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Cheflife15

Change of careers

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Any one here drastically change careers. Im 33, been cooking for 13 years and im currently the chef de cuisine of a top 25 nj restaurant. Honestly, im kind of over it. I make 60k a year and work 60 plus hours weekly on average. This doesnt include weeks with holidays etc. 

Im engaged to a beautiful woman who has an excellent job and were planning to buy a house and have a kid. 

I was offered a shift manager job by a buddy of mine at a factory. The hours are better and the pay is also. Seems like a no brainer. 

My passion for cooking has dwindled for sure. Probably due to the virus that nearly wiped out our industry as we know it , and a new generation of the softest, most entitled, and honestly trash cooks I've ever seen. 

The only thing keeping me from changing jobs is what happens in 10/20 years if I dont want to work there anymore or it closes/gets sold. I dont have a degree to fall back on (culinary school hardly counts as a degree). 

Maybe i can finish my degree with the extra 10 to 20 hours per week im not in a 104 degree kitchen. 

Ultimately im curious about those that have changed their career, how it worked out, advice. Part of me still thinks maybe i should just find an easier chef job, something corporate or a hotel. 

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I worked in outplacement, and work as a resume writer now (as one of my income pipelines). Not only have I changed my own career along the way, but I've talked to MANY others who have. I strongly encourage it!  I've seen studies showing that career changers are some of the happiest people around... and my personal observations tell me so, too.

Besides, how much more reason do you need than what you already wrote? You're burnt out (common for chefs by the way). You have an offer for more money, better hours. You acknowledge it's a "no brainer". You even have an idea that you could finish your degree with the extra time you gain. I would argue that you're not really worried about anything... but the fear of change itself. 

Are the skills you have transferrable to the new job? I would imagine your current role involves managing/motivating staff, meeting (food) production schedules, etc. Wouldn't much of that transfer? So, if you think you can do the job (as your buddy certainly does)... I say: embrace change!  And don't assume you'll be there in 10-20 years anyway! That's old school thinking... it's not the way the job market works anymore. You should be constantly thinking: Am I still happy here? What skills have I developed? Which skills do I still need to develop? Am I keeping my personal/professional network up? etc. Managing your own career should be a natural and ongoing process for everyone, at all times.

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17 minutes ago, Cheflife15 said:

My passion for cooking has dwindled for sure. Probably due to the virus that nearly wiped out our industry as we know it , and a new generation of the softest, most entitled, and honestly trash cooks I've ever seen. 

 

The grass always looks greener - and you are making a very brash decision based on once in a lifetime, most likely occurrence...

I would say stay in your field and seek greener pastures and/or as we come out of this open your own place........

 

 

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33 minutes ago, CAL. .30 M1 said:

The grass always looks greener - and you are making a very brash decision based on once in a lifetime, most likely occurrence...

I would say stay in your field and seek greener pastures and/or as we come out of this open your own place........

 

 

I also forgot to mention in my initial post, this industry leaves zero time for family, holidays, rtc. 60 hours is the norm with little chance of that improving in my lifetime. The simple work/ reward is gone. 

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Where will you be if you stay in the field 20 or 30 years from now? Will it be worth the sacrifice?

 

Thst should answer whether or not its worth staying.

I'm getting a master degree in accounting right now, free time online through a well known accredited university. 

I dont even know what I'm gonna do with it, but options are good to have. I've got ideas for my future, and degrees open doors. Not all degrees, but certain ones.

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Do it . . . Do it NOW . . . 

I've had successful 40 year career in IT and I have spent the last 30 regretting it.  Today, at 60, I wish that I had changed careers YEARS ago.  My problem was and remains, that I'm very good a what I do and I have been very well compensated for it.  I would have been much happier had I gone back to school in my 30's and studied psychology.  

The other option, but the time commitment is still there would be to consider opening your own place.

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Do it now while you can - the older you get the harder it is to get anyone to give you a new job, let alone one in a new career path.

Additionally, don't worry about a degree. They are a way to distinguish somebody from the rest of the fresh-out-of-school crowd that look for junior positions. If you reach your mid 30's and rely on a non-specialized degree (I mean not a MD, or similar) to get a job, you really haven't done anything with your 10+ year career so far and I wouldn't be hiring you. Experience and actual, provable ability (show what you've done, not what you should be able to do) greatly outweigh what a bit of paper from a school says.

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47 minutes ago, Krdshrk said:

Work/life balance is key.  Sounds like you have absolutely none right now... Time to make a change.

Yeah work/balance doesnt exist in this industry. Theres a reason most chefs are divorced. 

I have no urge to open my own spot, as that will certainly never make the work/life balance any easier.  Not to mention any concept I would be passionate about would involve a liquor license, which are about 1 million plus in nj . 

Im going to meet with my buddys boss next tuesday and at least hear about the opportunity. I think it would allow me flexibility to work on some other skills, while being paid more. 

Ive thought about meal prep services, marketing myself as a private chef, and consulting. Wouldnt be a bad thing to have a steady income higher than what im making now while working on those ventures. 

