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What's your job and are you happy with it?

What do you do for a living and does it make you happy ?

I will break the ice and tell you that I am a crime scene investigator with seventeen years of police experience. I like the forensic aspect but too much sadness in the world and I see too much of it up close and personal so the happiness level isn't where I would like it to be. I would love to open my own little cafe somewhere. Cooking for people that appreciate it always makes me happy and I'm known around the office for my culinary works. My dream would be to have the cafe and on Thanksgiving and Christmas cook a HUGE feast and feed everyone for free those days. It tears me up to see the squalor that some babies have to live in and just being able to do that would make me happy.

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    1. I teach writing at the college level (or try to) and write a food column for a local paper. I also coach soccer, and sit on a couple of boards. The teaching is getting me down lately, and I wish I could do more freelance research, which I do on occasion. I find it engrossing.

      1. I'm an executive assistant for the president of a real estate investment company. It sounds fancy but it's really not. Very casual office and he really doesn't need me, but he thinks he does, so that's fine with me. The job itself is fine, pretty boring. My boss is awesome and I get to spend most of the day playing on the internets, and if I need time off I just take it. I've been in and out of the real estate industry since 2001, starting when I was 19, but I went to school for interior design in Chicago and spent some time in the past doing design work for developers... I'd like to get back into doing that to expel my creative energy. Something food education related would be great too... if I didn't already have lots of student loan debt I would probably go back to school to get a nutrition degree.

        I've been toying with the idea of starting up a food blog aimed at folks trying to lose weight or who are just "calorie aware" eaters. I also would want to give "cooking lessons" on the blog. There's a lot of folks who want to eat healthy but have no clue how, and they don't know how to cook either.

        3 Replies
        1. re: juliejulez

          I'd sign up for that blog. Lost almost 100 lbs few years ago and have managed to keep most of it off but still have 20 to go that I've been fighting for a year now.

            1. re: kevin

              So do I. I got laid off in July :)

              I'm now a contract manager at a real estate company... handle the contract from the time an offer comes in until it closes. Much more to do during the day than the last gig! Overall like the new job better, but on the more stressful days, I miss the old one where I got paid to watch Netflix.

          1. MaddysDaddy, you should, but consider a day or 2 here and there year 'round. it's easy to get volunteers on those big holidays, much harder to get folks making sack lunches driven around in a van on any old Wednesday for the ones who won't go near a shelter. contact a faith or community based organization in your area. many have small programs that need money more than a hand, but they'll accept anything and don't proselytize.

            it is an admirable sentiment but you can't carry the world on your shoulders alone (as nice an idea that is for us all).

            I've been looking into Meals on Wheels where I am in rural US, (I like food, I like driving, I like older and infirm people) but there's not many ops.

            1. On my fourth(?) career, and am now running my own personal chef business. Tons of variety, which is my choice. Some of my most gratifying work involves teaching and catering for community organizations. I oversee the (weekly, free) community meal program for a local church, as the only paid staff.
              My main motivations for opening the personal chef business: desire to be self-determined in my choice of clients and level of income (low-ish); ability to choose variety of stability; low overhead; can choose my own hours of work, which is different than working in restaurants; age-related desire for somewhat less physically demanding work. I particularly love being supported in a desire to provide really good and healthy food for people who otherwise don't have access. The community conference catering is pretty uplifting; especially when they want locally-sourced supplies.
              I find that most private dinner party and catering clients are super appreciative, but some are merely full of unexpressed expectation and a sense of entitlement.

              1. There is a very lengthy thread, active now for several years (and still current) on what posters here do for a living. Read all about it here:


                1 Reply
                1. re: janniecooks

                  Is that the thread I foolishly started ? :)

                2. I retired recently. I have had 40 years in retail. I've been a buyer, sale manager, and sales person and doing some visuals. My speciality is table top and housewares. Perfect for me. I was a Home Ec Ed major in collage. After practice teaching I decided teens are nuts and that I'd prefer to use my knowledge in a different arena.

                  I did work for Kroger in a store and was on hand for any customer who wanted information on how to cook, use, shop, dietary info etc. After a couple of years I'd had enough, 8 hours a day in a store like that was just too much noise.

                  1. I'm a kitchen designer, and love every minute of it except the part when the economy collapses for 5 years and there's not much going on in the housing market. It's looking better these days, thank goodness!
                    I'm also a Master Gardener Volunteer, working with grammar school kids and teenagers in the vegetable and flower gardens, and teaching them about horticulture.

