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Chef.... why? its not worth it! - Page 3

post #61 of 161
Teachers and social workers deserve more too.

Athletes and actors deserve way less.(IMHO)
post #62 of 161
I love sports but atheletes deserve ALOT LESS! They should make good money but goodness they're salaries are ridiculous.
post #63 of 161
It's good to read someone finally understanding my points/issues. I know in Chicagoland it's been unions that have held strong, that force decent wages and hours. At the same time I understand how bad unions can be for both the members and the employeers. Yet I tend to think that's what makes the Chicago area more balanced econonicly over the ups and downs of the markets over the years. I don't want unions! Yet I wish we magicly held together as a group and stood up to all the owners making huge profits from our work and said "we count, we have skills, we have schooling, we have talent, we are worth a decent rate! We deserve to have a life outside of work to be a balanced person too!". Why can't they have more staff, why must we work 60 plus hours a week?

Yes, I understand the plight of the small restaurant owners. But if the cost of dinning went up at big profitable places then they could also to cover the cost of paying people reasonable wages.

The pay structure in our society seems so out of balance. I don't see why we differ from those atheletes. We have god given talent too, why isn't it worth much? We entertain people too. People need to eat more then they need to watch someone else play a sport.

I think we get what we ask for. And we've gotten it.

Meaning we haven't asked for anything. I wish I could say "we haven't asked for anything YET".
"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
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"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
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post #64 of 161
Cape chef I'm trying to touch, to help, to make things better. It's the words that others type and the behavior I see in my co-workers that give me the impresion I shouldn't touch...just leave things alone, they never change they don't even believe things can change...........this is our burden to bear, I should be happy I have a career I love and not want any more from it.....re-read the words posted by many.

if the kitchens too hot then get out...why not install air conditioning? office workers deserve it.
"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
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"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
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post #65 of 161
Toque's off, to Momoreg! Atheletes and actors IMHO are poor role models for today's kids. The role models should be teachers and chefs!

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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post #66 of 161
The answer that I kept getting when pushing for higher wages is that there is only so much people will pay for food. Well, I said why not add 50 cents on to each plate, if people will pay $14.25 for something surely they will pay $14.75 for something, and send that extra 50 cents perplate back to the kitchen. Simple enough, eh?

Well, you should have seen how fast that got skirted and then some execs basically said if you're not happy, leave. It's going to take a lot to turn this foodservice ship, a whole lot. And we're losing talent to other professions because of the nature of how things are.
post #67 of 161
I agree with chefjohnpaul and w.deboard I am looking at leaving cooking in 2 years it is simply outrageous the treatment we get. I can make way better money and benefits and have a life doing something else I love cooking dearly but it is never goung to change because it is pure and simple greed by owners. They think that all the star eyed kids coming out of culinary school are going to put up with the nonsense that we older guys have I think they are sadly mistaken. Things are very different in this day and age kids know they can go make out like a bandit doing other things they are very money driven how long do you think they will stay making 8 or ten dollars an hour 1 or 2 years? The National Restaurant Association has been warning people for a few years what is going to happen with shortage of labor nobody wanted to listen I think there will come a time in the near future when the house of cards is going to fall down.Another thing is everybody I have ever worked for has become very wealthy owning restaurants I think if you can afford to own 4 or 7 or 10 restaurants 4 cars a huge house and go on safari"s to africa every year you can afford to pay your employees a good salary I'm am really tired of hearing the poverty cry in this industry cause it is a bunch of BS plain and simple.
post #68 of 161
I'm an It consultant, but I love to cook. I am seriously amazed at the pay rates quoted here. Considering that a mediocre IT consultant can bill $60 - $75 an hour here in New York, I can't see how anyone could consider food service as a career.
Dave Bowers
"First, slice an onion..."
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Dave Bowers
"First, slice an onion..."
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post #69 of 161
For many of us,this is all we know!!!
It is not easy in any respect of the buisness.

