Yesterday I accepted a job in a completely new field, which is weird. It's weird to be twenty four and deciding on a career change. Most people I know haven't even really figured out what their first career is going to be. But I've never really had a shitty job I just have to make some money sort of job. I went straight from immersing myself in volunteer work to working in food service and I'm well trained and I'm good at it. Scratch that, I'm fucking great at it. However, the whole point of going to culinary school was so that I could support myself to major in hippy ass things like Arts & Social Change later in life or to allow me to have a solid practical skill that would allow me to support myself while doing volunteer service work. The problem is, food service is an exhausting, high stress job and I've never really had time or energy outside of it to really be able to do the things that really matter to me and that's where going back to school came into play. And this is the part where continuing to work in food service is supposed to support me but since moving home I've just become even more burnt out.
The chocolatiering job I have allows for a lot of creativity and flexibility of schedule. However, I am overqualified and severely underpaid. It's the least amount of money I've ever made. The man I work for has less experience working in a kitchen, working with chocolate and managing a small business then I do which means I'm not really moving forward in my professional development in any way. This is even the second struggling chocolatier/teahouse I've worked for so in a lot of ways I feel like I've just taken ten steps back. My hours are incredibly inconsistent and I'm constantly stressed about money which makes it hard to really focus on school. On top of that I'm just tired of being stressed about stupid ass shit like whether or not I'll have the ingredients I need for work (like right now we're almost out of chocolate and I had no cream, we're a fucking chocolatier, how is that even possible) or if some winery is going to get truffles on time. I just don't care enough about money to make it worthwhile to put this much energy into growing a luxury business, especially since the increased amount of business he's taken on because of hiring me has yet to show up in my paycheck.
Assuming I don't have any secrets I don't know about, once I pass a background check, I'll be an employee of R House. I'll be a mentor working graveyard shifts in a group home. I'll be making the same shitty amount of money. The hours will be brutal and the work will probably be incredibly stressful. On the plus side, my schedule will be regular, I can work full time over the Summer, the graveyard shift does a lot of the cooking prep including working with/teaching one of the residents to make breakfast and if I'm really stressed out I'll be stressed out about something I passionately care about. Getting a social welfare bachelor's and then becoming a LCSW is one of basically three plans I've switched between since going back to school and this will give me an opportunity to see if I could really handle it. It'll also, of course, give me a boost when I apply to transfer which is important because social welfare/social work are impacted majors at both Berkeley and San Francisco State. I imagine it will also set me up for better internship opportunities if I were to go all the way through with it and get my masters. I'm also hoping that since my schedule will be four days on and three days off I'll have time to find a way to volunteer for either Worth our Weight or the Ceres Project and be able to be a culinary instructor in programs that share my values.
I'm not saying that I'm totally abandoning my culinary career forever but I need to take a break from it. I'm also not saying that I'm giving up linguistics or linguistic anthropology, double majors and/or minors are always a possibility and always seemed like a likely choice for me. I just can't stress enough how important it is for me to live my values and until I can find a way to get back to doing that I know I will always be dissatisfied with the choices I make. I'm hoping this is a start of getting back on the path I thought I'd already be on.
P.S. I know you're totally thinking, "Umm, Alana, you swear all the fucking time and people find your blog searching for things like 'drunken floozy' and 'in bed i wear tmi' are you sure you should really be responsible for setting a good example for a bunch of teens in recovery?". To which I say, "I'm a writer, sometimes it's a fucking persona y'all (unless you're offering me free whiskey in which I case it's totally not)". Woooo!