Working in the field long term. can anyone do it?

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Joined May 18, 2019
So I've been cooking for almost ten years and I'm trying to decide if I should stick with it or try something new I find that alot of times the coworkers I've had are unsanitary and unqualified to be a line cook and they keep there jobs because there's not alot of skilled cooks in my area I also get mad alot when I end up doing there job for them and raises are hard to come by I make 15 a hr n my boss keeps telling me I need improvement havent got a raise in a yr and it was 2.5 years before that that I got my last raise I just wanted to see if any of you had any insight on this
 
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Joined Sep 21, 2001
Hi Lotkid.
Gee.
I was a young person who got a job in a restaurant, back in January, 1977. I never stopped working.
Still do it part time. I will probably be cooking till I'm almost dead.
I don't think of work as work. I see it as getting paid to practice what I love doing.
Good luck on whatever you decide to do.
Most of all, go be happy!
 
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Joined Mar 1, 2017
So I've been cooking for almost ten years and I'm trying to decide if I should stick with it or try something new I find that alot of times the coworkers I've had are unsanitary and unqualified to be a line cook and they keep there jobs because there's not alot of skilled cooks in my area I also get mad alot when I end up doing there job for them and raises are hard to come by I make 15 a hr n my boss keeps telling me I need improvement havent got a raise in a yr and it was 2.5 years before that that I got my last raise I just wanted to see if any of you had any insight on this
I retired after more than 40 years. But, the answer to your question is very subjective. Can anyone do it? No. This is the reason why you don't run into very many who are retired from this profession. Is it possible for you. Yes. But, that depends on what you put into it. If you've been in this business for 10 years and you're still working the line, chances are that you are not going to last 40 years. If you've been cooking in commercial kitchens for 10 years, you should be a sous chef or running your own kitchen by now. I'm sorry to be blunt, but, nothing good happens in this business if you don't make it happen.

peachcreek peachcreek is spot on. Most of all, be happy. If you are not happy or motivated in food service, do something else.

Good luck. :)
 
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Joined May 18, 2019
Yes I ran my own kitchen for a couple months as a sous chef and steped down and have been asked since then to step back up but havent just because I'm not the best leader I still occasionally run shifts when my bosses go on vacation and stuff like that just whenever they need me to but idk much about getting people to do their job without offending them
 
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Joined May 5, 2010
I'll chime in here.
I retired after 43 years cooking. I still cook small parties and volunteer my time to cook for fund raisers, and funerals.
To be blunt as well.....Are you in this business to make and keep friends? Do you avoid calling an employee out simply because you don't want any hurt feelings? If so, perhaps your comment about not being able to manage people, is the reason why you can't climb the ladder to make more money.
If you see something wrong, and you don't comment on it, than you are just as guilty as the perpetrator.
 
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Joined Feb 8, 2009
The problem with this business is, you can fire a cook one day and the next day he/she is working down the street. When I couldn't find capable people I found myself hiring warm bodies. In most cases warm bodies don't move up or get raises very often. If your not growing and moving up in this business you'll be viewed as the guy who shows up. The person who doesn't want to work any harder he/she just goes with the flow and does their job.
That being said and if I was in that position I would look for something else. Just being a cook for a long period of time will drive you nuts. You'll see everyone hired, work a few weeks and then get fired. When this happens you'll be asked to work double shifts and your days off. How fair is this ??? it not fair. The business doesn't yield, shifts have to be covered, case closed. If I had to work in this business and never move up, it would drive me crazy. There are better jobs that you will be treated more fairly. There are better jobs that you will look forward to actually goes to work. There are better jobs that you will be appreciated for the job you do and be paid what you're worth.
After 10 years of working as a cook and your boss is complaining about your work, it's time to leave. You could make $15 anyplace. If you feel you're dependable, trustworthy and a hard worker, find out what you would like to do and start knocking on doors. There is the right job out there, it's up to you to find it..........Good luck......ChefBillyB
 
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Joined Mar 3, 2017
It is very hard to find good people in this industry. Close to 15 years in i have only seen 3-4 individuals w/ the same or better skill wise. I would suggest to keep changing job to learn new stations or cuisines. In my case i worked corporate hotel my first 4 years, 4 years not-for profit retirement home, 4 years small business fine dining then 3 years Hospital. Now i am at a for-profit retirement home learning to work on a fixed budget. Step outside your comfort zone and take all the good skills from every person you meet and make it your own. Dont work for money, work for experience. Then you will have the skills to pay the bills.
 
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Joined Dec 23, 2004
This is a perennial question but it's evernew I suppose. It would be pretty hard for me to suggest a life in the kitchen to a new person just starting out. I usually tell kids not to be a cook or chef unless they literally can't imagine doing anything else! By that I mean nothing else makes them as happy. I've been a cook and chef for almost 35 years now and I still wouldn't trade it for anything (at least anything I have a realistic chance of doing). There were a lot of ups and downs in those many decades, and there are still ups and downs. But I have a few suggestions.

First off leave the kitchen you're at now. It's a waste of time. If your chef isn't entirely happy with you after the time you've been working for him/her then it's one of two thing- either he's not worth your time or you need to look in the mirror and see if you're the problem. If the former then leave; put in notice and it won't be a blemish at all on your work history. If the latter then maybe get some constructive criticism. There was one time in my career that I was entitled and cocky, and really not quite as valuable as I felt I was. It could have been a bad job for me but luckily a coworker and good friend gave me some 'real talk' and explained it. Instead of throwing a tantrum or quitting I addressed my attitude and put my head down and worked harder. A year later I was the Exec of that kitchen (my first Exec job, actually).

Maybe you need that come-to-Jesus moment. Ask yourself what you want to get out of a kitchen job. Just a paycheck? I don't have to tell you there's a lot easier ways to make $15/hr. If you don't love being a cook or want to work into a chef job, go to a call center. Make that same pay but with benefits, insurance, PTO and enjoy your life.

If you want to work your way up, then invest in yourself. You can't expect your Chef or employer to be in charge your career development. Your chef will teach you what he/she needs you to know to do what you're expected to do. That's more for their benefit than yours. Do an honest analysis of your strengths and weaknesses. If it's leadership skills then don't despair; those skills aren't always inborn, they can be learned. That may involve taking a class or maybe buying a couple books. There are seminars and workshops, some geared to in the industry and some not, some are free or cheap and some are not, but all can be valuable. Seek them out! And seek out a mentor that can help you out.

There are lots of ways to be a cook! I've had a host of Sous and Exec jobs but now I'm in an unusual role as the chef of a nonprofit. I create the menus and do the bulk of the cooking while supervising mostly volunteers. It's a very different pace than I'm used to but very rewarding. No single job in the past prepared me for this one but really every job combined to give me the skills, and hard work created the list of references that ultimately landed me the position.

Passion is a bad concept to base your employment on (as Keller is fond of pointing out). I'm not passionate every day, no sane person is. I'm committed though, and I still love cooking and creating. To me food is about love; love for people, expressed in the way I best know how. We all have love within us, and the fortunate few of us are able to find a way to express that through our work.

Think about what you love and why, and it will point you in the right direction.
 
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Joined Aug 13, 2019
I turned 53 in January. Spent six months of the last year working 7 days a week. Not ideal, but, it happened. During the summer I passed three kidney stones, passed one cooking Sunday breakfast. Last week I had a massive heart attack, was hit with the paddles two times, got a stent. No Bueno. I ran hard back in the day. I raised three kids, in not the most ideal way, I've always worked. I think you have to find balance, I think you have to be compensated fairly, I think you have to stop and smell the roses. My advice....live clean, listen to your body. I lucked out.
 

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