Kitchen Collective: Crying over chicken tenders and fries.

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I started down this career path for two reasons, the first I believe was because I had always found myself in food service jobs since I was a teenager (first working at a grocery store, then a Taco Bell, and lastly a Meijer Deli). I had very little confidence in my own ability to make my dreams come true.

My dream was to become a Character and Environment Concept Artist for video games.

Dreams are often flitting when you’re a young person, but from the age of 12 or 13 until the age of 22 this was my singular focus, so much so that I literally failed nearly every class I’d take from 8th through 12th grade. I even had to take an additional year of high school, not solely based on my failing grades, but because I had taken so many art classes that I was missing a semester or two of required literature and math credits mandated by my state.

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It was around this time that my maternal grandfather passed away from end stage lung cancer, but shortly before this I made sure he knew about my dream and that I’d be alright because I loved what I wanted to pursue and that was a rarity.

This was also around the time that my family short sold their home in order to avoid foreclosure, and I moved into Kid Cork’s parent’s basement (but those tales are for another time).

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Long story short I eventually developed bad anxiety and put all my plans, on what ended up being, a nearly indefinite hold; a pattern seems to be developing here.

So that brings me to my second reason, and its no less impactful. There I was, 24 and without any sort of real significant education, I had begun to finally recover from my protracted anxiety and again was living with Kid Cork’s parents. A couple of years pass and I’ve got a stable job, and while it’s at a supermarket, things are beginning to change. I’ve met my most honored companion and we’ve begun to plan for the future, but as it stands neither of us have much in the way jobs that can be self supportive, let alone savings.

This story too begins with a death, the death of my paternal grandfather this time, but its much more of an upheaval emotionally than a long slow death, because it was my grandmother, my companion, and I that found my grandfather dead. I had plans for him to meet my papa (as I called my grandfather) he’d have been the only one that I brought home to them, but rather than meet my papa, he met my entire family on my dad’s side that day.

With that I made the decision to figure out what I should be doing with my life, and the logical step was to further my career with Culinary, as I’d already taken a certification course in hopes of getting a promotion at Meijer (one that never came).

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I took the classes an really enjoyed working on the assignments and found that not only was I versed in food service, but I had a talent for it. I don’t know if it was passion or necessity that drove me forward, but I quickly found myself working and making a reasonable amount of money, more than I ever had before, just barely enough for me and my companion to squeak by on our own.

I’ve grown in confidence these last 4 years though, and my foray into culinary has somehow helped with that, being that I was able to not only succeed, but to thrive in an industry that wasn’t my true passion.

Which brings me to today, and a small shift that brought me to a certain conclusion, I am working in this industry because I’d given up on a dream to take the easy route, because in some ways I didn’t have he confidence to follow what I was passionate about, I made excuses to myself about not having enough money to go to the right school, or that my family wouldn’t ever be able to help me do it so there wasn’t a point to it.

Now though I’m confident, I won’t bend because its easy, I’m going to follow another dream, one that blossomed from years of exposure, Computer Information Technology. I had a certification study manual on my bedside table that day my papa died, and I tossed it away because I was afraid that if I didn’t get into a better job right now, that I’d never amount to anything.

I am ready to face the hurdles and start down a path that I can feel happy about day in and day out, not just when I’m having a great day, and for that I have to thank my past coworkers who entrusted their computers to me to fix when we were working in the kitchen of one of the best Athletic Clubs in the country.

Thanks again everyone, especially my companion, for showing me that I do have the ability and I will find the drive to finally get it done and get certified in CompTia A+

As a side note, a shout out to A*****, I saw the pictures you’d taken for your boyfriend J***** on your computer, those were pretty filthy… :/

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