Friday, January 8, 2010

Chef's Hours

My husband's family owns a restaurant and for a very long time my husband worked there.  He would work part time, sometimes full time and sometimes full time in addition to another full time job.  It was a lot.  And if you know anything about the restaurant business, the hours are not kind to those who are close the workers.

When we became engaged and then when we got married we discussed right away that once we started having a family chef's hours were out of the question.  In the early, early infant years maybe it wouldn't be a big deal.  But once our kids grew older and started becoming involved in things, chef's hours would become quite a detriment to family time.  We agreed that one, MAYBE two, nights a week to help dad out was enough.

And that's what it was. 

Yes, there have been spurts- because of emergencies- where my husband has worked constantly.  There was a point where my brother-in-law, the head chef, had to take a leave of absence from the restaurant and my husband worked 8 to 5 at his then day job and then 5 to 10 or 11 at the restaurant.  THOSE were long days for everyone.

But, we thought that we were past that. 

The husband was just working Sunday afternoons/evenings and even those were starting to slow down a bit.  Having the extra cash was nice and it gave the husband a chance to be with his dad and brother and cook, something he enjoys, and be in a place where the memories of his mom are still pretty strong.

Plus, the chef's hours were not present.  It worked really well.

About 3 years ago the husband left his sales job to head back to retail management because, really, he enjoys it and it pays SIGNIFICANTLY better than sales- if you can believe that (and he was a top performer in his sales position).  Initially, we were really happy with the move.  He was loving the job- and he still does.  He works with some really great people.  And his company, well, his company takes care of their employees in an ethical and fair way.  They are wonderful company to work for.  Truly.

But the hours.  Oh, the hours.

The husband has recently been transferred to a new store and he's one of the guys in charge of opening up this new store.  The company just bought this store and are in the process of turning it into "their" store.  The amount of work and effort is astounding.

I haven't seen my husband for more than 10 minutes in the last two weeks.

Sometimes, I'm a little ok with weeks like that.  Recently, not so much.

Last night he wasn't home before midnight.

This morning he was at work at 6:30.

Tomorrow, who knows.

Those chef's hours are starting to look pretty good.

One of the other pieces about working at his family's restaurant that my husband didn't enjoy, besides the hours, was the tension that was often present.  He is the "baby" of the family and often his ideas and suggestions were and are discounted.  My father-in-law and brother-in-law, not unlike my husband, are quite stubborn and want things done their way.  Unfortunately, they don't like to take too many chances and my husband will.  So, there was always tension.  Not bad but not great.

When the husband took on this new job it was as if a weight had been lifted.  He left a crappy ass sales job where the company was terrible and paid quite poorly.  And went to a job where he was listened to and appreciated.  He would come home from work tired and sometimes stressed but his days were far more enjoyable.  No longer was he was stressed working for his family and a terribly unfair company, to boot.  He was finally in a place where he was happy.

He still is.

That, his happiness, is the ONLY thing keeping me from freaking out right now.  I find these hours to be ridiculous- especially since he's not paid hourly.  I think it's unfair that my children rarely see their father, now.  I hate that haven't seen my husband in days.

But, this too shall pass.  And it will get better.  And we will see each other. 

But, seriously, chef's hours....not so bad, right now.


CrAzY Working Mom said...

I worked in retail for 7 years and I don't miss a minute of it! I've never been a chef, but I'm sure that I agree with you...the hours are probably much better and maybe less stressful.

Merrily Down the Stream said...

Dang if that 'Careful what you wish for' thing doesn't just bite ya in the arse sometimes. I know how you feel. I am sometimes a work widow and it is hard to speak up - he does the majority of the work and makes more of the money but I didn't sign up for this parenthood gig thinking I'd do it alone so much. Ah, what's a girl to do? Pass me the chocolates...

-K. said...

I hear ya. I sometimes treasure the moments after the kids are in bed and the house is quiet and I get time. to. myself. But it gets old fast. Hang in there. xoxo

Leendaluu said...

crap on a cracker. I left you a looooooooooooooong comment and blogger didn't like it. Short version: it sucks being middle class. We all work hard and sacrifice family life. Can you incorporate your family into the chef life? the family that cooks together.....

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