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Leaving job after very short time - loyalty question


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6 replies to this topic

#1 SaladFingers

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 04:47 PM

A few months ago I quit university to start a new career in the kitchen. I visited college to enroll on a professional cookery course and was told I needed to find employment with a restaurant.

So I applied round and recieved a happy response from a small hotel, who told me they were looking for an apprentice starting at college and that I could start right away.

The hotel is quite remote and now (in the UK) we're entering winter and things have gotten pretty quiet. There are only 3 of us in the kitchen and being the least experienced, it is my services they dispense with first.

Trouble is, while I'm involved with service 5 nights a week, I'm only doing prep work (during the day) twice a week, for a few hours. I'm now getting extremely anxious that I'm not learning much.

My college course begins in January and I'm concerned I'm going to be massively behind everyone else. As long as I'm only prepping for about 5-6 hours a week, I cannot for the life of me see how I'm going to improve my skills. I'm only in the job for personal development reasons - I couldn't care less about getting paid - I have ambitions to be a very good cook. I'm presuming my development is going MUCH slower than for people who are working in busier kitchens and now I'm wondering if I should try applying elsewhere.

My problem is that I'm working for a decent; hard working; polite couple who own the hotel and who have been kind in giving me the opportunity of training to be a chef. I think they view me as 'their' apprentice - almost as if on completion of my college course, I'll be able to offer them the benefits of my improved skills.

For 1) I'm not sure how it'll look on my CV if I've just up and left after 3 months and 2) I'm terrified of telling the owners that I'm leaving after such an incredibly short period. In fact, I think it'll come right out of the blue for them. I'm worried they'll consider my role as being a complete waste of their time. I'm getting tired of asking the head-chef 'Can I come in tomorrow for prep?' only to hear the same response 'There's probably no point, there's not much to do and I'll have it done in an hour'.

Sorry if non of this makes much sesnse. I think I just needed to write it down

#2 MattyC

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 06:07 PM

I'm of the mindset that most ever job I take is to learn. And I also tell myself the job isn't worth it personally if I don't feel as though I can learn anything, or if i'm not getting what I want out of it. And i've had to leave some really great people, at some nice places, because I wasn't getting what I wanted out of it. Honestly, I would just bring it up to the owners. Tell them why you wanted to work there, and say what you feel you aren't getting out of it. No shame in that.

I wouldn't worry about how long you were there looking on paper. Anyone can understand the need to learn, and if you feel you aren't doing that in the way you want, what's wrong with that, and why prolong it? If someone saw you worked at a place for only a few months, and you had no good answer as to why you left in such a short time... yeah I can see that not being too cool. But having a good reason IMO... well, it's understandable.

I would just suggest talking with the owners. Tell them your concerns. What you wanted out of it, and what you feel you are getting out of it (which sounds like not really what you want). If nothing can be reached, might not be a bad idea to search for something better. But i'd express your concerns first, see how that goes.
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#3 Toliver

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 10:20 AM

I'm of the mindset that most ever job I take is to learn. And I also tell myself the job isn't worth it personally if I don't feel as though I can learn anything, or if i'm not getting what I want out of it. And i've had to leave some really great people, at some nice places, because I wasn't getting what I wanted out of it. Honestly, I would just bring it up to the owners. Tell them why you wanted to work there, and say what you feel you aren't getting out of it. No shame in that.

I wouldn't worry about how long you were there looking on paper. Anyone can understand the need to learn, and if you feel you aren't doing that in the way you want, what's wrong with that, and why prolong it? If someone saw you worked at a place for only a few months, and you had no good answer as to why you left in such a short time... yeah I can see that not being too cool. But having a good reason IMO... well, it's understandable.

I would just suggest talking with the owners. Tell them your concerns. What you wanted out of it, and what you feel you are getting out of it (which sounds like not really what you want). If nothing can be reached, might not be a bad idea to search for something better. But i'd express your concerns first, see how that goes.

I agree with this advice. Talk it over and see if changes can be made so you can learn.
If that doesn't happen, life is too short. Wish them the best and move on. Learn somewhere else. The sooner the better for your life and your career.

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'
Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”
– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”


#4 jgm

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 10:29 AM

Is there a local place that serves free meals to those in need? If so, do they need someone to help with prep?

#5 HungryC

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:45 AM

Is there a local place that serves free meals to those in need? If so, do they need someone to help with prep?

I had similar thoughts...a soup kitchen, or a meals-for-the-elderly program, or even a school lunchroom/cafeteria? Someplace that does volume, as you do learn many important cooking skills when handling large quantities. If the present job is already paying a living wage, you can volunteer your services in a worthy, food-related cause.

#6 alexw

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:04 PM

Personally I would talk to the chef and if the truth is that the work could be done in an hour, he (or she) could get you in (maybe for a short unpaid period) to assist with the prep taking 2 hours to explain what is being done.

I have been in kitchens 20 years and have seen numerous styles of businesses and had chefs come (and go) for a multitude of reasons, but one key factor is that chefs move on when they have nothing left to learn from me, which is why I push myself as hard as I push my staff so I (hopefully) always have something new to teach, let alone the amount I learn from my own findings, both successes and failures.

do not worry about how your CV will look, you could always tailor a 3 month period down to 'learning' or 'starging' and shorty it will simply dissapear off your CV anyway, however I would look before you leap, try and secure something before you announce to them you will be leaving so it is already a done deal when you have the conversation (I am guessing you are on a short notice period). This in itself will give you more confidence to have the conversation in the first place.

another option if you want to give these guys a chance is to agree a certain amount of days (leaving you 1 or 2 free each week), and set up stage shifts at other restaurants near or far, if you live anywhere near london would be happy to assist with arranging some if I can, PM me.

whatever you decide, I hope you make a success of it, don't give up it can be a very up & down business, they are probably thinking they are helping you by giving you free time, just try and explain what it is you need from the job and, without quitting there and then, push accross the point that you NEED to learn.

Good luck

Alex.
after all these years in a kitchen, I would have thought it would become 'just a job'

but not so, spending my time playing not working

www.e-senses.co.uk

#7 alexw

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:17 PM

One other thing, re-reading your post, you say they view you as 'their apprentice'

last time I checked apprentice is not defined as 'skivvy needed when we are busy', apprentices are with you to learn, and really not much else, and should you have the conversation and it take a turn for the worse then perhaps you should remind them of this.

Alex.
after all these years in a kitchen, I would have thought it would become 'just a job'

but not so, spending my time playing not working

www.e-senses.co.uk