stagaire.

It’s day 31 of being in Montreal. I have officially been here a month.

I am starting to get worried about what I am accomplishing.

A huge amount of my time recently has been taken up by looking for a new place to live. Requirements: Cheap rent, fairly clean, cool roommates that maybe drink beer and can introduce me to new people.

I have been fairly lucky lately, one of our dishwashers at work has been great to introduce me to all kinds of new people. To be honest I am stretching my connections, going even 4 degrees of separation between the person i met and the person i originally knew, but it has mostly worked out.

I could tell you all kinds of stories about what kind of beer I have been drinking or what bars I have checked out, and that would probably be an interesting story (or not) but here is my problem: I am, as always, concerned that I am not making the right choices. If you read any amount of cooking novels (Letters to a Young Chef), cooking blogs (Eggbeater), or even talking to chefs, they all say generally the same thing: Make the right choices early.

Is it early for me? Do I still have a chance to define my career? I have always known that the path I take in 5 or 10 years will be determined, or at the very least influenced by what jobs you take, where you live, and basically what you make of yourself.

I’ve wasted a lot of time, it seems like. In jobs I didn’t necessarily like, but maybe I learned something from them anyway. I heard something once, I can’t remember who said it but it went something like this: “At that job, I learned not what to do, but what not to do.”

I’m worried I have lost my touch. I am going to work at my current job basically dead on my feet. It’s so dead I barely pay attention to the one bill we have on the go. I won’t go into the multitude of problems of that particular restaurant but needless to say it’s pretty useless for me to work there any more than I have to, which thankfully is not that much.

I need to balance confidence and humility.  It is hard. If I get a job where I want to work, I think I might be a commis again. Or at most garde-manger. It’s very hard to act confident when you are a commis. There is not a lot of positive reinforcement in most kitchens. I always forget the two sayings “If I am not yelling at you, you’re doing a good job,” and “I am on your case because I think you are worth something.” Always hard to remember when you are under the gun.

Here is the end of the story: I want to actually make something of myself, so what I need will come to me. I am unusually lucky with certain situations, but usually I go through some ridiculous stress and time pressures first. The right opportunity always presents itself, and I think that is what I need to keep in mind.

listening: this quote in my head, over and over. from Aesop Rock’s “No Regrets”

“Look, I’ve never had a dream in my life
Because a dream is what you wanna do, but still haven’t pursued
I knew what I wanted and did it till it was done
So I’ve been the dream that I wanted to be since day one!”
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~ by getbackwards on September 22, 2010.

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