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Out of the kitchen, into the gym

Can our letter writer break out of his barista job and into the fitness industry?

Think like a thoroughbred, says our elder, and run your own race.

Dear EWC

Hello, I am 25 years old and need advice on how to proceed in life. I am a trained chef and ran my own business that I started when I was 19. I no longer have the business and work as a barista in a cafe. I am currently working towards team leader whilst doing a team leader qualification. The problem is my job feels like it’s going nowhere and I want something sustainable with good pay. I do not want to continue down the chef route as I do not like the hours or the attitude in the kitchen. My dad is constantly on my back about “finding a trade” that no matter if I like it will earn me decent money. I would rather be happy than earn more money. I am vegan, and have a keen interest in the environment and fitness. My dad however says there is no money to be made in the fitness industry. I am just at a loss with what my next step should be as far as a job goes in my life. It’s leaving me with tremendous anxiety and panic attacks as I feel if I don’t use action now I’ll be a failure for the rest of my life. I don’t know what to do and could use some wisdom. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Caring-Friend replies

You know, I think a lot of parents see their children’s lives as really easy to plan. Based upon their own life experience, they direct their offspring down a path that they wish they had taken themselves. First, I consider your finishing an internship as a chef an accomplishment and, if you were starving and homeless, you could make decent money at it—just depends on what type of kitchen you would choose as to whether you were happy or not.

One thing about life is that it is not static, so what you have learned will serve you later—it’s not a waste of your time.

There are health clubs that pay very good money to personal trainers. One idea that came to my mind would be taking your interest in health and your skill in cooking healthy, non-meat dishes and study to be a registered dietician. There are programs here, such as Starting Strength, that will train you in their methods of weight training/lifting for increased health (my son is currently training with them). My chiropractor attends a gym and pays a high fee to a personal trainer—a young man about your age who has trained in fitness and health—and that young man contracted with him for a year-long program/regimen of exercise, purging, healthy eating with a specific goal in mind for percentage of body fat decrease and muscle strength improvement.

I advise you step back and take an honest assessment of your skills and your desires for how you want to use them. Don’t worry about working as a barista—just use it to pay bills for now while you get your plan worked out. Not everyone does things on the same timetable. Be a thoroughbred—get your plan worked out, put your blinders on and run your own race!

Letter #: 419279

Category: Career

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