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employment issues

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
The unemployment rate here in WA. state is pretty high. Since we've moved up here 8 months ago my job situation has been less then stable. I have worked for 3 different companies and now I'm on to the fourth. First one went out of business due to owner's negligence, second one ended up being too filthy and misleading job description, and third one was absolutely perfect except it was a temp. position since the pastry chef was out on disability for 3 months. The owners ended up liking my work more(plus there were other issues) and wanted to keep me but the legal hassle for them was not worth it. Needless to say I made lifelong friends but once again I am unemployed.

Professionally, I don't make a habit out of jumping from one job to the next. My last gig in CA. I was their pastry chef for 6 years. I'm thinking about working for a company(bit on the upscale side)----where I'll be taking a pay cut but the benefits package and commute(5 miles) are major pros. It still isn't my ideal job situation(style of cakes is on the gaudy side, but maybe I can chage that) but at least it will help get the mortgage paid.

Now my question to you pastry chefs: Do you wait for the "right" job if you can afford it or do you just take any job while your still searching(and the search for the past couple of months has been very bare).
post #2 of 8
It all depends on what you can or can't afford to do. If it's a question of giving up unemployment benefits to take a less than adequate job, with not great pay, it may be worth waiting. If you've been out of work for more than 6 months, you might have a hole in your resume, in which case, it's probably better to take any work you can get.
post #3 of 8
I can understand your dilema. Fortunately, I have been lucky enough to have a good job at the same place for the last four years. I can only say, for myself, if I had to take a job to fill in, I would definitely try to find something that was at least acceptable. Going to work everyday and hating your job is not fun.

Besides, in my experience, when you stop waiting and finally take action, that's when the things you're hoping for seem to happen. ( Not just jobs, but everything)
For myself, I don't think I could stand not working. I would have to find something to do.

Hope I haven't rambled too much. And I hope the job hunt takes a turn for the better. Please let us know if something happens.

post #4 of 8
As always, I have way too much to say on this topic. I've lived my life out here on this site as I've jumped from one thing to the next, looking for job happiness. But I'm going to try and make my point and not jabber on too much.......

Right now I'm really thinking I've found my pastry "career". I've been marketing myself as a freelance pastry chef with a brocure I put together. I did this because the full time job market here for pastry chefs is non-existent and getting smaller everyday. No one wants to pay for a full time pastry chef or they aready have someone and I'd have to wait until they leave. BUT everyone wants and can afford a part time pastry chef.

So far it's been a really good thing for me. I've met so many really great chefs- I'm excited again to be working for chefs that really want me (my work). I'm enjoying the networking aspects, the challenge of setting up new pastry departments and the huge challenge of meeting such varied needs. I'm not being seen as competition from the hot side and instead I'm the "go to" person for help.

The plus-side column is huge for me. The negative side is the finacial benifits, I have none, but I also am making double what everyone one else was offering as a full-timer. I now incorporate the last several years of jumping from one job to another as being freelance on my resume, cause when I think about it -that's the best description. No one has even remotely questioned me about it.

Waiting for the "right" anything has never worked for me, I'm not lucky at all!! It's only when I've taken the risk of failure and tried for things that I've grown and met new people and learned more about this career.

As far as taking this job or waiting, I say take it. Who knows what tommarrow holds? For all you know this could turn into your dream job or maybe you'll make a connection there that leads to something better. Don't lock yourself into what looks good on a piece of paper think beyond that.
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the sound advice.
My ultimate goal is to sell my own baked goods(wholesale and retail)---but in the meantime I do need a job while I gather research data and knowledge. The job market up here in Seattle for pastry people is not very good(tons of ads for kitchen chefs and cooks). I just don't see myself working in the Safeway bakery----not that their is anything wrong with that(they probably pay decent), but realistically that's just not my style of pastry work.

Wendy, I may have to pick your brain on what your doing. Do you specialize in just country clubs or do you do restaurants too?
post #6 of 8
Dana you can aim for what ever type of work you want being freelance.

Right now I happen to like country club work. That's where my attention is, but I'd like to get more involved with caterers in the future. Sweet tables are my favorite work and my ultimate goal, I'd be happy doing them everyday of the week because they incorporate all aspects of pastry, confectionary and art.

Also if your eventually going to open your own place consider your time now as building your clientele as well as your product testing. For instance I worked for a lady whom before opening her bakery used to sell baked goods every week at the farmers market and other local places. From the day she opened her doors she had clients in her area and neighboring suburbs. I can't say she makes a good product or a profit, but if she did both- she'd make it with all the customers she's had from day one.

The person I attempted a partnership did just the opposite. No one knew of her work (even though she does good work it's a battle to get people in the door). She didn't know the area and history where she set up shop, HUGE mistake. I think a business starts well before you open your doors. Also working dirrectly in your area ahead of time you'll learn alot! It's important to know what your client wants and what their like. Thinking you'll introduce them to something new and will change them is stupid (and I've seen people think they could). Learn about your competitions weakness to this way. Even if you worked at a couple restaurants in the area you want to open in, build your wholesale clients now before you have overhead.

I find countryclubs a good place to network for clients and would highly reccomend that route for you if your serious about owning. It's the "right" clients for a bakery (which is higher end then a grocery store), they network and party alot. You also have exposure to all the clubs in the area (womens, gardening, business, reality, small business associations, etc...) that have events at country clubs, so you can build a huge following quickly. Where as working for a caterer or bakery, they may or maynot share with their clients WHO baked their products and let you build a following (if you know what I mean).
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
post #7 of 8
I am a recruiter in the restaurant industry...you can send your resume to karen@restconnect.com
post #8 of 8

Are you a Graduate of a culinary Institute?

Hi Angrychef,

I was wondering if you went to a Culinary institute.
I know they have wonderfull networking system through Western Culinary Institute (my school) and it is available to graduates as well as current students, it has a very large range of States and Countries.
Also there is always the monster.com option as well as a lot of prof. chef internet sights that help with job networking or postings.
A lot of Great jobs only advertize through thier inner circles or the internet because they are afraid of all the unqualified "walk-ins"
I will look for the web address and forward it when I do.

Best of luck! :smiles:
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