When to get back into cooking?

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Joined May 13, 2017
have been contemplating my career choice lately going from culinary to IT and im kind of still iffy as i'd have to go back to school for IT maybe take another 5 years to complete. currently im not working in the field. i work making beef jerky, just extremely basic stuff so i could save money for school well that was the plan at first.

now im second guessing my choice and wondering if i do decide to stay in the field how long should i wait out until going back in? i feel as if i stay out of it for too long i will forget a lot of what i have learned over the years. i've only been in the field for about 2-3 years. Only been out of the field for about 3 months. left due to a toxic environment at my last restaurant job.

Also how do i know if i will "love" this field. i mean i do enjoy cooking but for me it's a money issue. cost of living is just to damn high for how much i get paid and i feel like it will never change.

any comments/tips? sorry if this was the wrong area to post didn't really know where to post something like this.
 
1,841
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Joined Aug 15, 2003
You're in the same boat as all of us. You have to decide if your desire/passion for cooking and food outweighs your desire to get paid a living wage. Things aren't likely to improve financially for you unless you can work your way up to sous chef/chef/exec chef where you can expect to at last make a DECENT living.

If you feel you have a lot invested in making a career in the food business, you should know that a lot of times it's about finding the right kitchen and the right fit in order to really blossom. Every kitchen is different, every chef is different, and if you find one that you "click" with it can be magical. So just because your last restaurant was toxic doesn't mean they all are or that you can't find the right place to work.

It's tough tho, I imagine most professional chefs have been where you are at least 1 or 2 times in their career. Nobody but you can decide what you should do with your life.

What things do you value? Do you value exacting work, where dedication to craft and pursuit of excellence are daily mantras and challenges...do you value no two of your days being exactly the same, not working in an office, not being tied to 9-5...

Or do you want to make more money, have weekends off, but maybe not find so much satisfaction in your day to day work life?
 
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Joined May 13, 2017
this is my 2nd time since i graduated from college that i've been thinking about this. it's mostly the pay issue and the state i live in due to high cost of living.

If i do decide to go back into the field though how long would you say before i go back in? right now it's only been 3 months but im afraid if i wait maybe a year to go back in that i will have a difficult time transitioning back in. Right now im just trying to save money for new clothes/tools like knives when i do decide what to do. i have also just got hired at this beef jerky place so i don't want to feel bad about leaving right after i got hired as i am currently working with my old sous chef from that toxic restaurant.

like i said though this job is easy your not cutting the meat if you do it's via a giant slicer and the only thing culinary related that i really do is make the sauces to marinate the meat which is extremely basic. i just don't want to leave on a bad note nor want to feel as if i need to go back to culinary school because i forgot everything i've learned from my past jobs/schooling
 
1,841
543
Joined Aug 15, 2003
this is my 2nd time since i graduated from college that i've been thinking about this. it's mostly the pay issue and the state i live in due to high cost of living.

If i do decide to go back into the field though how long would you say before i go back in? right now it's only been 3 months but im afraid if i wait maybe a year to go back in that i will have a difficult time transitioning back in. Right now im just trying to save money for new clothes/tools like knives when i do decide what to do. i have also just got hired at this beef jerky place so i don't want to feel bad about leaving right after i got hired as i am currently working with my old sous chef from that toxic restaurant.

like i said though this job is easy your not cutting the meat if you do it's via a giant slicer and the only thing culinary related that i really do is make the sauces to marinate the meat which is extremely basic. i just don't want to leave on a bad note nor want to feel as if i need to go back to culinary school because i forgot everything i've learned from my past jobs/schooling

I doubt you'd forget everything that quickly. You would certainly be rusty and it may take some time to get your legs back, but it's not like you'd be starting all over from scratch.

We all live in a high cost of living state...the cost of living is just high. It sucks. I fully believe that something will have to change in the culinary industry sooner rather than later, but that is another discussion. If your number 1 thing is making money then you probably should get out of the kitchen. Nothing wrong with that, it's just that you are unlikely to make good money...ever.

I'm a bit confused now though...you might want to go back someday, but you're not sure, but if you do decide to go back you don't want to wait too long so you don't forget everything? Or you are just going to go back to school for IT? You should only go back into the kitchen if you decide that's what you want to do...so how long until you go back is entirely up to you.

If you want to leave your current job then leave...give proper notice and tell your boss that you want to get back into a kitchen.
 
53
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Joined May 13, 2017
I'm a bit confused now though...you might want to go back someday, but you're not sure, but if you do decide to go back you don't want to wait too long so you don't forget everything? Or you are just going to go back to school for IT? You should only go back into the kitchen if you decide that's what you want to do...so how long until you go back is entirely up to you.

it's a bit iffy like im still trying to decide thats why. i enjoy cooking, enjoy working with food, just the whole aspect of the kitchen as im not a desk person i get bored extremely quickly but when in the kitchen their is always things to do. clean, prep, cook, watch others and how they do things to learn, etc.. right now im just giving it some time to think it through as this is my 2nd time going through this feeling so short into my career. plus im pretty broke right now and need money to buy new coats/chef pants and shoes. what i wear for my current job is just casual clothes with just 2-3 pairs of coats which i have to swap out once a day due to USDA laws and how the operation is set up.

