My first job in the industry was actually my own lunch delivery service called The Lunch Basket, later changed to The Lunch Bunch. I did that for 5 years before deciding to go to culinary school.
I would encourage the young cook to volunteer and work in as many different kitchens as possible. Get to know what atmosphere works best for you. Often chefs want to work at prestigious kitchens, but it's not a good personality fit. If you haven't gone to school, consider volunteering at cooking schools in order to get exposure to different instructors.
AND MOST OF ALL...learn your pallette.