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Burnout or just need a break?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I'm 23, female and have been in the kitchen since 14 as a dishie. Started my apprenticeship at 15 in the wrong place.. I did learn but I was under a lot of chefs who had had enough and weren't passionate or excited about showing me anything... And also had an unfortunate and sadly unresolved situation with a sous chef taking advantage for a while as well.. Anyway, the beginning of my career kinda sucked. It became really hard to learn anything at all as I was left on my own a lot so I moved to a new city and started in a hotel, which was a shit hotel whee I also learnt not much, left to fend for myself and run services in my own. I know I learnt from that but I was never really shown how to do things properly, even the basics. Moved to bars and then function centres for the hours, then another hotel then a few crap jobs in cafes, then an Italian restaurant and now a hotel. I know I'm actually good at the job, I'm organised, can think for myself and handle the pressure, take pride in my work, but I really get no joy out of the job, I'm always tired and grumpy and I've had so many health problems and wrist injuries from it. I've never used my gender as an excuse but I don't think I can do it anymore! I have resigned and leave my current job in a few weeks, do I take some time off and try to get into a good restaurant and maybe enjoy i? Or giv it yo completely and do something new? I have no clue what else I would enjoy as this is all I know!!
post #2 of 4

I have a similar story... all I know is your not going to find that "rush" in another industry. Maybe its time to find a friend and open your own place, or even just take a head Chef job at a small place you can run the way you want to run a kitchen. I have found that really helps as the creativity gets a release and the rules are set down the way you know they should be.

post #3 of 4
Your 23. Go to college, get a desk job. If your health is failing you now how are you going to make it for 25+ more years? You can always go back to the kitchen with a degree if some sort. I'd suggest take some business courses that way you'll be slightly less stupid with money then the general population.
post #4 of 4

     Take a break for awhile. Get a job doing something else. Six months, a year. During that time search out well run restaurants or hotels or catering or cafes just to visit and observe. Sydney must have a few. Do some cooking at home for family and friends. Read some new cookbooks. Bake some bread at home. Start a garden. Visit a farm and an orchard.  Learn how to can and preserve your own foods.  Decide what it is you like about cooking. Search out opportunities that provide that. 

     Your bad experiences with no one showing you how to do things correctly is, I'm sorry to say, pretty common. Many of the jobs I have had in my career were much the same. People seem to assume you can't do it so they don't let you, or they assume you can so they don't teach you. Too often others who appear professional are not. Often those who are doing it are not competent but they somehow have the job you could be doing better. 

     So learn what you can and move on. Teach yourself as much as you can, when you can. Be open to learning from anyone at any time but don't expect them to teach you. It's nice when it happens. 

     Experiences, good and bad, are the best teacher. Search out a few more. Any place you work will have good and bad qualities. Every place is what it is, whether poorly run or well run, corporate or independent.

     I hate to be cliched but often it isn't what happens but how you react that makes the difference. This is very true. When you were left on your own, you felt bad because no one was showing you how to do things. That makes the learning tougher but simultaneously makes for a great opportunity because no one is stopping you from doing it based on an assumption that you can't. If what you do works, then that's the right way until you learn a better way. And then you can say you have done it. 

     But as I suggested at first, take a break for awhile. Find your joy. 

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