I don’t normally care so much for the actual EVENT of New Year as the things I do that evening/morning, and the people I share it with. This year was very different, and it forced me to reflect on the new year with a bit more introspection.
My day job is in one of the Atlantic City casinos (one of the ones still open and NOT up to its neck in debt) and New Year’s Eve is a MAJOR money-maker for them. Lots of people showing up, eating, spending money, gambling, drinking, and then getting rooms so they can sleep it off conveniently. Therefore, the last two days have been balls-to-the-walls, all-hands-on-deck shifts, with mandatory overtime ordered- no one leaves till everything’s done.
Obviously, being on day/swing shift, this messed with my New Year’s Eve plans. The original plans involved a party with my parents, or at the very least a quiet night in with my girlfriend. My girlfriend unfortunately fell ill and cancelled, and I was way too tired from work to even consider going to a party- so this was the first New Year’s Eve I could remember spending alone.
Just to be clear, I’m not complaining about my work inconveniencing me in celebrating a holiday. In the culinary industry, that’s par for the course- we work holidays so that other folks can go out to eat somewhere nice on theirs. That’s just the way it is.
My night alone generally seemed like living out a Tom Waits song, but the solitude got me looking back at the events of 2014, the events of that day and the months leading up, and what 2015 might bring.
2014 was a big year for me, professionally, and for the Black Hat Bakery.
I was inducted into the Chaine de Rotisseur, and was addressed as “chef”- unironically- for the first time at Roberta’s, where I helped in preparing my first Chaine dinner alongside Chef Joe Muldoon. I also catered my first wedding, and prepared desserts for my first Restaurant Gala.
I redid the Black Hat Bakery website, reimagined this blog and what it should contain, and added a host of new desserts and treats to my repertoire.
At the same time, 2014 brought me work at the casino.
While working at the casino has brought me money and security, it is not my ideal work or work environment. I find so much of my energy is consumed by the casino that I have difficulty finding time to focus and work on the things that I want to do, and mean the most to me. While my coworkers and some members of my management are good people, I still feel constrained and tethered to work that I can no longer find meaning in.
In this year, I have had to accept several facts about my employment:
1. My loyalty to the casino is misplaced, and certainly not reciprocated.
2. My career and advancement trajectory in the casino is nil.
and 3. The job is not likely to ever bring me closer to my goals. All it provides anymore is a paycheck.
I don’t really do New Years resolutions- they are too much like aspirational statements and dreams than real goals. Instead, I am setting several goals, and I am determined to make them real within the coming year.
If I cannot find a new job closer to my ideals by May 1rst, I will quit the casino job and instead devote my time and energy to the Black Hat Bakery. Either way, come December 31rst, 2015, I will NOT be working at the casino, or any casino.
The Black Hat Bakery is the closest thing to my dream that I have, and I refuse to let neuroticism, fear, and doubt prevent me from making it the best it can be anymore. I have plans in the works to make this bakeworks in to something truly excellent.
As my grandfather used to say, “They may love it, or they may hate it- but they won’t be able to ignore it.”
2015 is promising to be very interesting. Keep your eyes open.
In the meantime-