New Challenges, New Challenger

Good afternoon, friends and neighbors!

A new job.
New, later hours.
New work.
New kitchen, new people, new rules, new lifestyle, new rhythms, new responsibilities, new challenges, new criteria.
New expectations- from the job, and from myself.

Let’s kick some ass.

Now that you’ve heard my Official Theme Song for Smiling While Screaming In Terror on the inside… well, what is there to actually be afraid of? Everything- and also nothing.

My new position is considerably different from the last. As I noted above, I’ll have to get used to working evening/night hours rather than the earlyish mornings I’ve been accustomed to. I’ll have a set list of tasks with a HARD time limit to complete them- so I will have to understand the tasks perfectly and put my mise en temps to the test. “I’ll have to work a little late” is unacceptable.

On top of this, I will be working during service- which means that at a moments notice, I’ll have to be able to drop what I’m doing an finalize decoration on a cake to hand over to the front-of-house staff for service.

All of this, in a new kitchen with new procedures and new rules and working with new people.
Without a doubt, it is a daunting challenge.


Back when I was in culinary school, I had these kinds of nerves and fears before each class. It was an accelerated program, with each class (block) taking 1 month. As of the first day of class, I had one month until the final exams. We were expected to study hard, practice vigorously, be ENORMOUSLY self-critical, and time ourselves well- or take a fail.
Occasionally, I’d work with the same chef-instructor in another block, or I’d have a completely different chef and have to learn their expectations and grading. I won’t lie to you- there were times I’d go out to my car after class and either cry/scream in frustration.

“HOW CAN I DO THIS?! THERE’S NOT ENOUGH TIME! IT’S NOT FAIR!!”

The screaming and ranting felt good… but it didn’t help anything except make me tired and hoarse- and get a security guard to tap on my car window to see if I was alright.

What DID help was looking back on everything I HAD done already. The old saying goes, “We are so concerned with how far we have to go, we forget how far we’ve already gone.”

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Photo by Nextvoyage from Pexels

“How many times have I done this during a difficult class, only to pass in the end?”
“How many times before have I, after freaking out about a problem, figured out the solution?”

I’m not exactly enamoured with the power or idea of affirmations, but without intending it I came up with my own. It became another of many mantras I would learn in my time in school, and later on in my career in the bakeshop:

“Either I will break this challenge, or it will break me- and I refuse to break.”

In the ancient Epic of Gilgamesh, there is a moment where Gilgamesh and Enkidu are about to come face to face with Humbaba the Terrible, a gigantic monster created by the gods. Enkidu wants to run, and insists that if Gilgamesh stays, they’ll both die. Gilgamesh answers simply:

If your heart is fearful, throw away fear. If there is terror in it, do away with terror. Take your ax in your hand and attack- whoever leaves the fight unfinished is not at peace.”

Yes, a little dramatic I suppose- comparing “getting ready for a new job and big life changes” to “fighting a towering fire-breathing monster with the head and claws of a lion”- but if we’re being honest, that’s how it can feel. 

Today is my last day of training for the new job. On Sunday, I start tackling it all on my own.
Just how ready am I?

I’ll tell you when I’m finished.

Stay Classy,

P.S.
Hey, so as you figured out from this post, I’ve just started a new day job!
That’s cool and all, but if I could make writing this blog my full-time gig, that would be even better.
If you like what I’ve been writing here, please consider supporting my Patreon!
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Click here to visit the Patreon!

Supporting me and my writing is so easy to do! 

  1. Visit the Patreon.
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I’m also currently freelancing as a foodwriter, and I’m for hire! If you or someone you know might need some of my *obviously* awesome writing skills, point them my way!

Anything you choose to do- even if it’s a dollar a month- helps!

Thanks all!

​-BHB

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