Part 3: Going on a Roller-coaster Ride

If you've just stumbled upon this post, get an understanding of what this is about by visiting my journey to developing a career with food.
It’s been a while since unleashing the master plan, but between writing two weekly posts on Gastro World and the assignments from a food writing course at George Brown, it’s been difficult to find time for the personal blog.

Over the last three months, I’ve gone through a roller coaster ride of emotions. Not the swirly nauseating ride like the tea cups; rather the up and downs of something like Behemoth.

The Behemoth. Photo courtesy of Canada's Wonderland
Starting on a High

Like the beginning of Behemoth, as every day passed and changes started adding up, I became progressively excited about the future. Signing up for a food writing course, joining affiliate programs to try to monetize the blog, coming to the realization that money can’t buy happiness … each step raised me higher on the happiness meter and I couldn’t wait to see what was at the crest of the hill.

Starting anything is a wonderful time: I’m energized and as every step passes my goal seems that much more attainable.

Reaching the Crest

Then somewhere in the early spring I reached the top. For a brief moment I was proud of everything I’ve done. For friends who read these personal posts, we’d talk about the achievements and challenges over meals and wine.

However, reaching the crest also means plateauing. I really didn’t know what more I could do and honestly, whether there was time to do more – like cold calling restaurants and people in the food consulting industry to develop a network.

Going Through the Stomach Churning Decline

It’s the part that Behemoth riders know is coming: at any moment you plunge from the high into a deep low valley. Although it wasn’t a quick decline for me, it seemed that as things compounded I eventually hit the bottom of my enthusiasm scale:
  • Through the George Brown course, I learnt how hard it is to make a living off food writing. Unless you’re the hand full of publication writers, you’ll likely need to supplement your income with other things like editing, fact checking or writing non-food related article. 
  • Plus, I’m not a great writer – most assignments only broke the 80% mark (which is good enough to write for small publications but not the really professional ones as my teacher describes).  Certainly, it’s a mark my parents wouldn’t be proud of.
  • Realizing food consultants have some sort of culinary background. Most were executive chefs or restaurant owners. Simply having a developed palette and eating a lot doesn’t qualify me. Sure, I could use my financial background to help restaurants with budgeting and costing. But, I’d rather stick with a big corporation if I’m working with spreadsheets.
  • Even all the alternative sources of income I tried developing has failed. Sheblogs, an ad service, is “continuing to monitor” Gastro World as it doesn’t have enough monthly Canadian viewers. I’ve yet to make one sale through Amazon’s affiliate program. None of the secret diner services I’ve applied for has sent over a job – imagine what a detailed write-up I could give them!

Riding Through the Ups and Downs

Since the low, occurring somewhere in May, there’s been smaller joyful and disappointing moments. Through it all, I’m thankful for the podcasts that have helped change my perspective on the journey (Dr. Robert Puff of the Happiness Podcast is the most useful).

“Dreams are beautiful, they’re wonderful. But, they can cause suffering when you cling too tightly to them.” he suggests.

It was then I realized I was becoming too attached to the idea of developing a career in the food industry. When I first set out to do this, what enticed me was the possibility of living a happier and more fulfilling life. But, as I started working towards it, every step started adding on pressure to generate success. Simply put, the journey was doing the opposite: it was weighing me down and stressing me out.

So, I’ve started changing my attitude: I’m going to let things happen and go along for the ride. Yes, sometimes there will be a success (like being invited to try out restaurants and attend media events) but even if there are set-backs to be grateful for the opportunity and learn from it.

I refuse to let the behemoth journey of developing a fulfilling working career bring me down. This is one ride I’m going to enjoy, no matter what turn the track takes. 

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