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Laid Off, Older, Divorced with Kids looking for a career change!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

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.

post #2 of 7

Well you're not the only one.  I am in a similar situation being 31 years old and a single parent to 2 children (12 & 9 years old).  Worked in a clinic/hospital for the past 12 years making pretty good pay but had to leave and decided to start culinary school at the end of April (always wanted to but never got the chance).  Not going to lie it has been extremely difficult trying to juggle studying and school with having children but it is worth it.  I worked long and hard hours at my previous job (even up to 16 hours a day) so I guess my children are more accustomed to by absence than most.  They actually think it's cool that I am back in school and they like helping me with some of my homework.

 

Granted I know the starting pay is going to be crap - about 1/2 of what I used to make - but at least I will be happy doing it.  

 

As for other support I honestly don't have a whole lot.  My parents and one of my siblings are not supportive.  I getting little to no help at all from friends and my children's father has only taken them one weekend since school started.  Even after all of that I do have to say that I really love school and am so happy I made the decision to finally do it.  

 

The other unfortunate thing I have been finding is lack of time, rather, not being able to spend as much time as I want to practicing knife cuts, etc at home.  I have midterm exams all this week and didn't get much time at all to prepare for them.  Your children are older than mine, however, so you shouldn't have too much the same problem as I do.    

 

As for the age I wouldn't worry about it too much.  I thought I would be the oldest person in my class but there are a few others in their mid 40's and even a grandmother in my class.  I say if it's something you are really passionate about then go for it.  I did and no regrets here.

~MissyD

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~MissyD

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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply Missy. I guess the biggest thing is having to go to school full time throughout the week and then having to work nights and weekends to pay the bills. There would not be much time to see the kids.

post #4 of 7

I understand.  it takes me 3 hours daily to commute to & from school.  by the time i get home from school its pretty much time for one of my kids to go to bed - don't get to spend much time with them at all.  thankfully even though they are young they understand.

~MissyD

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~MissyD

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post #5 of 7

MissyD,

 

That's not three hours of commute time, that's three hours of uninterrupted homework time!lol.gif
 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteMcCracken View Post

MissyD,

 

That's not three hours of commute time, that's three hours of uninterrupted homework time!lol.gif
 

 

haha yeah it would be if i could get a seat on the bus to crack my books open  tongue.gif

~MissyD

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~MissyD

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post #7 of 7

As a career changer with a kid myself, I definitely think that you should go for it! Culinary school eventually ends and your work and time flexibility will eventually change. Days working the line are grueling, hot, repetitive, thankless, and the paychecks are smaller than what I had before but the time spent is worth while. Money can be made, money can be earned but time just keeps ticking. Good luck!

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