I know that this topic has been posted many times, but I am hoping to hear from people who have been where I am at now. I am 38. I worked in kitchens in my teens until I was 21 and got married. The plan was to just get a job in corporate America and then go to culinary school once we got our feet under us. I was even accepted into one but who is not if they are willing to put up the cash for it?
Life then happened as it has a way to do. My wife got pregnant and I got into the mindset of I have to have insurance now and make the most money I can to support my family. 17 years later with a son who is going to be a junior in HS and a daughter going into 8th grade I find myself at a crossroads. I was laid off from my job of 17 years a few months ago, where I had worked my way up from the bottom to become a manager, making a little over 60k a year with 5 weeks of paid vacation. Not to mention the weekends and holidays. Don't get me wrong, I worked plenty of 10 to 12 hour days and weekends as well.
I know that if I go to Culinary school at our community college for the next two years full time during the day I will have to take a job working nights and weekends and the pay will not even come close to what I have been making for awhile. I have my kids half of the week, so I know I will lose time with them, but they are older now and would have a better understanding of my not being around quite as much.
So my question, I guess, is if any of you have been in the same place to give me your thoughts. For the last 17 years I have done the safe thing even though the whole time I would have loved to have been working in a restaurant. Even though I know the pay sucks to start out. There is something about that mad rush that just makes you love it. Come in and prep your station, run around like a chicken with its head cut off during the rush (even though you are under control while doing it) and then clean up and prep some more for the next shift.
If any of you have been in this position please share your experiences with me. I would love to hear it. Remember that I do not have someone else to fall back on to help support me and my kiddos.