Should I switch my career? 25 yr old.

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by Asaz, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. Asaz

    Asaz

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    8+ years in Fairmont / Ritz-Carlton hotels, also private Golf Course.
    I'm 25 with 8+ years working in fine dining / hotels like Ritz Carlton. I have a great resume but am starting to have doubts about my career..

    I started from dishwashing and wanted more money so I asked the chef to start cooking... 8 years later I have done well but my work-life balance is suffering and my peers are all starting to pass me financially.

    I know I shouldn't compare myself to others but it's hard when all my friends are making 80-100k with weekends off, meanwhile i've busted my ass to get 50k. I work my birthday I work Christmas. I'm missing time with my girlfriend and barely get to see my family.

    I'm considering going back to school to get into the Tech industry, but my grades are very low..

    I just turned 25 and feel depressed about my career outlook. It seems that to become a chef would just make the work/life balance worse . Please, prove me wrong, this is just what I've seen.

    I'm looking for advice.. should I stick with it? Or should I give up my solid resume for a career change?
     
    phaedrus likes this.
  2. frankie007

    frankie007

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    professional chef over 20 years
    only you have the answer to that question. 25 is young, you can still change career NO DOUBT about that. Cooking is not likely to change as a job, in my case I have celebrated all my and my wife's birthdays, anniversaries etc on Monday, this years ones as well as 25 years ago......you either take it with all the good things that come with our job or you move on. i still hate working Sundays but I have accepted it now. I would still rather do that than push a pencil and work in the office ANY DAY. Good luck deciding brother
     
    Asaz likes this.
  3. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    I agree whole heartedly with @frankie007 . Only you can make this decision.

    If you were new to the industry and asking if a career in this business was for you, I would've told you everything about this business that you have already learned. However, the advantage that you have is that you learned them while you are still young enough to weigh them against the positive aspects without the extra added pressure created by age or urgency.

    Here's the bottom line. Anything good that will ever happen to you in this business will only happen if you make it happen. Period. So, do you take that next step? Are you ready to run a kitchen or open your own place? Do you take that leap of faith? Or do you get out now while there's still enough sand in the hour glass to do something else?

    I know this offers little in the way of answers. But, like I said, you must answer this question, not strangers in a cooking forum. The first step in answering this question is to look at it from all possible angles.

    Good luck. :)
     
    Asaz and firehousecook like this.
  4. someday

    someday

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    Professional Chef
    If making money, weekends off and seeing your family/friends is your priority (as it sounds) then yes, you should switch careers.

    There is a small chance that you could find something in the food world related to cooking that would satisfy your needs (private chef, corporate chef, etc) but those jobs are coveted and hard to come by and hard to be successful at.

    It just depends on what you value and how you want to live your life.
     
    Asaz likes this.
  5. Asaz

    Asaz

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    8+ years in Fairmont / Ritz-Carlton hotels, also private Golf Course.
    Thanks guys for the responses,

    I guess I'm really just looking for perspective over a final answer. I've always wanted to switch since I was an apprentice but it was very exciting for me to be moving up the ranks and travelling while cooking. I don't necessarily hate cooking, I've also been doing an overnight shift for the past 4 months which is probably not helping with the depression. It helps a lot to get a perspective from other cooks/chefs. The thought of a career switch is extremely difficult and stressful and I feel like my window for getting out is rapidly shrinking.

    I'm just wondering if anyone else has been where I am at right now?
     
  6. jimyra

    jimyra

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    Only you can make the call. I found that hotel fine dining will work you until you are used up. I once asked for a 24 hour week and got 60. I know many take a break and go to a lower stress setting. Good luck.
     
    Asaz likes this.
  7. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    You have described your life at 25 years old, 35 years old and so on. It's not going to get any better as far as hours, days off and your buddies will always out earn you. IMHO, the only way to make any real money in this business is to venture out on your own. If I stayed in this business working for other people I would never have made what I feel I was worth. I feel the only way to make it all worth wild is owning you own.

    P.S. Everyone in here that has gone through the ranks have felt the way you do. In many cases it never really stops we just come to terms with it.
     
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  8. Asaz

    Asaz

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    8+ years in Fairmont / Ritz-Carlton hotels, also private Golf Course.
    Thanks everyone, this has really helped me organize my thoughts.

    I've spoken with some of my co-workers as well, I realize that I'm not alone. I think I am going to pursue a different pathway, though it will not be nearly as easy as landing into an apprenticeship from dish washing, it excites me to try something new. I think I'll be cooking for at least another few years while I get myself together. Sounds rough. I'm going to try, deep down I think it's the right choice. The hardest part is leaving all the experience I've gained. It's easy to forget how much you learn on a daily basis.

    Again, I sincerely thank every one of you for your thoughts and input.
     
    phaedrus likes this.
  9. sgmchef

    sgmchef

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    Hi Asaz,

    The thing about having experience and success in fine dining I never considered was how well it translates into a logistics career. The attention to detail of all the moving targets one juggles is just what a successful logistician needs, evidently. I was offered a six figure position as a logistician, but didn't take it because I just love cooking! Does efficiency of movement both physically and financially, dealing quickly with issues popping up, working with tight deadlines, perishable and non-perishable handling, having backup plans in mind, developing proactive measures instead of a reactive posture with repeat situations, sound at all like things you know about? Your skill set has applications beyond food service, don't sell yourself short and think you are condemned to lose all your experience...

    If you don't want to totally leave food service behind there are school systems from elementary to college level, corporate cafeterias, prison feeding, corporate chef, product chef, I have a friend that took over the food operations for the fleet of corporate jets of a large company. There are jobs that do have a M-F schedule. Most of these won't give the same challenge/satisfaction as fine dining but it's just a way to find that compromise between work and the rest of your life.

    Approach a headhunter with your resume and describe what kind of job you want and see what they come up with. Your future boss will be paying the fees so not much for you to lose...

    If you can find a financial backer, I bet you could come up with a great food truck concept and execute it.

    Whatever path you choose I wish you the best! Let us know what happens!

    Good luck!