When I left specialty coffee I was a Manager-in-Training with a manager position within reach. I felt so wrapped up in coffee that I lost my connection with everything and couldn't see myself or my goals anymore. I didn't remember what its like to be new anymore and couldn't relate to the people around me. I knew I was burnt out wouldn't make a good manager like that but wasn't sure what to do about it.
So I decided to start from scratch in the kitchen. At the bottom of the totem pole, my perspective is definitely changing. Its challenging, but undoubtably for the best.
My first full week in the kitchen was hallmarked by continual highs and lows. As I learn and create, I get a huge rush of creativity and accomplishment, but I also struggle with the opposite side of that mountain. The loose and fast training system has left me feeling like I have to learn everything from the mistakes I make.
One of my former coworkers, said he like our cafe because we taught our employees how to do everything from walk to wipe the counter so everyone did everything the same way. At the time I thought he was making a jab, like we trained the difference out of people. But difference when you're working as team isn't always the best thing.
I burnt my first béchamel sauce. I was being trained and so I wasn't at fault but that didn't make me feel less responsible. And I took that responsibility and turned it to shame which became anger and frustration. Frustrated that someone barely capable was in charge of training me.
A couple hours later the executive chef called us both into the office. She talked to us about the intuitive nature of cooking. She said it was okay to make mistakes, but to learn from them. I felt better and was back on the upswing.
I feel like a pendulum, swinging between excitement and terror. One minute I am overjoyed at the opportunities in front of me, and then next I'm topping pizzas and wondering if I made mistake walking away from coffee to start from the bottom again.
But then I have a day like today, where I get to go to a wine tasting in the morning, have a lovely lunch at one of the sister restaurants and return to the cafe and talk with good friends. Though the good feelings won't always last, today is bliss.