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Do I stay with my job with little time off and great money or go for something less stressful?

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Question - (8 March 2019) 9 Answers - (Newest, 11 March 2019)
A female United Kingdom age 26-29, *x-Scorpio-xX writes:

This isn't a relationship question, but a work one instead.

Last year I posted a question about becoming a chef and got loads of great replies. I love most of my job and the pay is good and I have had a promotion and my manager wants to promote me again this year. He's a great guy to work for and it feels as if he really cares about his employees.

However the downside to this otherwise great job is the hours. I work over 50 hours each week and only get an hour or so break when I do a split shift on the weekend, weekdays I never get a break (I don't even always get a break on my splits) and this is just how it is for everyone who works there. It's not unheard of me to work 9am-11pm without a break on a busy Saturday.

A year on, I'm now feeling exhausted, constantly stressed and it's affecting my sleeping and I'm becoming a bit depressed. I love the actual job, but not the hours/shifts. Everyone I work with does the same, so I feel like I can't really say anything to my manager. He was great when I told him that I needed a few days off as I felt stressed and recently he's been giving me a couple of extra days off too.

So my issue is, do I find a job that lets me cook somewhere like a nursery or a school with set weekday 9-5 type work and have my weekends and evenings off but take a pay cut by about £3-£4K a year or stay at my current job where there is all this promotion opportunity and end up with very little free time? It's hard to have a social life when you finish at 10:30/11:30pm every night, work weekends and on my days off all I want to do is sleep.

Is there any advice you can please give me?

View related questions: a break, depressed, I work with, money

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (11 March 2019):

Start looking for a less stressful job - and arrange some time off immediately - your mental and physical health are suffering and you need to have more balance in your life before you head for a total breakdown and unable to work at all. It’s not illegal to not have proper work breaks for no reason. Your employer might be a great guy but your not a machine your a human being.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (11 March 2019):

Honeypie agony auntSo you don't really have the "I'm going to be the next Gordon Ramsey" ambitions. AND THAT IS FINE! So, I'd say look for a LESS stressful chef/cooking job. Sure it might be less money but is the stress WORTH that extra money?

There is NO one saying (even you boss) that you HAVE to stay in a job where you feel it's too stressful, at least NOT when you have other options out there.Like N91 said, I'd probably NOT leave this job until you have another lined up.

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A female reader, Xx-Scorpio-xX United Kingdom +, writes (10 March 2019):

Xx-Scorpio-xX is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Xx-Scorpio-xX agony auntThank you for all the responses so far!

The thing is, at the start I thought I wanted to train up and become a head chef myself, I felt the long hours and exhausting shifts wren't too bad as I was doing what I loved. I still love it, and love to cook and bake. However I don't think I want that end goal anymore. It'd be nice to own a cafe and cook/bake there but I don't want to run a huge established restaurant kitchen or hotel kitchen.

This job is making me want to start smoking again with the stress, I spend the entire night after my shift worrying about the next day I'm in and if i've missed something off the orders or not done something I needed to do. I've been in tears most night recently as well as soon as I get home.

I know for certain that I love working in a kitchen cooking but no longer feel that ambition I had when I started? I don't even get that excited at the thought of getting another promotion this year? :/

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 March 2019):

Could you stay in your current job but speak with your employer about working fewer days per week?

If you’re not sure what to do, imagine you are 100 years old looking back at your life - what advice would you give to yourself?

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (10 March 2019):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntWhat do you want for YOURSELF? How would you like your career to pan out? Do you have a plan? If not, now is the time to think about one. Anything worthwhile is worth fighting for (including working stupid hours) IF the end goal is worth it.

I am assuming you get holidays from your job? Use them wisely. Plan ahead and make sure you do stuff which helps you relax. Go away for mini breaks if you can. Spend time with friends. Do WHATEVER makes you happy and helps you de-stress and forget about work. That way you can go back to work with recharged batteries as no job is worthwhile if it means you burn yourself out.