One of the reasons so many of us get involved in the hospitality industry is because of our creativity and passion. I can see why people would say Hey I'll get a job in a factory and make more than a cook.Tell me,What kind of passion and feedback do you get in a factoty?Or selling retail,or nooking a burger at MC D? Not much! With the unemployment rate as low as it is i believe cooks and chefs have a Better chance to land a good job.I ask you,,Why are so many people so interested in our buisness,TV Chefs,culinary mags,cook books even this board.People come hear to learn and network and brainstorm. If it wasn't for us "Chefs"
What would you all do.I am not a sinic I am a optimist. The glass is half full for me not the other way around. I feel that confidence and high self esteem is needed in this biz.There is always a solution to a problem. Communication is the first and most important step in getting your managers/owners to listen.Write things down,practice a meeting in your head,always come across positve,put the ball in there court.If you honestlyFeel you are doing your best and you have the best interest of your work place and yourself in mind then you may be suprised. If you feel that it is a hopeless case,then get out.Just make sure not to burn any bridges.I jave such a sence of pride and love for what I do I could not imagine doing anything else.For me..The good far outways the bad.With that said this buisness is not for everybody,But what buisness is.
cc
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #70 of 161
Unfortunately, in America the thrust is toward the research for technical innovation and not artistic/culinary advancement. Money just isn't in the arts; and, Americans wonder why they're considered heathens by Europeans.

That sentiment was echoed by Oscar Wilde upon his visit to America near the turn of the century.

[ June 06, 2001: Message edited by: kokopuffs ]

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #71 of 161
Another thing to be considered is what the establishment is trying to accomplish and what level you are working at. If you are working at level 9 out of 10 and the establishment feels they can turn a profit and be satisfied at level 6 or 7, then they might pay somebody less who may not be working at as high a level. One day except in the finest of establishments or in chef/owner type of establishments they will have everything prepacked and have Reeses monkeys behind the line, it's scary. Thank you TGI FRIDAYS!
post #72 of 161
I would like to add one more thing in reply to cape chefs thought. I agree with the passion and artistry, ect... But if one is forced to work in the type of an establishment, for economic reasons, that stifles the creativity, or exploits the talent, then what satisfaction is there in this? I believe one becomes another starving frustrated artist, if you are fortunate enough to pay your dues and land a great gig then excellent, but it does not always work out that way legistically. Sometimes you have to move on to keep the passion from burning out completely.

I worked with a fine pastry chef, who was Gary Danko's pastry chef for some time, who got completely out before she started to hate it. I think everybody has a different make up and set of circumstances, and if you have to move on so as not to let the love of the art turn into a drudgery or becoming bitter, then move on. You cna still love it regardless if you do it for a living or not.
post #73 of 161
Welp, guess it's time to throw in my 2 cents....you can learn cost control and how to use inventory forms etc. at chain restaurants. You can play with food and have creative fun in other "daily menu changing restaurants".....There is a growing demand for chefs and small farmers (aka clean organic foods)...I've been asked to be on the govenor's ag advisory council because the farmer/chef connection I've fostered and nurtured is one of the only ways our small family farmers can make a living and stay in business. Technology sure, they've had years and loads of $$ to invest in tradeshows, conventions, lobbiests....what it comes down to it that there are folks willing to put $$ in purchasing foods that have flavor, texture, varieties other than the standards in the average grocery stores.
The wave is coming through I see it more and more.....
Back to the subject of money in the industry. If your creative and trust yourself
there is good money to be made in the food industry....actually cooking, I've posted before and will not bore you.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #74 of 161
Shroom, do you think market has anything to do with it? And would you have to get out of the large corporate hotel/restaurant loop to find it? And I think the earlier question was, would you have to give up 'your life' to make the good money? In this market the only chefs I know making good money basically live at work. Can a chef make good money working a normal schedule (40-50 hour week)? I have not seen it here out side of where I am now - Institutional kitchens.