                    1. I'm a stay at home mom. Spent 5+ years working as an assistant. Really appreciate being "home" and around now.

                      1. I quit my job 2 weeks ago to go back to college. Except for three years that I spent in college the first time, I have been a truck driver for the past 20 years (and I taught truck driving during college, so I still count it). A lifetime ago I was a paramedic then a Navy Corpsman, so I am going back into the medical field and earning my nursing degree with plans to eventually earn my Masters degree in Hospital Administration. This summer I am taking Anatomy and Physiology 120 then A&P 130 so I can take Microbiology (among other classes) this fall. This spring I will apply for the nursing program starting next fall.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: PotatoHouse

                          Turns out that I got into the nursing program this fall!!!
                          I am 4 weeks away from finishing my first semester in the nursing program. This semester has taken us from the mundane (giving bed baths) to the nerve-racking (pulling and passing meds) to the downright bizarre (simulated feces made from chocolate). We have lost about 8 students so far this semester.
                          I am very happy in the program although it is very intense and I will be happy when the semester is over so I will know I am returning next semester.

                        2. I have worked in dependency court (foster kids) for 14 years.... And have seen every kind of horror done to kids. I now work a little more removed, in that I work at the state level supporting local programs. My job makes me very happy, but I knew I needed to get off the front lines for my sanity and well being. Take care of yourself! This has nothing to do with food, so I will add, cooking was and is a source of relaxation and creativity that really helped me.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: karenfinan

                            No kidding! EBCLO? I'm a certified law clerk for Legal Aid Society in Contra Costa. My want to practice dependency is what brought me to law school. Just finishing up my 3L year and working as a legal assistant doing workers' comp to pay the rent.

                            ETA: Law school is torture, but I love my jobs.

                          2. Certified cook. Manager of a Deli/ Meat Shop. Drummer on weekends for about 30 years now.

                            I wish it was reversed.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: RochCusine

                              Thought I'd be retired by now but work part-time at two wine bars. Love the customers and the work but one is a very nice place to work for and the other not so much. Owned our own for a while but had to sell in the recession. Great business to work in if you can find a place you enjoy. 1.5 out of 2 on the happiness scale.

                            2. I'm a housewife and I'm pretty happy with it :)
                              It affords me lots of time to check out all sorts of grocery stores and food shops and cook until my little heart's content.
                              When I left the working world, I'll admit that I was a little lost. But that's when I really got into cooking and food in general and all that goes with it like herb gardening, hunting down a certain cookbook, and of course getting in lots of exercise so I can eat all that food, haha!
                              Soon, I'll have less leisure time as my grandfather's coming to live with us. He doesn't need a caretaker, but companionship. And late in the fall we'll start looking for a house or decide to build, either of which is a long process.

                              1. 5 years teaching swimming and gymnastics at the downtown Pittsburgh YMCA. 4 years college where my parents would not allow me to have a part time job during school. Getting a B.S. in Oceanography was a full time job. 11 years in the US Army. 8 in Germany. 20 years as a husband. 23 years and counting as a father. Almost 30 as a landlord. 24 as a Realtor on the Space Coast of Florida. Liveaboard a 24 foot sailboat for the last 6 years. Volunteered one day a week in the local schools for 8 years. Cooking from the age of 6 when I was responsible for made from scratch pancakes on Saturday mornings. Have traveled so far to 29 countries and 48 US states at my own expense.

                                I have been a multi-millionaire, and am now a multi-hundredaire. And I have been truly blessed by the people in my life, and the experiences I have had so far. Now if I could only get the boat to Europe so I can live on the canals for two years. Wintering over at St Katherins docks in London and next winter in Maritime Bastille in Paris.

                                6 Replies
                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    For the last 6 years. Need to get a bigger boat if I should ever be lucky enough to find a mermaid.

                                    1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                      Some of my lady friends would find your story not only compelling but fun.

                                  2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                    It is my dream to retire onto a live aboard. I'm more a power boater than sailor, and at 6'4 300lbs might need a wider beam than a 24ft sail might offer.

                                    Live the dream whatever it is.

                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                      I have absolutely no problem with power boaters. If the carrying costs fit your budget, a 28 to 30 foot trawler is down right sybaritic. And with the generator, power is plentiful. A gentle knock on the hull, and I trade 20 lbs of snapper or grouper for a 2 lb or larger block of ice. Which is not wasted on soda, but used for Martinis.

                                      Almost daily diving for dinner results in a 30 to 40 lb weight loss every cruise to the Bahamas. Just don't stay in marinas. I eat LOTS of sushi and sashimi underway.

                                    2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                      Living aboard a 24' boat? You have learned how to live with the essentials. I used to own a 30' Pearson but didn't live on it. Cruised coastal New England on it. Thought about buying a bigger boat at one point and moving on board with my girlfriend at that time. Glad I didn't do that. One of my goals is to spend 2-3 years making my way south from the Bahamas to Tobago. But I want a bigger boat to do it in. I have way too much stuff to fit on a 24'. More like too much crap. Lots of good food to eat on the way down.

