Re: Alternate jobs?
I was a cook for ten years. I learned a lot of cool stuff, met a lot of cool people, but by the time I became a father I had really had enough. My first Father's Day was my last day in a kitchen. The last restaurant I worked in was Alex Patoux's (owned by the same person). I'm not sure how he ranks today, but at one time I was told he was one of the top 25 chefs in America. I still love to cook at home. It allows me the time to experiment and cook great meals without all the stress. That stint ended just a few years ago.
I decided I needed a job that gave me holidays, weekends, and nights off (something foreign to me as long as I had been a cook). I became a screen printer. That was a really cool job. I did that for a year and a half, but the pay was even worse than being a cook.
For the last two and a half years I have been working as a painter. This is fun too. Not as much fun as being a printer, but the pay is much better and I get to be outside a LOT. Which is very nice. Also get to be in a different location on a regular basis, which is also very nice. In fact, for the last month and a half or so I've been basically working for myself. It's a little more stressful than being a side kick, but the pay is better and getting full credit for the long hours I've been putting in is great too. I'm hoping I can keep the work coming in so I can stay solo.
I really enjoy working by myself and for myself. Right now I am working on a remodel house. I'm in the middle of staining and varnishes six sixteen foot long three piece exposed beams that will be hung on the ceiling in their living room. I spent the majority of the day sanding and staining (the mill did a real butcher job with the planer- but I made 'em smooth as my baby's but). Tomorrow I will put the first coat of marine varnish on. I can't wait. Wednesday the carpenters come back to assemble and hang them, and Thursday I'll be putting the last coat of varnish on. There is a bunch of other stuff I'll be doing and have already done in this home (this is my sixth or seventh week), but this is by far my favorite project on this whole job. I love doing stain work.
During the ten years I worked as a cook, I tried a few other things. My first job was a buggy pusher at a grocery store. I've worked in a clothing department store which was so not my thing. I've worked for a piano tech, helping with the transport of pianos (very fun). I've done some side work as a web programmer. I remember working at a vet office for a couple days but that didn't work out for me. There may be a couple I've forgotten. Cooking, printing, and painting have all been the main jobs in my life- the ones I stuck with the longest (longer than 1yr). They are all artistic too. Go figure.