I graduated from high school in 1996. Yes! 1996! It’s been over 12 years and I’m ready to go back to school. It’s been a long process of numerous dead-end retail jobs, vocational school, unemployement, and a year’s worth of working for myself that led to more unemployment. It’s time for a change.
Not having clear, concrete goals in mind for myself, I failed to pursue possible career options early on. I messed around in high school-failing most of the ninth grade. I went on independent study during the second semester of the tenth grade and never went back to regualr classes. I made up every class I failed and graduted from high school in mid-March, only a few weeks after my seventeenth birthday.
After graduating, I did something I never thought I would do. I left Los Angeles. I was born and raised in LA and figured I would stay there my whole life. I went to Sacramento for a few months. Soon after, I moved to Seattle and then Charolette, North Carolina. But the south did me in. I’m a vegetarian and that alone was enough to bring out a lot of opposing view points of the local folk. I imagine if they really got to know me, I would be pelted with rocks until I ran out of town. I quickly moved back to Los Angeles.
I spent nine years working in various retail jobs in LA, when in 2005, I was run down enough from making barely above minimum wage to attempt going to school. I again left Los Angeles and attended the Baking & Pastry Arts Program at California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.
Pun intended-the school left a bitter taste in my mouth. The education was less than stellar. A’s in classes are handed out. All you have to do is show up. My wedding cake final in Cakes class was not the work of an A student. Yet, I got one anyway. There was no real critic on any of the desserts or breads I made.
After graduating from the eight-month program, I stayed in the Bay Area for a year. Baking bread was my new love. But, I found myself exactly where I started except with a lot more debt-in dead in jobs. Opportunities to work in a bakery are slim compared to working in a restaurant. All I was landing was restaurant jobs.
I fell in love with the Bay Area but I moved back to LA because of the person I loved more. (I don’t recommend it.) The relationship ended as I was beginning my position as assistant pastry chef at a diamond-rate French restaurant. The horrible conditions of that kitchen led me to cry almost every night after getting off from a 13 or 14-hour shift. The minimum wage wasn’t worth the prestige of having that name on my resume. I couldn’t take having raspberry sorbet or being cussed at in French anymore. The overall lack of respect led me to quit after four weeks.
I soon started working for myself personally baking breads for my friends. I worked out great for a while. Word of mouth was getting around. But it was short lived when I lost the large kitchen in the house I was sharing with my ex.
I ended up in retail again…retail, retail, retail. It’s something I’m good at but I do not enjoy. It’s where I am now and I’m miserable. I want to get out and I want to get out for good.