Thoughts on my Career thus far.

I have been on unemployment for almost three months.   It feels weird to even write that down; I haven’t been unemployed against my will since I was 17 years old (I’m 28), and I know that I could have found some kind of a job since the restaurant were I was working closed.  What held me back?  I guess I’ve been reluctant to step back into a job that doesn’t further my career.  I’ve been holding out for an opportunity to get back into the type of kitchen work that I want to do.  Even if that means being a cook rather than a chef, and working on the clock instead of being salaried; I can do those things if I feel like I’m learning from the experience and its going to contribute to my ultimate desire to be a food expert.

Note that I did not say chef.  I write this blog because I have a huge amount of college debt, mostly because I decided to go to culinary school (which tends to be outrageously expensive), but I’m not sure that I want to be a chef.  Right now I’m much more concerned with learning everything that I can about food and the preparation thereof. What that means for me in terms of jobs is working in professional kitchens, and as good a one as I can get into.

I’ve always been a big believer in paying dues to get to the place that you want to be and for me that means being in the trenches of grueling restaurant world.  I want to be an expert on food and there is simply no better school than being a line cook or a chef.

I’m getting a late start on this career game, or at least I feel like I am.  I’ve worked plenty of jobs, but few that I consider to really be part of my career.  Most of the jobs that I’ve had in my life were simply to provide some type of income while I went to school or simply to have some structure during my summer vacations.  Well, I’m an adult now.  School’s finally out and summer vacations are a distant memory.

I can no longer afford myself the luxury of simply finding a job for the sake of having one.  It’s time to think about my career for real; jobs that matter to me.  That’s why I’ve let myself remain unemployed for as long as I have.  And I realize of course that many have been unemployed for much longer than I have been, and my heart goes out to them, but to me, not having a job for three months feels like an eternity.  It feels wrong.

All of that being said I’m happy to say that I finally had a job interview for a cook position that I feel will be a worthwhile step in my career, and no matter where I ultimately find myself, I remember that I am in control of my destiny, and only I can change it.

But that brings me back to what I said before.  I’m not sure that I want to be a chef.  So how long do I stay immersed in this world before I attempt to step outside of it and find a different path, and what kind of risk will that be for me?  Frankly I’m not sure.  I haven’t found my exact right path yet.  I may never find that perfect place, and I have to be okay with that.  I know that my career success will ultimately be determined by my attitude and my willingness to work hard and smart.

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About cookinablackhat

I cook. That is what I do. I go to work every day and cook professionally and then on my days off, I cook some more. I love everything about it. I love the chemistry, the alchemy and magic, and I want to know more.
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One Response to Thoughts on my Career thus far.

  1. Craig Bowser says:

    Paul,
    From the days of culinary school, I felt that you had a deeper knowledge than I did about food than anyone else could possibly imagine. I knew that you were going to do great things (as stupid and childish as that may seem). I’ve always pinned you for the type of guy to go into food writing aspect of the field, but that’s just me. But you have to think about paying back the debts to those damn collectors.

    That being said, I wish you luck with your interview (knowing you, you probably got it, if not then I had better chew my own tounge out). I can really say that you do have a place in this career field and look forward to hearing, if not seeing ya later on in life.

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