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1 hour ago, Mr.Stu said:

Do it now while you can - the older you get the harder it is to get anyone to give you a new job, let alone one in a new career path.

Additionally, don't worry about a degree. They are a way to distinguish somebody from the rest of the fresh-out-of-school crowd that look for junior positions. If you reach your mid 30's and rely on a non-specialized degree (I mean not a MD, or similar) to get a job, you really haven't done anything with your 10+ year career so far and I wouldn't be hiring you. Experience and actual, provable ability (show what you've done, not what you should be able to do) greatly outweigh what a bit of paper from a school says.

^ this 1000%.   Now is the time while you are relatively unencumbered.  Worst case take the other job to give you some more time to think about what you want to do.  

As for the degree, only pursue it if it's absolutely necessary for what you want to do.  College is one of he biggest scams going.

2 hours ago, Cheflife15 said:

I was offered a shift manager job by a buddy of mine at a factory. The hours are better and the pay is also. Seems like a no brainer. 

Yep, no brainer especially if you are burnt out on cooking

2 hours ago, Cheflife15 said:

I dont have a degree to fall back on (culinary school hardly counts as a degree). 

I have a specific example of a guy I hired a few years back.  He had gone to culinary school and then spent time in the army,  He was looking for a change and I hired him to be a support rep for my software dev company.  Over time he has grown, changed employers a couple of times, and is now a product manager. He's doing well for himself and he has no "degree", just smarts and determination.

2 hours ago, Cheflife15 said:

The only thing keeping me from changing jobs is what happens in 10/20 years if I dont want to work there anymore or it closes/gets sold.

How is that different than what you are doing now?  This will be an issue anywhere you work.

oh yeah, and get out of NJ if you can!

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2 hours ago, Cheflife15 said:

I also forgot to mention in my initial post, this industry leaves zero time for family, holidays, rtc. 60 hours is the norm with little chance of that improving in my lifetime. The simple work/ reward is gone. 

The only chefs I know are ex-chefs. So....

Once you aren't new to the workforce, transferable experience and a good explanation of how you got from there to here matter more. 

Right now is the perfect time to leave the restaurant biz. It's a hurting industry right now. If you want to go back, you have the perfect story to go back. COVID kicked the crap out of the business and I needed money. After x years of the soulless yadda yadda, I found that may passion for making food yadda yadda. 

 

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Take the factory job - getting 20 hours a week back will do wonders for your outlook and general enjoyment of life.

Once you get some time away from your "cooking as slavery" routine, re-approach it with a different perspective.  Would you still enjoy being a chef but in a different context?

I know squat about cooking as a profession, but if I were in your shoes I'd take the factory job in a heartbeat and then after a few months or a year take a look at starting a specialty meal prep service out of a commercial kitchen space, not a restaurant. 

Maybe a prepared meal business for local pickup/delivery that does custom diet plans?  Keto/Paleo/Gluten-Free meals?  Maybe get your start by prepping occasional sampler meals for co-workers at the factory and working word of mouth from there?

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Do it, I had to change careers at 53. Not fun. economic downturn in 2006, went back to previous union job till retirement. RUN now!

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Make the change. I've done shift work.  Was on nights(2-10) for 4 years straight. Missed a lot of time with my kids.  Was tough only having dinner twice a week with wife and kids.  Tough on my wife being the only parent in the house with 2 small children.  Make the change. May be stressful now but better for you long term.  You can only control so much. 

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Factory work is actually satisfying. I have been in & out of it for 39 years. You can go up as far as you want if you are honest and work hard. Take a little responsibility and do the jobs that no one else likes to. I have had the chance to work with some really great people over the years. Getting out at 3 on Friday and off until Monday is wonderful. You will also have more time to shoot!

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10 hours ago, Cheflife15 said:

Any one here drastically change careers. Im 33, been cooking for 13 years and im currently the chef de cuisine of a top 25 nj restaurant. Honestly, im kind of over it. I make 60k a year and work 60 plus hours weekly on average. This doesnt include weeks with holidays etc. 

Im engaged to a beautiful woman who has an excellent job and were planning to buy a house and have a kid. 

I was offered a shift manager job by a buddy of mine at a factory. The hours are better and the pay is also. Seems like a no brainer. 

My passion for cooking has dwindled for sure. Probably due to the virus that nearly wiped out our industry as we know it , and a new generation of the softest, most entitled, and honestly trash cooks I've ever seen. 

The only thing keeping me from changing jobs is what happens in 10/20 years if I dont want to work there anymore or it closes/gets sold. I dont have a degree to fall back on (culinary school hardly counts as a degree). 

Maybe i can finish my degree with the extra 10 to 20 hours per week im not in a 104 degree kitchen. 

Ultimately im curious about those that have changed their career, how it worked out, advice. Part of me still thinks maybe i should just find an easier chef job, something corporate or a hotel. 

You should probably invite 15-20 of us to the restaurant you work at so we can sample your culinary expertise before we make hurried suggestions ;-)
 

New wife, new baby, new home, think you have your answer right in front of you. 