If your number 1 thing is making money then you probably should get out of the kitchen. Nothing wrong with that, it's just that you are unlikely to make good money...ever.

yea i agree but when i also think about it i look at all the others in my same situation and how they manage to get by. i keep in touch with friends from school in the field and they are no different financially. yet they are still in the field and still enjoying it. so it gives me hope that maybe i need to just stop worrying to much about it financially? funny thing as well i have it better off then they do as well yet i seem more stressed out about the situation.

if you don't mind me asking what do you do when finances are like an issue in the field? like i know some of my coworkers had 2 jobs at one point or still do some have side jobs like a catering business,etc..

im slowly creeping back to going into the field thanks to your help though. been talking to friends and they persuade me to do something i enjoy versus money.
 
1,841
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Joined Aug 15, 2003
if you don't mind me asking what do you do when finances are like an issue in the field? like i know some of my coworkers had 2 jobs at one point or still do some have side jobs like a catering business,etc..

im slowly creeping back to going into the field thanks to your help though. been talking to friends and they persuade me to do something i enjoy versus money.

What do I do...like what do I personally do? I worked my butt off to get to a point where I made enough money to earn a decent income. I mean, I do OK, I have enough money to pay all my bills and have a small amount to bank and have a little fun (when I have time lol). But that is a relatively new situation.

I remember well the days of scraping couch cushions for change to put gas in the car to get to work, or eating buttered noodles for 3 days straight until payday so I could put gas in the car (luckily as a cook you can always eat at work). Not taking vacations for years (lack of time and money)...walking to work or taking public transport to save money to get my car fixed. Being poor sucks, no doubt.

Don't live above your means. If your means dictate a studio apartment in a not so great neighborhood, that's where you live. Don't get in debt if you can help it (have a CC for emergencies, but don't buy stuff you can't pay back).

But yeah, I've had 2 jobs before. Mostly I was the type that would find something to do 1 day a week for pay. I knew a lot of cooks who would work a morning shift then a night shift, everyday (or almost). I decided to try and not do that so I could focus on one thing/job and try to excel at that, with the belief that someday it would pay off ("someday")

So I can't tell you it'll work out. I can't tell you you'll get rich. I can't tell you you won't struggle. But hey, at least you won't go hungry.
 
53
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Joined May 13, 2017
thanks for the help sorry if it seemed i was rude to ask that. i don't really have older friends in the field to really ask as all the ones i know have about the same years of experience as me.

i ended up quitting my job to continue pursuing my career in this field ain't got no money but hell i'll find a way to make it work out if i need to sell some of my personal belongings i'll do so. hopefully the lack of money will benefit me even more like it did when i was younger.

thanks again.
 
1,841
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Joined Aug 15, 2003
i don't really have older friends in the field to really ask

:sick:

i ended up quitting my job to continue pursuing my career in this field ain't got no money but hell i'll find a way to make it work out if i need to sell some of my personal belongings i'll do so. hopefully the lack of money will benefit me even more like it did when i was younger.

thanks again.

Well, I don't know how helpful I was but your welcome.

Is moving a possibility? Maybe a slightly lower cost of living area would benefit?
 
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Joined Oct 23, 2008
I'm not sure if your situation would allow it, as I know working in the food industry likely has long hours and you are most likely not full of energy at the end of your shift. I wanted to throw out a view from the other side. I have worked in software development for 20+ years. I got into the field at 18.. when the dot com boom was in full swing and I actually left college to take a position working for a well known gov. agency. I've managed to stay gainfully employed since, so it is often who you meet along the way and the impression you leave on them. When I did lose a job, I had several colleagues that had moved onto new positions offering to bring me on - that's very important in life since no job comes with guarantees unless you are lucky enough to get into severance contracts.

What I was going to mention was depending on what part of IT you are interested in, there is a lot of opportunity to learn online and even begin to do some contracting work on the side. I mentored a friend that was a professional musician for years until he started teaching himself PHP and web related technologies. He started his own small business and eventually with enough experienced gained was hired on full time at a non profit to do IT development. With a lot of hard work you could potentially continue working with food and sort of dabble in the tech business to either augment your income or see if you might like it without the type of debt one might incur going back to school. Of course if you are not a self starter and you thrive on structure.. school is probably a better option for you to move from A to B.

Just something to think about as another possibility. Good luck to you!
 
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Joined Jan 31, 2012
Well cooking is cooking, but one of the hardest things Ive found is
to just find a kitchen youre finally comfortable in, love who you work
with...and for, and get to the point it just feels like home.
And i think any one of us only has maybe 1 or 2 out of 10 kitchen
environments that really fit us. Once you find it, assuming youre a true
foodie, the pay becomes less important, so long as its enough.
unfortunately that perfect, or not so perfect kitchen isnt always apparent
when you get hired. It can take a while. But its out there, somewhere.
And no, I havent found mine either.
 

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