbean, beaches to walk, boats to sail, fish to be caught" I haven't looked back since. I am cured of ownership. The best two days in a restaurant owner's life are when he opens his restaurant... and when he closes it.
     
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  9. panini

    panini

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    @toshibaaa,

    Well there is always going to be someone who gives you advice. I have to tell you, I have been around this topic for decades. While reading your post I felt there was huge red lights blinking off and on. This is just me, but I think your are accurately describing the difference between a career and a job.I would have a "come-to-Jesus" meeting with myself and figure out just what it is that you're looking for as to be happy.

    As far as going into business. It is just that. (Business) it's not saving money, or wondering what it's like to run one. You must educate yourself, if you have the entrepreneurial bug. Enroll in business courses now. It does not matter what type of business. You have to have a good business plan. I have had too many friends in this business, living and passed, that open a food business only to crash and burn for lack of business knowledge. Most of those people spent there life savings and bought a job. Most JOBS will eventually burn you out. A career is different. You need to set goals. Where will you be in 10, 20, 30 yrs. Some people set up their business for acquisition. Some for growth. and some for failure. Personally I have known from the first day of my business that I would build to sustain my family and myself both financially and emotionally until there is no longer a need for it.. I knew I would be semi-retired now. I knew I would not have money issues. I made time for family from the start. HEY! it's not easy at all. But if you understand business and make that business your career it can be very rewarding.

    Just my 1.5 cents.

    Have that meeting with yourself and the best of luck to you in the future.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2015
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  10. toshibaaa

    toshibaaa

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    Thank you for the advices guys

    - I actually dislike people using the word "passion" lol ... passion doesn't always make them successful

    - Any time after 44 hours is overtime pay.. I live in Ontario, Canada.

    - I am bored and pretty much cut off my creative outlet at my job... I was actually told in my job interview that they were going to teach new stuffs and they haven't done anything... basically gave me the recipes and told me you make them

    - I'm currently looking around for another job but where I live .. it pretty scarce for pastry jobs since a lot of place order stuffs from supplier.

    - I do agree and know owning a pastry will take more of my time dealing with production/baking, bookkeeping, suppliers, employees, and managing but wasn't expecting that much time :p

    - I actually thought of doing a shortbread cookie company doing 6 flavours by myself and do it wholesale... selling to restaurants, bakeries, coffee/tea companies, corporate and selling them at the farmer market 1 or 2 times a week... maybe my mom can assist with the packaging and delivery

    - I do have business knowledge.. I graduated from business administration program in college.. I wouldn't open a pastry shop with just my work experiences

    - i do want a balanced life because if I plan to settle down and have a family.. I don't want to take a chance to neglect them from working long hours at the pastry shop

    - It a possibility that I might change profession

    I hoped I answered everybody statements