Get a Life: Find a Job You’ll Love


Jobs in the food world abound. We all have to eat, right?

By Irena Chalmers

 

The hardest part of deciding to find a job is making up your mind that it’s time. You’d think this would be easy, but in these unsettled times, it’s not always so.

A Job in Food

If you look at jobs in the food world, don’t jump to conclusions: just because you like to cook doesn’t mean you want to work in a restaurant kitchen. To work in a restaurant you must love restaurants. Many of us do. But this is far from being the only option.

On the one hand, changing jobs is a fairly easy matter. You just have to take the skills you already possess and transfer them to another location.

On the other hand, embarking on a new career is a major undertaking. You have to explore all the possibilities that are available to you. There are new territories to discover using a powerful telescope to explore the universe before narrowing your options with a small-bore microscope.

You could compare this task to thinking you would like to write a cookbook with the title of Potato Dishes of the World. It would be a worthwhile undertaking but you’d probably drown in an endless amount of research. Instead, you would surely have a winner if you compiled 50 Recipes for Potato Salad. (Everyone loves potato salad; very few are interested in potato dumplings from Uzbekistan or Tanzania.)

Possibilities, Possibilities

The first step to take when you are thinking about embarking on a food career is to focus on specific segments of the food world. In my book Food Jobs, I outline the far-reaching array of jobs — and believe me, the list goes on and on.

You might consider a job in food service (catering, country clubs, corporate dining rooms, universities, sports stadiums, and so on). Or, you could look into the retail side of things, advertising, package design or other creative outlets. I also describe careers as a food writer, literary agent, editor, cookbook author, recipe tester, newspaper journalist, restaurant critic, travel writer, television star or producer, and reporter for trade and consumer magazines. I cover promotion and public relations, and how you can get involved in food history, culture and science and technology. And for those interested in farming, there are any number of possibilities. Finally, the vast field of teaching is there to consider.

Let’s Begin

In 1969 Philip Roth wrote the novel Portnoy’s Complaint, considered to be a literary masterpiece. In the book, the central character complains bitterly about his life. At the end of his monologue his psychiatrist declares (having got all that off your chest) “Now we can begin…”.

Now you can begin, too. Watch this space for heaps of practical advice to get you on your way.

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Irena Chalmers is the author of Food Jobs: 150 Great Jobs for Culinary Students, Career Changers and Food Lovers. www.foodjobsbook.com