My arms are going to fall off!

Discussion in 'Professional Pastry Chefs' started by harpua, Dec 14, 2017.

  1. harpua

    harpua

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    I've been in this business a long time now, and I'm really starting to get worried about the physical repercussions associated with pastry work. My arms fall asleep all the time, my wrists pop and tingle and who knows when my back will finally give out (I've been lucky).

    I can't do another December at this current workplace. I say it every year! It's too hard on me physically. I don't want to need a hip replacement or something in 10 years because I'm always working.

    Unfortunately, I'm stuck in a comfort zone at this place regarding money, benefits, schedule, etc.. I'd like to leave to save my soul and body but I'm trying to pay off some debt.

    I guess what I'm asking is if any of you made a switch career wise (but still in the industry) that is better long term. Teaching? Food styling? I'm not a very good writer so that's out. I also just wanted to rant a little. I'm having a hard time right now physically and mentally. I'm also not feeling very fulfilled with who I'm producing all of these things for. They are mostly people who have old money to throw around and I can guarantee you that I do not agree with their politics. It would be cool if I could work for something that made a difference. Anyway.

    Thanks
     
  2. harpua

    harpua

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    I just realized how many threads there are like this.
    "Need a career change! Help!"
     
  3. chefpeon

    chefpeon Kitchen Dork

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    My arms started falling off several years ago. I had carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists. Doc told me that if I keep doing what I'm doing the numb arms and hands will come back eventually. And come back it has. Now it's worse too. And even though I've been wearing orthotics for a long time, my feet still protest strongly.

    I honestly don't know what the answer is. My passion is being in the kitchen, producing things. I've gone over to the managerial office side of things, and boy was that a boring freaking room in hell for me. A lot of people in my same situation tell me they're going into "consulting" and they all seem to end up in the kitchen like they were before, except now they are "consulting" but they can't explain how that's any different. So I'm not even sure what "consulting" means at this point!

    I feel your pain, literally and I totally understand the rant.
     
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  4. chefross

    chefross

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    Same here with 5 herniated disks. Had surgery in October to help, but still have the numbness in the arms and hands.
     
  5. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    I think everyone has plowed through a day they thought they could never do. This business takes it's toll on everyone. In your case it's a daily struggle to accomplish. It's not easy doing what you do in the best of conditions. That being said, to do what you do, for customers you don't like, makes it even harder. The only reason we do this is because of the self-fulfillment we get out of it. It looks like the only reason your do it is because of a good schedule, benefits and money. In most jobs thats enough to stick around. When your a baker I think it takes a bit more to satisfy your needs. The reasons why you stay may be good for the short term but, it's not going to last.
    I worked in restaurants for many years while I slowly moved to catering, Employee upscale feeding and a bit of time in Hospital type cafeteria feeding. I wasn't sure this would satisfy my needs when I first start out in this field. I never regretted making this move and I got all the self-satisfaction I could handle. In many of these career moves I was off on weekends, no real long shifts, in most cases 40 hrs a week, good wages and benefits. It's time to put the enjoyment back in the field you love. Remember that, the end of one road could just the beginning of another road. It's easy to fall into a comfort zone in this business. Take the first step to get your health in shape and you will never look back........Good Luck........ChefBillyB
     
  6. harpua

    harpua

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    Thank you so much!

    you
     
  7. harpua

    harpua

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    Are you still working?
     
  8. Pat Pat

    Pat Pat

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    You should go see a doctor. I had similar problems and ended up getting both wrist and shoulder surgeries. Now I cannot use my hands for longer than a couple minutes at a time if I do something intense like hand whipping cream.
     
  9. jcakes

    jcakes

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    First, pay off your debt. Set yourself a deadline so you don't think it's going to last forever. That will give you the freedom to choose what you want; you might go teach at a non-profit that helps people learn the culinary industry in order to get on their feet. Or you might cook in a soup kitchen. Without the debt obligation, if you don't get the salary you have now, living on less won't cause you problems.

    If you leave the industry, you can always come back. Maybe try culinary sales for a year or two; see if a distributor is hiring.
     
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  10. panini

    panini

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    1st. never see or get a referral to a surgeon. they only generate income from doing one thing.
    I had it all, 4 cracked fascia in lower lumbar, carpal tunnel, 2 majors cancers,and on and on.
    One week before starting a consulting business I found a way to extend my physical working career more than
    12 years. You can attribute most all of hospitality injuries to circulation, especially in the legs and arms.
    I changed diet, started with Tai Chi, acupuncture and stretching. I then progressed into a soft style of Kung Fu. My goodness, here in the US, we are clueless about how the human body works. And our opinion on martial arts is so convoluted. Most people I meet think about the US Karate schools where everyone is in the window kicking parking meters.
     
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