The average line cook, at least in this town, who puts his/her heart into the job, is highly skilled, and as trust worthy as can be makes crumbs. The only way to make the decent money is to give up a set schedule with a normal hour week. I think that is the problem, cooks are not making their weight of wages in comparison to their skills and to make better money their just seems to be too much to sacrifice, why shouldn't a cook be able to support their family with out having to work two or three grueling jobs?
post #75 of 161
OK I'll bore you, $25-50 an hour with no overhead....and you can deduct costs from your income tax. working during day hours.
Self-employed, sure so there are no "corporate perks" but I have flexible schedule, creative control, work at my own speed....play in great kitchens with beautiful views and top notch equipment.
When I teach, I make more like $75+ an hour.
Catering could be several hundred an hour...
Soooooo....that is sufficient for my needs.
If I choose to slow down I do, if I want more business I can drum it up fairly quickly....
I've cooked for $ for 6 years. Now that does not tell you my experience with cooking or food. But it does tell you if you want to cook and make a living it is possible to do it and not work 50-60 hours a week.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #76 of 161
Why does everyone think that to make a good living by cooking, you have to work in a restaurant or hotel? There are a whole lot of careers out there that foster the creative cook and pay them well. I didn't start making any real money until I left the restaurant race. There is a great book, Careers for Gourmets and Others Who Love Food by Mary Donovan, which goes into detail about recipe developers, food marketing experts, food writers and editors, photographers, stylists, etc. etc.

The problem most chefs have in making the transition, from what I've seen, is that they are creative in their thinking about the food itself, but not creative in a marketing sense. It's hard for them to think about food outside the parameters of the restaurant. They need to think within the context of the consumer's needs and limitations---time, money, skill, experience, market availability, nutritional requirements, just to name a few.

I believe that the resturant industry is polarizing itself in the same way US socio-economics is. There is a concentration of high-end establishments with celebrity chefs, "food as art" and high ticket prices that cater to the richest 1% of the population. Then there is the bulk of TGI Fridays, McD, Sizzlers etc. that cater to the greater hoard. What's dying is the good quality, fresh food, chef-owner, slow-food type dining that is the middle class of food service. This nuts and bolts driver of the industry is being replaced by HMR (home meal replacement) business in grocery stores and Boston Market.

As long as the motivation of young chefs is to be the next Bobby Flay (don't you just want to make him to earn that last name?) this polarization will continue.

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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post #77 of 161
Unforunately many creative people are not business people. Although I've personally had other working experiences outside of the kitchen running a business I know that I can not personally run a business and be the creative force with-in the business at the same time....there's alot of hats to be worn and not enough time in the day to be skilled at many tasks. Entering self-employement isn't a good move for most people, few have the knowledge and skills necessary. If it was easy then the percent of businesses that fail before one year of business wouldn't be as staggeringly high as it is.


We all can't be private chefs either....some people need to be the "worker ants" so to speak. So a mass exitus isn't a good idea. Also the market is only so big in some areas of our field like food writers, stylists etc... .


The glass is half full Cape Chef but at the same time their's no denieing the glass is half empty too. I'd love to fix whatever could be fixed! Let's work on it here?

As a side note: I have talked to managers through out my career. I've yet to meet one that didn't look trapped and scared for their own jobs, people not strong enough to pretect them-selfs yet alone their staff. Many are sad, drug and or alchol dependent people.

NO, I'm not going to throw in the towel. Because we talk about what's wrong doesn't mean we should leave because we're unhappy. It's like counceling, you talk, share, learn etc...to become better people. What about becoming a better industry? Can't we apply any of the same principals?
"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
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"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
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post #78 of 161
Kudos to you shroom girl! Great to know that someone is making it pay off without killing themselves. I didn't want to seem like a whiner, I love my work and love to cook, but, just really got burned out and disappointed with the hotel industry. Like I mentioned before and it has been said over and over by a lot of you chefs, there are many avenues to explore in foodservice.

