Growing up is scary. I’m nearing the end of my career as a student and it has been stressful. My father always pressures me, using numbers like rent and salary to give me perspective on how fucked I am going into the hospitality industry. Thank you, dad, you know exactly what to say to make me feel confident about adulthood. In my college, what we in the hospitality school stress about is getting into management-in-training or MIT programs in restaurant groups or hotels. These programs basically guarantee you a manager position within three years, but they are rigorous and difficult; almost every MIT I had met has burnt out and quit the industry, with the exception of two. That’s how hard it is. For me, I was stressed heavily over trying to become an MIT myself. I thought by getting one in accounting, my life would be set, and then I can reach my 5 year goal of becoming a director of finance. But life, as we all know, does not like to work the way we want it to all the time. For me, the biggest issue was that I could not get hired for this program for accounting as of yet. And it stressed me out. For a while, I thought that this was the only way to shut my father up about my career and future.
I still don’t know if I can get into this program. However, I am confident in my ability to climb ranks and do well in whatever it is that my job is; my experiences with the culture club and food publication show that, with me becoming the presidents’ advisor in three years, and the editor in chief in two. I know that so long as I am given a hand of cards to play with, I have a great chance at winning the game. That’s because I am determined. I don’t want to give up on the life handed to me. Even if my father is a grade-A asshole for trying to freak and stress me out, so long as I ignore him, I know I can get to above where he expects me to go in due time. It’s his impatience and ridiculous sense of urgency that pisses me off, but I know I can do it.
The reason for the title of this post is that I have come to realize that life is full of opportunities: therefore open doors. There are endless possibilities of where you want to go with your life. You don’t have to just stick to one path if that path does not make you happy. I will admit that shifting gears and changing careers can put you behind peers of your age already doing the same thing, but you can push yourself and get to their level, if you really are passionate about it. One example is my sister’s friend, who I shall dub Mitch. Mitch, she started her career in hospitality in her 30s after teaching kids in Asia English and Spanish. She became a front desk agent after that career, so in her really early 30s. And within 1-2 years, she got promoted to being a human resources manager. Not even coordinator. Manager. And she is getting another promotion to become the regional HR manager for the hotel group, and it’s been less than 4 years since she started in this industry. She managed to rise to the same, if not higher level than most of her like-aged peers, in just 3 years. It’s because she found her passion, and ran with it.
I don’t know if hospitality is what I really wanted to do. I only enrolled in the hospitality school because I loved to cook. Granted, cooking for fine-dining was stressful, and cooking for a living, I would need to live in a box for the rest of my life. Honestly, the box does not sound too horrible. The hours don’t either. But I know with where my skillset is at right now, I would need either culinary school, or to keep working in kitchens to get to the same level as people who did go through it. I still don’t understand what is keeping me from completely going back in to the culinary world. With my four experiences with fine-dining, only one went badly. The other three, especially my most recent stint at a James Beard Award winning restaurant, it went phenomenally well. So maybe for me, I didn’t look hard enough. I got too carried away in what my vision of success was. Success, like perfection, they are both terms that are subjectively defined. For me, having a future where I can be financially stable and happy, that is success. Maybe that door will open for me someday. But for now, I keep looking. I keep working, so that I find my way to a feather-light life.