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To cook or not.....?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm new to this forum and this is my first post. Thanks first off for allowing me the chance to ask advice and gather info from everyone.

Ill try to dive in and out of my problem as quickly as I can.

I recently changed careers and became a chef. It was something which I have great interest in and also a career which allowed for entry in my late 20's with no experience.

5 months down the line and it is tough. It's difficult to know if I'm kidding myself when I say I enjoy it overall or not. I love parts and strongly struggle and dislike parts of it.

My main problem and area I'd love to gather info on though is hours and annual leave.

The kitchen employs 9 chefs and one part time pastry chef but due to people leaving there is often 7 or 8 employed. My contract is 45 hours, I often do 60-70 and have done as much as 90 over 7 days never with overtime or TOIL. Is this standard?
I also request holidays as annual leave for 1 or 2 days via the form, have it passed and when the rota goes up it ends up being given to me as my weekly days off. Sometimes it can be amended but often not. Is this considered normal?

Speaking of the rota it is often completed on the Saturday if lucky but normally the Sunday before commencing on the Monday.
I'd love to know if this is normal too please.

If so then I can't keep committing to a life like it. It is too difficult and these factors have a huge impact on my relationship with my partner.

Another point is if I work a breakfast or early I should finish at 3 but I have to often stay late and in 5 months have never left on time and it is made socially awkward to attempt to.

I also feel pressure on rare occasions to pick up shifts or work extra shifts, again for no reward to cover illness or unexpected short staffing.

I am doing ok and I definitely am well thought of and praised and feel appreciated, having been promoted to cdp after 5 months but I don't understand how all the above could seriously be common for everyone?


I really am desperate for as much feedback as possible please.


I think my worries of leaving are mostly guilt in that I feel I owe them to stay but also what else I could do in life at 29 starting from scratch. So hard....


Thank you very much
post #2 of 12

What country do you work in?

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm in the UK, working in Scotland.
post #4 of 12

I presume that you work in a restaurant.

In restaurants the work is harder, you have less cooks, so you need to make more hours..

In hotels, pretty much everything is already standart, you have a lot more cooks than a restaurant and you can easly do just your 45 hours.

The tricky part that i found here in Portugal is that, a cook earns more money in a restaurant that in a hotel and a chef earns less money in a restaurant that in a hotel.

But the cook that works in a restaurant can easly know how to work in a hotel, and a chef that works in a restaurant will need to learn a lot untill he will be able to work in a hotel.

Things are a bit different from cook to chef, because big companies will require a huge knowledge from their hired chefs.

 

This can be only the case here in Portugal but hope you get the idea that working in a kitchen is a pain in the ..... (but we love it) hehehe

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your thoughts. I actually work in a hotels restaurant. I enjoy a lot of it and think I made a good choice in changing careers but the above problems I have mentioned far outweigh that.

I like the place I work and everyone there at all levels so if these issues don't seem to be universal everywhere I would still look into finding another chef job but if it's all standard then I think it's time to stress about finding a new career.

Often seeing my partner 2 evenings a week, having my rota given to me the day before the week commences, working 70+ hours up to 90 odd a week while being paid poorly for just 45 of those. My annual leave days being accepted then added to the rota as my 2 standard days off a week rather than holidays leaving me pissing off my partner yet again is too much. Trying to defend the fact I never finish anywhere near the time I should and that I pretty much feel like I have to and I am expected to pick up shifts when short staffed to her is horrible.

Is it worth bringing up all these factors with my head chef? As much as it seems I should I know nothing would ever change.
post #6 of 12

You're in the UK, isn't there any free labor consultant you can ask?  this would be the first step I'd think.  I would think it would be illegal to work more hours than contracted without being paid overtime.  In Italy there are provincial labor offices that give free advice, and all the unions will also give free advice, and if you join them will also give you legal counsel.  Many employers break the law, and many employees don;t know the law.  It wouldn't hurt to ask a consultant what your rights are and under what conditions they can fire you.  

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Potentially but it wouldn't make a difference. It is just expected and there is another 8 chefs also working all those extra hours so I don't have much of a leg to stand on in that sense.
post #8 of 12

If you are working 70-90 hrs and being paid for 45, there is a big problem.

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Paid a salary with a contract of 45 hours. I mostly work around 70 but bad weeks have seen it as much as 90 once or twice.

The hours I work over 45 don't pay and I don't get any time owed back.
post #10 of 12

I understand your situation, but, is it worth the experience you get? Is it worth the time that you dont use with your partner? Is it better than having 2 jobs full-time where you can learn 2 types of services? Will it give you the chance to get promoted in the company?

I wouldnt cook in those conditions, personally i dont work for free. I mean, theres no motivation in that situation. Just because all the others work that much doesnt mean that we need to do the same.

One thing can be wrong even if everyone does it.

One thing can be rigth even if nobody does it.

Talk to someone who understands the law in your country and someone who understands the cooking service, make your conclusions and make your own mind about this. But remember, dont let your personal life aside. Its our most important thing in the world.

 

When you make your decision, then you talk with your headchef, because if he says to you that nothing will change you have to decide if you stay and accept the fact that you will work extra hours for free or if you leave to search another place.

 

PS: Dont make decisions when you are sad. Dont make promises when you are happy.

post #11 of 12

And lots of people accept illegal work situations.  But labor laws are there to protect you and were hard won by others before you.  Get some advice from someone who knows the law.  then you can bargain, or quit, and get better conditions.  You will otherwise burn yourself out in a very short time. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #12 of 12

Unfortunately from my experience this is common, especially in the hotel industry. I also did a hotel season in Scotland and it was the toughest year of my life. BUT what I sacrificed in social life I gained in knowledge and experience. My situation now is so much better, I found a great job at a privately owned restaurant in Germany. Its the way forward as far as I'm concerned, I don't for a second miss hotel life! We rarely work above 50 hours per week, mostly over 5 days (occasionally 6). We get 5 weeks annual leave and the schedule is very flexible. I guess my advice would be if there's other factors keeping you there (such as working for an extremely creative, generous with information chef) then it can be worth sticking it out, otherwise look elsewhere, you don't have to sacrifice everything just to be a chef. Good luck :)

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