                                    3. Have pretty much been a student/teacher my whole life. Have taught a WIDE range of students... 1-2nd graders in inner city, male inmates who were basically illiterate, 1st generation college students iin remedial classes, middle school at charter schools (worst gig for me), GED/ESL/ABE at a community college.

                                      Worst thing was losing a job at 60 when grant money ran dry. Virtually impossible to get into a public school without KNOWING someone or having special ed certification. And havingYEARS of experience, a BS and Masters was NOT an asset?? Have been working as a teacher aide with special needs kids for past 2 school year and LOVE it! Real "retirement" (mostly financially) is NOT in the picture for me right now... TWO years of unemployment and STEADY job hunting pretty much killed my budget for the future.

                                      1. We both retired, DH end of December, me in March/April. I am loving it. After 40 years retail as sales manager, buyer, and trainer in china, crystal, flatware, housewares, etc. I was ready. We both are happy, we've not driven each other crazy yet. We have lots to do to get the house ready to sell and move to Savannah.

                                        Now I have the time to cook and not be so tired that I did not care what I cooked, can have parties etc. It is nice that I can just sit and read a book.

                                        1. I am in the financial services industry. The background of my business is based in mortgage banking, of which I have been an independent mortgage banker for 23, of my 43 years of life.

                                          Some notable's of my career have been my company being mentioned on the pages of Money Magazine, Wall Street Journal and various other local periodicals. In 2005 I was granted a Congressional Appointment on the Business Advisory Council for financial reform. Between 2005 & 2006 I was invited to two White House Dinners. I resigned my "post" after 2 years as it was obvious the position was simply an attempt at public relations, rather than any attempt to heed our advice. Needless to say the recession was shortly thereafter, followed by a near collapse of our real estate and lending markets. (You should have listened to us!!!!!)

                                          I have dabbled over the years in other forms of real estate investment. I have also ventured into the restaurant, club, bar business over the years, currently I still maintain an "interest" in a few locations in NJ. (None that I ever post about on Chowhound!!)

                                          Life has been far better to me than I deserve.

                                          1. I actually do not have a job right now, I'm still in college, but I am currently working at the DA's office for my internship. It's okay, but if I had to work there on a more permanent basis I'd jump off of a bridge. Of course my mother wants me to be a paralegal. Ugh.

                                            1. I'm retired and have been for nearly 10 years. And it still makes me ecstatic - after a working life of poorly paid, unfullfilling government clerical jobs. The only consolation from all the fucking tedium was the pension that allowed me to piss off from work in my 50s (albeit on a greatly reduced pension).

                                              1. An Administrative Manager for the past 15 or so years. Prior to that for 19 years - legal secretary, admin. assistant, and Executive Assistant.

                                                Do I like it? :::Shrug::: It's just a job. Nothing notable in my life, as others have had.

                                                1. I am a Motosport (motorcycle, ATV, PWC, Boat, snowmobile, scooter) insurance specialist. I love my job!! My clients are interesting and entertaining. They love their toys.
                                                  Even the few unpleasant clients are entertaining!!

                                                  1. Been in retail my whole life. I have been a sales associate, store manager, district manager, buyer, planner, senior exec, the works. Recently took a couple years off but am now back in corporate, working quasi full time doing financial planning.

                                                    It is somewhat satisfying but I am really working for the bennies. Health insurance was way too expensive for me to continue being a SAHM. If I could have swung it I would gotten a part time job at WS or Sur La Table. I am gadget and cookware junkie.

                                                    1. I'll chime in hereā€¦I'm a Virtual Assistant, i.e.: I provide executive assistant services as a contractor to various clients, remotely. I have recently expanded my services to working with chefs, particularly YouTube chefs, so as to tie in my love of cooking with my business.

                                                      1. Teach cooking classes, do small catering events and test recipes. But even better is the fact that my husband and I are able to retire to Europe in 2014 while we are still in our early 40s. We can hardly wait! We are tossing around a few ideas for projects to keep our minds fresh.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: chefathome

                                                          Husband and I retired in our 40's as well. We traveled around, spent our days doing things from our bucket list, and then got bored out of our minds. So... we both went back to school. I'm done (got my AM) and now am writing novels and custom-made SW programs for companies and he's getting his PhD.
                                                          I wish you all the luck in the world!

