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Quitting to bake

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Have you ever considered, even for a moment, leaving your job to take one in the food industry? While career changes in and of themselves are nothing new, coverage of them is, thanks to food-focused blogs, tv networks and larger newspaper food sections. Stories about leaving a corporate job to take up cooking on the line or to open up a bakery seem downright common.

Hearing a success story makes it seem easy and glamorous, encouraging when you share that same dream as those who have gone down that road before you, even despite the oft-mentioned 20-hour days needed to pull off an opening and get products out into the shop to sell. But working in the restaurant industry can be even more uncertain than jobs in other fields, and going out on your own increases that risk. The odds of success are probably fairly low, although the rewards of doing something you’re passionate about can be great.

This past weekend, the New York Times had a great piece about bakers who followed their dream and moved into the baking field, with an emphasis on cupcakes. It is definitely worth a read if this is something that you have ever considered, even if it was only in a passing moment, just to see what it takes.

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  • Gigi
    June 5, 2007

    After 13 years, I left my Wall Street job and I’m now in the process of opening my own bakeshop out in the ‘burbs. Fortunately for me, the area I live in is overrun with families and high-income types, but there isn’t a bakery anywhere within a 10 mile radius. Seriously – the only place to buy a cake or a cookie is the supermarket.

    I know it will mean hard work, long hours and a dramatic change in my lifestyle, but at least I’ll get the benefit of everything I put into it. I think that’s part of the attraction for people who leave corporate jobs to open their own food businesses. Nobody likes to put their heart and soul into something only to have a greedy CEO or some other corporate executive reap all the rewards.

  • Joanna
    June 5, 2007

    The idea has definitely gone through my head. I think, I could drop everything and even just work in a grocery-store bakery, or any place, to get experience and see how a business is run, then go out on my own.
    Alas, some job like that would pay less than half what I’m making at my “practical” job. Instead, I work now, save money, and dream of having a bed and breakfast someday, in retirement.

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