Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Now What?

by Ron Hayes '02,
     Associate Director of Career Services & Author of Creating Your Culinary Career

“Now what?” is a question many of us have asked ourselves early on in our careers.  I know I did.  Not only did I not have an idea of my next step or the step after that, I was working 10, 12, 14, 16 hours a day, six days a week.  With nearly all of my time and energy devoted to the job, there was no time left to give to planning the next steps of my career.

Or so I convinced myself.

Eventually, after trial and error, I came to work for a company in an entry-level position, a major step down in title and salary. But then a funny thing happened:

I made a plan. 

Not just for the next step, but a long-term plan for growth.  Even more important than making the plan, I acted upon that plan, always looking 2, 3, 5 steps ahead.  Then a funny thing happened:

That initial step down turned into a major step up.

I grew in my career.  Not just in my job—the position I was in right then—but my career, the long-term path.  Part of this growth included writing a book: Creating Your Culinary Career (Wiley, 2013). 

My main goal in writing this book was to provide a resource which I didn’t have (or take advantage of): a guide on how to think and plan ahead for your career. We know in the kitchen that planning=success.  We have the tools, skills, knowledge, and abilities to succeed in a kitchen.  Yet many do not know how to apply that same thinking to our careers.

Creating Your Culinary Career is not a book that will tell you everything you can possibly do in the world of food or with your culinary degree.  What it does provide are things you can do RIGHT NOW to help yourself to grow in your career.  I have personally discovered that managing your career is something that happens RIGHT NOW, continually, not just when you need a job.  It does not take a tremendous amount of time on a daily basis. But it does require continual attention. 

I wish someone had told me that years ago. Which is another reason why I wrote this book, so that aspiring culinarians can have the tools to manage their careers right up front when they need it.  It is all mise en place: better planning earlier = better results later.

This book is a great tool for any culinarian, and an even better tool, available ONLY to students and graduates of the CIA, is our CareerServices team.  As a grad, you have life-long access to a team of people who are there to help you succeed.  I am a part of this team with my boots on the ground working directly with students and graduates to create and implement the career management plans that I wrote about in Creating Your Culinary Career.  

A book is a valuable resource; direct assistance from the person who wrote the book is an even better value.

I, along with the rest of the Career Services team, look forward to helping our students and grads grow in their careers.  We are there for you from the minute you walk in the door and at any point in your career when you find yourself saying “Now what?”

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