The first kitchen I worked in, I was paired up with Bill, who, in addition to being the oldest guy in our kitchen, was a career prep cook. Not a sous, not a chef, but certainly a prep guy that could be relied upon to cover for an overly enthusiastic kitchen puppy like I was. I never asked him, then, why he stayed at the level he did, I was too busy trying to learn, trying to keep up. I didn't know that was the kind of thing I should be trying to learn, too.
I imagine that military folks, coming to the end of their enlisted time and suddenly considering they may want to go career may go through something similar, but I could just be making this up.
So the question of the day is "Where is this taking me?" or, better perhaps, "Where do I want to go with this?" (See, passive vs active voice, I get it.)
This would be easier if I were younger. I could take the time to work some really terrific places, enduring less than ideal living situations. I could work a lot, 36/8. Really build up a resume, a repuation and then take it to wherever. The reality is, I'm not. I don't want to dorm up with three other people. Yes, as odd and far reaching a dream as my $14 saving account may suggest, I would like to own rather than rent. Of course, I have some aches and pains and things that tell me that physically 36/8 just isn't an option (or at least not one for the long term) I have more than just me to consider, too; my sweetheart has endured two multiple time zone moves now, I think I've used up that get out of jail free card.
Stability is not what you come for in this industry. Sure, there are varying degrees of slippery slope but things can slide at any time. All tied up in the question of what do you want in your career is the bigger question of what are you willing to risk? And don't kid yourself that it's just professional risk. How important is that house to me? Important enough that I should give up the idea of my own shop? What do I save up for?
Stepping up my game at work is all well and good, but I'd like to know what I am stepping up to do.