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13 hours ago, Cheflife15 said:

. I make 60k a year and work 60 plus hours weekly on average. This doesn't include weeks with holidays etc. 

 

60K a year divided by 60+ hrs a week is around $20hr.

I made that 20 years ago and was younger than you at the time. (Thats the equivalent of $31hr. in todays inflation ravaged dollars BTW). Walmart employees start at $15.

You don't have much to lose. Use the Chef skills as your fall back position.

Having a buddy with inside info on a available position is a nice advantage.  Chances are if you applied for that job online you wouldn't even get a reply much less an interview. 

 

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Appreciate all the insight. Im meeting with them Tuesday to have a discussion and kind of see the opportunity and meet the team. If i decide to move on from my restaurant ill be giving then a very long notice to replace me. 

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Definitely make the move now.  You are working 60 hours minimum a week.  More during holidays.  60 hours a week × 52 weeks a year is 3120 hours.  $60k / 3120 is $19.23 an hour.  Each hour more you work you earn less per hour.

If you can make the same money or more and work less hours you've given yourself a pay raise and freed up time for yourself.  Free time is HUGE and invaluable.  You can never make it up.

And once you have kids, you are going to want to be around more. Even if you don't have kids, you are giving yourself back almost an entire day each week.  AT A MINIMUM.  Holidays you are prob working 70 hours a week?    That's time you can spend with your wife.  Spend working on a side gig.  Spend however you see fit to use. 

If the new opportunity is something that interest you and has room for advancement you should REALLY consider making the change.  And maybe the new job has other benefits like health nsurance, 401k, vacations. holidays off, etc.

Good luck.

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10 hours ago, Cheflife15 said:

Appreciate all the insight. Im meeting with them Tuesday to have a discussion and kind of see the opportunity and meet the team. If i decide to move on from my restaurant ill be giving then a very long notice to replace me. 

If you've been as dedicated to your current job as you describe, I bet they'll make you an offer to stay as soon as you give notice. 

You may want to prepare yourself for that.  Is there an amount that would make staying worth it for you?  Come up with that number in your head (let's call it X$), and then if they offer you to stay, ask for 1.25  X.  If they counter below X, go to X.  If they balk at X, walk away.

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11 hours ago, Cheflife15 said:

Appreciate all the insight. Im meeting with them Tuesday to have a discussion and kind of see the opportunity and meet the team. If i decide to move on from my restaurant ill be giving then a very long notice to replace me. 

Don't prolong starting a new job to give "long notice". I understand giving notice, but you want to be responsible to your new employer and be able to start when they need you. They're signing your paychecks. There are plenty of restaurants that have gone under in the last year. I'm not knocking your ability or worth. Your soon-to-be former employeer should have an ample hiring pool to choose from. 

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1 hour ago, ChrisJM981 said:

Don't prolong starting a new job to give "long notice". I understand giving notice, but you want to be responsible to your new employer and be able to start when they need you. They're signing your paychecks. There are plenty of restaurants that have gone under in the last year. I'm not knocking your ability or worth. Your soon-to-be former employeer should have an ample hiring pool to choose from. 

actually its extremely difficult to hire someone at my level at the moment. Even 90 acres (my former spot and also a top 30 restaurant) struggled for 4 months looking. I think they just found someone. The thing is unemployment is payong close to 60k a year to stay home and not work. 

You are right though on not making my new employer wait though. After meeting them next tuesday (im working 6 days this week plus a double) ill have a better idea . 

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2 hours ago, Cheflife15 said:

actually its extremely difficult to hire someone at my level at the moment

This is not your problem! :)

It's just business, don't make it personal.  Believe me, if they had to let you go I'm sure they would probably do what's in their best interest - most companies do.  2 weeks notice is more than fair.

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3 hours ago, Cheflife15 said:

actually its extremely difficult to hire someone at my level at the moment. Even 90 acres (my former spot and also a top 30 restaurant) struggled for 4 months looking. I think they just found someone.

You don't owe your present employer much at those wages, they are working you to a frazzle for peanuts.

Don't burn any bridges behind you, but don't go overboard on giving notice either. 

BTW- I doubt they will counter offer, if they did it probably wouldn't be enough and you'd still be working grueling hours.  

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2 hours ago, YankeeSC said:

This is not your problem! :)

It's just business, don't make it personal.  Believe me, if they had to let you go I'm sure they would probably do what's in their best interest - most companies do.  2 weeks notice is more than fair.

This. Your employer wouldn’t hesitate to walk you out the door if they wanted to. 
 

Usual and customary to give 2 weeks notice, unless otherwise noted in your employment contract.

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Change is good. It removes any regrets about not doing something. I think the reason some people don't make changes is fear of the unknown. This is not how I live my life. I left NJ when I realized it was getting more shitty every day and would never get better. It was the best thing I have done in a long time. I packed up the whole family and relocated to a much nicer area than I could ever find in NJ. I say the fact that you are considering a change is enough reason to make the change.

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