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Am I too old for this business?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I spent a couple of years working as a line cook in college; started out as a dishwasher and sort of worked my way up. I also did a little baking and desserts.

I live in New York City and have been working in construction management & IT for the past 7 years; before that I sold food & dairy wholesale to restaurants with two different NYC purveyors.

I am bored to death and worried about the future of the economy, as we all are.

Now might be a good time to re-train and I wonder if I am just too old to be a pastry cook/pastry chef. I am very healthy and extremely fit, but I am still walking around in a 42 year old carcass . . .

In a nut shell, do you realistically think I should pursue a physically demanding career change that is mostly dominated by young people in their 20s & 30s? Am I kidding myself?

I don't really need to make a lot of money, but I do need to feel good about what I do and also get some time off from time-to-time to travel.

Any advise or criticism that you want to throw my way would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading.
post #2 of 9
later better than never...
post #3 of 9
When I was in my 20's and early 30's, I didn't have enough experience to dominate anything, only arrogance. I am now 55 and can work circles around; and as long or longer than; most 20-30 year olds. The only boundaries I know are those that I impose upon myself. I am chef, hear me roar.:lol:

Success follows desire. You are 42, odds are that if you are like most folks, you have at least 20- 25 years to still work. Sounds like plenty of time to me to carve out a career. As to whether you are kidding yourself or not, only you can answer that.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
I appreciate your forthrightness.

Yes, That is exactly what I am thinking in that I will have to work until I am 70 at least (we all will), provided that I live that long. I will only live in New York City as I am firmly rooted here; bakery/pastry jobs should always be around in one form or another. After all, you can't out source that souffle to India.

I appreciate taking the time to reply!
post #5 of 9
Sounds like a plan, gosh 42 sounds young!
I am 66, have to admit I have slowed down a bit, and some breaks that used to be "catch as at catch can" are now pretty much non-negotionable. But since I am in a work schedule with many variables as to timing, somedays I have to tough it out!!
Plan to sail and cook at least another three years and am working on a plan for what will be my third retirement, something without 14, often, 16 hour days.
Good Luck to You,
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your input Nan, and enjoy those waves and fresh air.
post #7 of 9
I don't see a problem as long as you have the physical capability and stamina to do the job.

I was an elementary teacher for 17 years. After spending 8 consecutive years teaching at exclusive overseas schools, I found that I couldn't make the adjustment back to public education. I went to culinary school, got a job as a line cook, and eventually became a working chef at the age of 43. I am now 48 and I'm back in the school system ... but am now working as a high school culinary arts instructor.

I was the 2nd oldest student in my culinary class ... the oldest being 54. I sometimes wonder what happened to this student because he had physical problems. He couldn't bend and lift. He couldn't stay on his feet for longer than a couple of hours at a time. The chef instructors told him that as much as they liked him as an individual, they had serious concerns about the practicality of having him work in a kitchen.

Although it is illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of one's age, employers may legally exclude applicants who are physically incapable of doing the job. Anyone who has problems bending and lifting or staying on his or her feet for an 8-10 hour shift, shouldn't be in a commercial kitchen.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your thoughts. I am extremely fit. In all likelihood, I am healthier than most 25 year olds. Your story sounds very interesting. I actually was thinking that some day when I get older that the teaching route would be a good direction to take a culinary career. I love to teach. I actually was an English teacher for two years in Japan. One of the reasons I want to go to a well know culinary school would be to have a big name on my resume just for that purpose.

Thanks again for your reply.
post #9 of 9
D.C. great post, I went to work for the State(get the insurance and retirement) here on the Alaska Marine Highway (ferry system). Retired as soon as vested The physical was a joke, people out there, overweight, weak, and many young. On the physical form, it asks, can you lift 70#, carry 50# and lift to waist high.
Then the safety thing , dragging a person out of a fire, manning a charged fire hose.
Doc would ask--can you do this and sign you off. Wrong!
Fortunatley, that has changed, in 2006 after breaking a leg, and during the healing my docoments expired, and when I went to get new ones, holy cow had the full physical, and respected it. Oh and aced it!
I was on a container ship in Guam, picture---house aft, windows around, went aboard and as usual tossed my bag in room and went to work. Was in the galley sorting and taking notes. This silver haired, fit, gentleman kept pacing around the back deck looking in the windows, back inside past the door to galley, looking in again.
After several rounds, stopped, looked in, introduced himself as Captain,and said "Well you never know what you get for 62 these days". We turned out to be same age.
Problem with all the PC sh** we don't have to prove ourselves and end up working with people who can't carry their weight.
I'm not angry, just wondering how to fix it????
Hey I have several friend in thier 80' working ,not physical job, but important jobs,
Again good luck,
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