I can Echo the statements of Line Cooking school and pantry work or even the dreaded fast food place that does nice volume and hopefully has at least a few in house made items. Volume line cooking is the only way to get the tools you will need to properly run a kitchen some day, and anyone who skips this step pays for it later on. Starting at the bottom in the dish room will teach you to work fast enough and the mental discipline/humility that you will need as you advance in the culinary profession. The old school way means starting in the dish pit and working your way up. All too often I see people advancing without doing their time and mastering each step along the way. Ideally getting this early volume experience somewhere while in high school or shortly after before going to culinary school is something aspiring chefs should be told (although the culnary school commercials on TV wont echo this message).
A busy Subway can teach the required skill set for learning pantry or fry station.
As a sous chef, executive chef, or really any supervisory or management position in the culinary industry any decent crew will out you if you don't have the experience or skill set that has been developed over time and practicing each stations set of skills for years until you get competent. There are some people out there who are naturals and it doesn't take them as long. That does not mean with hard work others can't catch up or even surpass those peoples careers. Alot of things impact the careers of chefs and cooks. If you have ever worked with a 40 plus year old broiler cook who masters his station and gets paid proportionally you realize the romantic ideas people have about kitchens are way way off. We pay our broiler cook who is in his mid 30's 18/HR. We also surpass 20 million in sales per year and have fish coming off that station that cost 20$/lb, and the broiler station accounts for approximately 38% of the food coming out of the kitchen based on item sales. When you are doing 600-800 covers per night and that cook has nothing coming back maximum maybe two items per week are returned and those were cooked correctly 9/10 times and the server or guest just misordered. Cooks like that get paid well for a good reason. They earn it. The point I am making is it is way too soon to judge your career.
I am a 35 year old sous chef who makes a good salary considering my benefits. I attended a reputable culinary schol in my mid twenties and graduated with a A- average(which would have been better if not for a commute and full time broiler cook job). I have over 20 years of professional kitchen experience- and when I go through training at new stations; whether it be for job change, or new restaurant opening, It takes a few shifts to get mediocre at each station. I work hard at it and study outside of work. I do mental practice. It takes effort. This is just to get decent. I will most likely never master any station other than middle/expo/inside expo/wheel or whatever you want to call running the line at my current restaurant. Saute and broiler are the toughest stations in most restaurants. They require skill and experience. They should be built up to over the course of years. Respect these stations and the line as a whole. But do not fear them. Fear will only make you want to give up if you don't face it.
Find a kitchen that is busy and high volume wherever that may be(better to work in a super busy Mcdonalds than a dying steakhouse downtown doing fifty covers a night). Start at the bottom. Work hard and maintain a positive attitude while you do the shittiest most benign and dirty jobs the kitchen has to offer. Smile while you do them. You will be fine. Also realize the team you work with is your one and only real resource to getting better. Listen carefully to your trainers and take notes your first few days. Watch what the good people do and compare that to the ones who get behind the fastest. What are they doing differently? What are you doing well and what are you missing? Your first few jobs have been a nice taste of what you can look forward to once you earn it. For now focus on earning respect by working your way up from the bottom.