Roughly one month ago I walked away from a good paying corporate job with great benefits. I worked in a cubicle taking phone calls in customer service. The sky was the limit insofar as upward mobility. The retirement plan was excellent, the people I worked with and around wonderful for the most part, I had personal time, vacation, sick leave, you name it, but I was so miserable and stressed out that I felt as though I was dying inside. Matter of fact, many of my cohorts are and were in the same position. Working jobs they hated or hate because that has become the expectation for the American worker. An existence or survival to run to the finish line of retirement with tons o’ retirement money if you played the game right and ran the maze known as “the rat race”. You could then go into your “golden years” knowing you spent your life doing something you hated to do and die with that “accomplishment”. I finally exploded inside and flew apart one fine evening in October 2016. Needless to say, I had to seek some help and get medicated with happy pills and sedatives to calm the desire to strangle someone out of anger and frustration.
I knew what I loved to do which is cook. I tried to tell myself it was wrong that somehow it was a mistake as many know the pay is extremely low for a vast majority of cooks, chefs and whatnot unless, of course, you are one of the very few “celebrity” chefs or successful Haute Cuisine masters with your own place. Cooking is hot, intense and requires constant cleaning unless you don’t care about sanitary practices which will eventually get someone sick or killed. Over the past 8 years, I have cultivated a dream to have a food truck or small restaurant/bistro with my cuisine. It was a dream to take me away from the troubles and issues with my numerous careers. None of which satisfied my soul in any way even when I made good paychecks. I felt hollow and passionless right up to my recent adventure which ended abruptly in October 2016 followed by my resignation one month ago.
Within a week of my final departure, I received a lead on a job to cook for a local pizza joint. Someone at the corporate torture chamber referred me to a young man who manages the place about 8 blocks from my house. Now mind you, I’m 50 years old and I have not cooked on the line professionally in 29 years. I filled out an application and submitted a resume’ and with the grace of God or whatever powers of the law of positive attraction, I was hired right on the spot. Funny thing, I never felt nervous or scared. I finally reached a point where it seems as though I had little to lose other than my house, my wife and everything I own. Out of those aforementioned items, my wife was the only thing I was concerned about as I have burned out on the version of American society which requires the need and desire to own stuff. I simply do not care anymore. I get to cook and feel the accomplishment one dish at a time, one pizza at a time. I see the smiles of people who look forward to “pizza night” like I did when I was a kid. I don’t make much money which has strained the household finances to the extreme, but I’m chasing my last dream I have time to accomplish. It’s a small step. Most of the people I work with in the place are probably half my age. There are many who will label me as an idiot, lunatic or loser, but I’m happy. I have recently been involved in discussions with the manager, who is a remarkably responsible young man with a love of cooking, about being one of two assistant managers which is a ray of sunlight. The smell of the pizza oven is simply amazing. The feeling of action, cooking and excitement gets my adrenalin flowing. I feel alive, very alive and even young again. I’m one step closer to my dream.
The only conflict I have within myself is the concerns about healthy eating which is not associated with pizza, but this is a start. I am a fortunate man that someone much younger than myself saw my passion and decided to take a chance on me when there was no reason to do so. Yes, cooking is really a young persons pursuit, but I have decided to live and die for a dream to change the world in my own little way. Every revolution starts in a kitchen, living room or back alley as just an idea and you can’t kill an idea. Especially an idea which liberates the soul.