Having a good boss who believes in his staff and helps them progress is priceless. Never underestimate how much harder your job would be without his help.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (9 March 2019):

Honeypie agony auntI think it depends VERY much on where you see yourself in 3-5 years.

If you are fine with being a lunch lady, then go for switching jobs. If you want a career and to make a name within the restaurant business, you will have to put in the hours and hours if hard work to move up in one place and perhaps later move from a "typical" restaurant to a hotel chain, country club/golf course type place.

You boss obviously see potential and quality in you and your work. So that is a BIG plus.

On the down side, the "burn out" rate for chefs is high, same with stress levels.

So what you need to do is decide what YOU want for yourself and YOUR future.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (9 March 2019):

Okay, maybe I shouldn't answer this one; because I'm the ambitious type of guy. I've worked long hard hours; and I've pushed my way up! Being gay, meant I worked twice as hard to get promoted. I got passed-over, even when I was better qualified. I got raises, little promotions; but not the big office! Baby, that's changed!

Conservative corporate institutions prefer the white-guy, with an Ivy League degree, and a pretty wife. I beat the odds, I broke the glass ceiling; so I have an idea what it's like for women. I'm also a person of color. Bi-racial!

If you're new at this chef gig, you've got to pay your dues. If the pay is good, you have opportunity; then you've got yourself a fine upscale or successful restaurant. Considering, many restaurants fail after a few good years, or never take-off at all. You've talked to the boss, and he's giving you time-off. Then negotiate!

If you're a chef, and you find a job that doesn't push you to the max; that restaurant might not be doing very well. They won't pay well either. If you're talking out of your exhaustion; you may need some rest before you go talk about changing jobs.

If you're the new-guy, you'll get the sh*t-shifts, and grueling hours; until you earn the associate-chef's position. If the head-chef leaves, you're next in-line. Assuming that's the kind of restaurant you're working for.

You need to talk to your boss about your hours. If he gave you a few days off, that means that was always possible; but you were just afraid to say anything, until you couldn't push yourself anymore. You've proven yourself, you said your manager is reasonable. So talk to the guy!

If you let them, employers will work you ragged. They figure a nice paycheck makes you their slave. I slave for the perks and the bonuses; but I get my time off, and I am well compensated! I give them what they want; which gives me the leverage to ask for what I want! That's what you do!

I guess it all depends on whether you want to be a cook, or a chef.

I would stick it out, ask for more time off. Once you're well-established, and you've got the experience of a fine or reputable restaurant under your belt; you might someday be your own boss.

Maybe you'll find a job of comparable pay and reasonable hours; but you want to continue fulfilling your dream as a chef. If that's what you've trained to be, and you love it; then that's what you should do.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (9 March 2019):

I think you need to look harder at the options available to you. Cheffing is never 9-5. Never. If you work in a school or institution you'll still be prepping for breakfast lunch and dinner. That's either very early starts or late finishes.

Catering and hospitality are industries which have terrible hours written through their DNA, surely you knew this when you embarked upon the career?

It's full of creativity, bonhomie, esprit de corps but the pay is average and the hours are awful. Always have been always will be. Most see it as a lifestyle not a job. You might find hours closer to your ideal. But if you are looking for 9-5 I think you're going to be disappointed.

Every job involves a compromise. Office work is rarely creative, frequently a drudge and you'll rarely have the same connection to your colleagues but it's regular. I'm not saying you should work in an office, but if you want 9-5 Monday to Friday, then Catering probably isn't for you.

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (9 March 2019):

N91 agony auntWell you tell us.

What’s more important? Your mental health and well being or 3-4K? It sounds very obvious to me when it’s put into simple terms like that.

If you do decide to switch jobs, I wouldn’t do it without first having another solid job offer in place or unless you have enough savings to keep you going inbetween jobs if you wanted to leave sooner.

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