My one year career break..

Sunday, September 07, 2014
And finally I'm starting to write this post that I've been wanting to write long time ago.. since a year may be! It was August 2013 that I decided to make major decisions in my life.. it took me years of thinking and contemplating the idea, but at the end it just felt like closing your eyes and nose and jumping into the unknown waters..

The conclusion I had back then was no matter how long I think it about it, I'll never be sure unless I give it a try.. and find answers to the many "what ifs" I had in my mind.. I was tired of the bland corporate life I was living.. stagnant, with nothing interesting happening,  and opposing to many people, I decided to quit my job, enroll in a cooking school, and start a new phase of my life..

What's in this new phase? that's the question that I kept getting from people, and I had to find an answer, mainly not for myself, but for them.. and the typical answer was; I'll start my own business afterwards.. I have passion for cooking a baking, and back then I thought it my be my ultimate goal to have a bakery, and I just need to get some professional education in the matter before I jump into anything..

But the question is; is this my ultimate dream? will this make me happy? honestly no. Back at that time I only knew two things, I'm fed up with my work, I want to go to a cooking school, and nothing else.. had no idea what's next, and didn't want to bother myself with more thinking, because simply it is endless and I end up doing nothing.

At the beginning I was going to enroll in part time program, just go 2 days a week and have the rest of the week for trying to build my business.. but I changed my mind and enrolled in the full time program committing to going there 5 days a week. Back then, that was a big commitment for me, especially that I was fed up of the idea of waking up every day a the same time to go to the same place.. but I was just experimenting, and told myself if I couldn't go, I'll quit.

Without getting into the details of the six months of the cooking school (may be in another post) but they ended up to be the best six months of my life! Despite the fact that I used to wake up daily at 6 a.m. drive daily not less than 3 hours.. but it was an exceptional experience. This just proved to me a very simple fact that I need to make sure of, I don't have commitment issues, I just need to commit to something that makes me happy, without fearing anything if I did not commit.. yes there were exams, assignments and attendance, but non of them suffocated me, I was happy to study for my exams, I was practicing for my practical exams on the light of a torch because of electricity cut offs.. I was not waiting for a salary end of month, or wondering about my appraisal.. I just worked with love and passion, and the result was amazing.. because I was first on my class, and second on the whole classes for the year! Only then, I was proved that if you do something with love, you will simply excel in it..

Unfortunately, those beautiful six months came to an end, and I had to face the question of "What's next?" I didn't feel like starting my business, because I really don't know what exactly is the type of business that I want.. I had zillion of questions with no clear answers, and started to get frustrated with myself.. sometimes I question the whole I idea, then I remember that I was happy at the beginning.

Thought of following the normal path for people who graduate from the cooking school. So, I either had to find a job as a chef, or have a culinary training somewhere.. and I decided to follow this path for sometime until I figure out what I want in order not to waste my time doing nothing.. and thought to myself, it will be great to have some operational experience, see how things go in the real world, and definitely this will help if I ever start this business of my own.

Checked couple of places, mainly hotel chains.. and finally got myself a training in a good hotel.. a training for me was totally better than being employed somewhere, because I would fall again to the trap of commitment and boring day to day jobs.

For a lady to work as chef in Egypt is quite challenging and I knew I'll be facing people with totally different culture.. but I was curious to give it a try telling myself I won't lose anything if I did..

The moment I entered the kitchen I felt an adrenaline rush.. people going in all directions, a lot of noise, people checking you out and wondering what the hell are you doing here.. as much as it felt weird, if felt exciting.. a totally new world, and I felt lucky to be able to sneak in..

Whenever I'm new in any place I try to first observe how things are going, observe people, know how do they deal with each other, etc..

At the beginning I started wondering to myself "What the hell am I doing here?!!" and I was about to quit from the first day.. I felt a complete alien there.. and thought to myself I can't survive there.. but things have been always working for my good sub7an Allah! By a mere coincidence I managed to get into the bakery and pastry section, and that's where I would have loved to be.. and the executive pastry chef turned to be a wonderful lovely person, the first person I meet there I feel I'm able to communicate! Thought to myself then God is sending you a message, may be it is good for me to stay there for a while.

Without again going into the details of how my life went there from a lot of ups a downs, I'm still surviving there for almost six months.. But definitely this will come to an end very soon because still it is completely different culture of people, and financially it is not and will not pay off at all.. and after a year with zero income, I need to start thinking of the same boring question again "What's next?"

I admit it, I hate this question, though I have to find an answer to it.. but trying to find an answer makes me go to this process of thinking and rethinking and thinking endlessly until I feel my brain will explode. I'm afraid to say it and admit it to people that I don't know. I don't know if it was a good idea from the beginning, I don't know what will make me happy, I'm not sure what I want in this life.. I fear failure, that's why I keep thinking a lot, but it is getting me no where..

Sometimes I think may be it was not good to follow my passion, because not all people are ready or able to start a business by their own.. may be I should have kept it as a hobby nothing more.. and then again, I have counter thoughts of I was happy going through the experience even if I don't complete in this direction, other thoughts of travelling abroad, and finding myself a job as a chef, may be the culture will be more accepting of the idea abroad, but then again that's not what I want.. I just want to travel and see the world.. but I don't want to make the same mistake again of following my heart without having the answer of "what's next?" traveling the world means spending every penny I have, and then what? this will come to an end one day or the other, and I have to figure out what to do..

After one year of no corporate life, I'm happy I did it, I don't regret it at all, I'm a new person who I wouldn't have became if I continued in my career.. but I'm a little bit lost in this materialistic life.. one of the things I don't want to have business for is that I'm not a business person, I'm not driven by profit, but unfortunately I need money to survive this life!   
posted by MoonLightShadow at 2:50 PM, | 0 comments