Boy this has turned into quite a topic!

Does anyone think Philly can pull off the series?
post #79 of 161
three things ruin a chef:
1- drinking
2- drugs
3 stress

first, one shouldnt get into this buinsess for the money. the attitude counts. you must always understand that YOU are effecting someones likfe when you put that dish in the window for the serves to take out. when you are spending those crucial hours on your mise en place, you effect how it will taste. you need not to put out food just to get it out, it needs to go out with love. i amagine me being the customer. that changes everything.

the stress level is the most important thing. it will lead to drinking and drugs. i think though, if you have a possative outlet for the stress, you can combat the want and need to drink or do drugs. for me, the stress is wonderful. it drives me to go faster and harder. it makes we want to research for new ideas. it drives me so much.

i think, next to being a surgion, this is one of the most demanding jobs. we never get holidays off, your kids dont understand, and your wife has no clue most of the time about the stress. you have to deal with co workers problems and yoru constantly looking over your shoulder to make sure your mise en place will be done by servise time. your fighting the clock all the time. it seems that your feet are moving faster then your brain, your sweating in a 150 degree heat, with all the burners, ovens, ect on. your chef is yelling out you while the wait staff is bickering.

its wonderful and i wouldnt give it up for anything in the world!
Chef Isaac... Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com
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Chef Isaac... Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com
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post #80 of 161
Isaac, how long have you been on the line?
It's the long term stress that can get to you if you don't have enough down time, recoup time. I was on the line for 17 years with not enough down time, you start to hate the rush after a while if you're juggling other things- after a while my feeling was-"give me a sixty cover night any time". It helps if your establishment is willing to provide you with enough help and not always cutting back and bare boning it. I had to exist with too many skeleton crew nights, everybody including the guest suffers.

When we had a full crew, and you were not trying to cover other peoples mis en place and you had somebody to help with the dish out then getting hit was a rush. When we got corporation orders to cut back on the labor it started to be a real drag.
post #81 of 161
Bah!

It can be such a drag sometimes. That's why I've decided to never get back into the business as management of any kind. There's nothing more satisfying than sitting in staff while you are told time and time again that your food cost is 0.1% over. :rolleyes: Don't blame me blame sales! They're the one who sold a darn luncheon for 600 at $3.95 per head! All this is going on and they expect you to watch labor AND make sure the New Year's Eve midnight buffet goes off well... so, reduce overtime please! :mad:

I'm sure many of you have had the same experience. Talk about pressure, Macaroni Grill has a running PNL! At any given time of the day or night you can pull up your PNL off MICROS and see where you are. If you're running a little high on one thing or another, you better be making "adjustments" to your staff. THAT'S pressure!

Kuan (very cynical right now)
post #82 of 161
ChefJohnpaul....