                                                          1. re: acssss

                                                            Good for you! How interesting you pursued higher education after your travels. My husband and I have few projects on the go in Croatia, too, including possibly restoring an old stone ruin on our property into a little guesthouse. We will be picking olives and harvesting grapes and so on. We are thrilled we are able to do this and cannot wait to see what our future life will be like in Europe. We are also open to and welcome change. :-)

                                                        2. I'm a sheet slitter. I slit sheets. I'm best sheet slitter that ever slit a sheet. ;)

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. Well I'll wade in, since the title contained the words "job" and "happy" caught my attention.

                                                            Since early '90s I've been in the public sector, regional government bodies. My roles included mapping analysis, public transit planning, transportation planning and project management. My employers, being big visible targets in the public and media realms, have gone through a lot of changes, much of it contentious and at times even tumultuous. Those things percolated and permeated through the organization and its people. After 17 years I decided it was enough for me, my happiness wasn't worth the paychecks. I went to work for a very small private consulting firm and stayed for just over a year. After that, I moved on to a non-profit organization (where I am at the moment) that provides supporting services to missionaries and churches.

                                                            I am in the process of moving on, and into, a whole new sector I have no previous experience in. A 360-deg change, really. However it'll offer me the diversity of work, challenges and interactions with people that I believe will suit my personality well. And the sector isn't "pressured" in the same sense as some other industries, so there's an element of stability, lifestyle flexibilities and balance between autonomy and teamwork that I think I will really enjoy and benefit from. At this juncture in my life (mid-40's), this will be a blessed new beginning.

                                                            But if I can 'fantasize" for a moment and answer the OP's question, I'd like to move to a smallish town somewhere in the South and open up a cozy diner that is a gathering place. And I'd serve Thanksgiving turkey (and all the fixins'), meatloaf, fried chicken and many other comfort foods 365 days a year. Yessir/Yessum !

                                                            "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.".

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: LotusRapper

                                                              That small town diner in the South sounds pretty great.

                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                Or somewhere in New England, like Vermont or NH. And I'd like the setting to resemble that in the movie Wonder Boys (K. Douglas, T. McGuire) with that bit of Fall melancholy feel.

                                                                1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                  That might be difficult year round.

                                                            2. My job right now is to be a student...am I happy with it? No. I hate it. I also run my own catering company and stage on the weekends... but I am always reminded my "job" is to put school first (insert my eye roll here)

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                GOTW, my 26 year old son went to college after high school, studied 5 years (including summer classes) to get his biology degree, and now has spent two years in the US Navy studying nuclear propulsion.

                                                                You probably won't be doing that, but learning never ends. Fortunately, both my sons liked middle and high school, and looked forward to going back when summer ended. My younger son (23) has a degree in Political Science, and is a teacher. Both want to work toward their graduate degrees.

                                                                My husband went to a book signing of Alton Brown when my younger son was in middle school and wanted to be a chef when he grew up. Hubby asked Alton Brown what advice he would give my son. He said, "tell him to go to college and get an education first, then he can cook".

                                                                He teaches all day, and makes wonderful meals at night. He chose not to aim for a culinary career, but he still loves to cook.

                                                              2. I'm an attorney, solo practitioner. It can be a tad isolative... sometimes I wish I worked for a bigger firm, but in the end I love being my own boss. Mostly, but not always.....

                                                                1. I am a fashion designer in nyc- i design womens wovens, nearly ten yrs now, and have worked for some very large companies.
                                                                  Most days i love my job- its what i wanted to be when i grew up, before reality tv and the media glamorized the industry. Never a dull moment, (read: stressful!) and the constant change of what is new and next pushes me creatively.

                                                                  1. Front of the house at a small upholstery/custom furniture shop. I put together estimates for customers, help them design furniture and find fabrics. I love it. It's very relaxed (except when there are four customers in the shop at once!). The pay stinks, but it's worth it not to feel as rotten as I did in my former life(lives).

                                                                    1. I design aftermarket parts for high speed bottling equipment mostly in breweries. Been doing this sort of work for almost forty years and can't think of doing anything else.
                                                                      I basically get paid to hotrod bottle fillers. ;-)

                                                                      1. I work in finance, while I do enjoy it I do not like sitting in front a computer all day! I really enjoy cooking and wish I had more free time to do it and to actually eat what I make. It's too late to cook a full meal by the time I get home and I'm usually trying to get to the gym anyways.
                                                                        I applied to a new bar that's opening locally, would love to bar-tend once a week for the social aspect and to be in a restaurant setting. I have always wanted to run my own restaurant someday. Unfortunately I am over qualified, have limited time and zero bar-tending experience... I'm having a more difficult time getting a job bar-tending than in finance!

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. Manager in non-profit, love it. Great people, interesting work, office in nice part of town. Long hours sometimes is only downside.