I do understand very well were you are coming from in regards to your reply to my post.Ecomomics plays the major roll in most of our decisions in regards to work.I have has some of the worst days in my life working in restaurants and hotels,and I have thought a number of times that I got to get the heck out of this mess.I also no that there is a tremendouse amount of talent out there that is stuck in the system and craves more freedom and creativity, I say to them to move on and try to follow your path you set for yourself,but with that said,to many people that is just not a option.Like I said before I am a optimist and believe in trying to work towards a better work envirement for chefs and cooks. hey, I will be the first to admit that this industry can be the most brutel,stressful,demanding and demening proffesion out there.I went into it for a couple reasons. 1 I grew up in my grandfathers bakery and 2 I was no honor student and I did all the things a teenager probably was not supposed to do,I had it laid on the table to me by my parents!!What the **** are you going to do with your life?
Well,25 years later I'm still here doing what "I" love to do
cc
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #83 of 161
I've written about my past in other posts so I won't go into it again, but it is relevant to this post. After getting my "stuff" together, I've decided, at long last, to re-enter the world as a full-time chef. My cooking has never been better, I'm emotionally stable , and most importantly, I am mentally prepared. For thirteen years, I've dulled my senses working in a factory and coasting through life. In that time, I've grown up, gotten married, had two beautiful daughters, have a nice home, etc., etc. The American dream right? Wrong!!! I love my family, but could never really "find my way" until I went back to cooking part-time. The first time a stepped up to that big Vulcan and slapped down a pan and lit the burner..... Oh man, I almost cried. I had almost forgotten how much I love it. Quite simply, it is who I am. I cook. For me. 1.5 yrs later, I am cooking like a mad-man 3-5 nights a week AFTER working at the factory all day and I love it more everyday. Recently, the owner of my place asked me to give him a list of my "demands" to be the full time chef. Although it scares me to death, I'm going to do it!! I'll keep you all posted. :eek:
Incredibly, edibly, adequate!
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Incredibly, edibly, adequate!
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post #84 of 161
Mofo, you've made my day! Glad to have you back. It's stories like yours and talking to my chef friends that are 100%, joyfully committed to what we do that keep me fired up. Ever hear the song "Millworker" by James Taylor? Listen to it after you leave the factory and you'll really know how lucky you (and we) are! :cool: :D :cool: :D
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #85 of 161
It's very fortunate that today's society allows one to explore different professions. Glad to see that you "found yourself". :) :) :)

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #86 of 161
Okay, we've all laid our frustrations down. Pay is low. Respect is low. Expectations and demands are high.

Now lets start solving the problem. Getting out certainly doesn't promote change, it only allows what has always been to continue.

What can we do? More specifically, what can the people who have been in the profession longer do? What can new cooks do? How can we prepare ourselves, to demand more money/respect/humanity?

Like several have said, there is too much love of this area for people to walk away. But I agree that doesn't mean we should all be martyrs. So let's work toward a solution.

~~Shimmer~~
"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea"
- Henry James
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"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea"
- Henry James
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post #87 of 161
The simple solution is to start one's own restaurant.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #88 of 161
I agree with Shimmer but it wont really change without a union hate to say it but the ownerships have had it their way for far too long.
post #89 of 161
Everyone can't own their own restaurant...don't you see that? We need to be a united group of people working toward bettering our lifes and our profession and when we have some stability that will make us better employees too for our owners.

Call it what you will, I'm for a union. Maybe living in a small town some of you don't see how it would effect your job. I live in Chicago where unions have GREATLY increased the quality of life for it's workers. Union workers here make as much as professionals in white collar careers. Granted there are abuses, silly petty rules, greedy union workers too....but maybe, maybe we could do it better then some, learning from their mistakes?

All I do know is we've all been individuals for too long, only carrying about myself today....not thinking about tommarrow. We aren't all brilliant, some of us are only average in neogociating our jobs instead we focus on the real work of the kitchen. But we never get anywhere alone fighting the "system" of the bottom line. Stength only comes in numbers.
"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
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"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
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post #90 of 161
I think everybody should be happy at their work and it should fit their lifestyle also, like a chef told me one time it's OK to complain, but then do something about it. It's sad if your stuck in a job and complaing for 20 years.

I made a move and am cooking in a private dining facility with hours, pay, and benefits that meet my needs and that of my family, my last hotel job did not provide me with what I needed, so it was a burden to bare instead of a joy. So I made a move and am happy and so is my family.

Shroom has a great thing going, so is happy.
Others needed to get back to the stress of the line because they thrived there. The point is a complaint should come with some feasible plan of action to eventually remedy the situation, so one is happy.

I would not be happy unless I had semi-daily access to my Wustof, so I found a kitchen job that fit my needs and allows me to hold some culinary classes, ect... on the side. I'm able to comfortably meet my other obligations, so I'm happy. Others feel the need to get out to be happy. It's not like they are traitors, I mean even if you are terrific at something but feel a real need for change for whatever the reason , one should modify their situation to maintain their sanity.
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