The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking as a job

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Sean McFarlane's picture
Sean McFarlane

Baking as a job

Calling all those woho wake up when everyone else is going to sleep to start work!  I have an oprotunity to apply for a bakers postion were i work, and am wondering how the schedual works with day to day life and activities.   Thank you for any and all replies.

mcs's picture
mcs

What are these 'life and activities' of which you speak?


-Mark

Sean McFarlane's picture
Sean McFarlane

you know, someoutdoor activiyies after work? mowing the lawn? cleaning the house?

mcs's picture
mcs

I was just giving you some grief.


As the bakers mention below, it depends on your hours and current lifestyle.  At the bakery I used to work at, all of the bakers had different shifts with each of them overlapping by a couple of hours.  For instance one person worked 5PM-1AM, I worked 7PM-3AM, someone else 9PM-5AM...  I liked my hours and they allowed me to pick up a coaching job at a high school working from 3PM-530PM in the spring time.  In the winter, I'd sleep until 10AM, then I could make it up to the ski area for a half-day of snowboarding.  My wife worked regular hours so we didn't see each other a whole lot, but we could have dinner together each night and spend days in the summers together since she's a teacher. 


In some ways you can get more done than people with regular jobs, and if you live in a place with short daylight in the winter, at least you're waking up when the sun is up.  Baking is very hard work, but at the end of each night you can really feel like you accomplished something and sleeping comes easy.


-Mark

Sean McFarlane's picture
Sean McFarlane

sorry, the sarcasm in my reply does not come across on the net :P, it was understood.

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Hi SEAN


Well if you work during the night then try to sleep during the day, it does take a bit of a toll, even when you have sign on the door "SHIFT WORKER SLEEPING DO NOT DISTURB' some one will still KNOCK on the door. And when you have young kids just the normal noises of houshold activities will interupt your sleep, you have to be ruthless and turf out visitors  going to bed early in the evening if you are starting early am.


SOCIAL life does take a big hit. On the up side you get to go to kindergarten and be one of the few dads there with your kids.


Most of my time as a baker the routine was 2 am start till about 9am thursdays was back again for a double shift 8pm to 8am (no saturday or sunday baking then) taking most of the weekend to recover and a 1am start on mondays.


My last job as the dough maker saw a 8pm start working alone untill 1 am when the foreman came in to fire up the ovens and put through the first fruit dough before the rest of the crew arrived knock off time was 4 am into bed by 5 am kids and the house waking up about 7am.


working in the hot bread shops was a little better with 5 am starts and mid afternoon finishes.


I gave it all up when the bakery that i worked at was closing down (part of a major multinational chain) and instead of a 10 minute journey to work  a trip over the otherside of town was on offer so instead i took a job with the government run bus company and spent 21 years driving buses achieving an 18 year unbroken safe driving award (no bingles) gave that up when the government decided to outsource the labour side of the operation. Doing the same job for less money wasn't that appealing to me or for 460 colleagues most with 20 odd years of experiece. 9,200 years of experience just pushed aside replaced by green drivers. Some of the mates that stayed say its not working and very few are staying more than a few years.


Now i drive a computer and do all the purchasing for a technical college, still within government, much more civilised 7.45 to 1600 monday to friday 10 minutes from home. and best of all A small bakery section within the hospitality section and even managed to get a wood fired oven built there too so i am still able to use some of those trade skils  i learnt so long ago, its great when i get a request to join in and take a class with some of the young chefs and a few of the students that are really keen on bread making.


Next stop retirement (soon)


If you love bread and bakeing go for it, in the 10 years i spent in the trade i was only ever out of work for 1 week in between jobs i have been flown to contry towns and worked at many locations away and still love visiting bakeries when im on holiday.


I hope to be doing that a lot more soon.


kind regards Yozza

Sean McFarlane's picture
Sean McFarlane

Thank you for your relpy, kind of what i was getting at, was just wondering waht toll it took to change the hours, for a sinlge man like myself, i think i shiuld give it a shot, i'm jstu tired of not KNOWING what tiems im going to be schedualed the next week, the predictablitly(and the fact that i do like to bake) lures me...

Chausiubao's picture
Chausiubao

Every bakery's different, my own shift begins at 3:00am and ends in the early afternoon. I sleep around 8:00pm and I leave the house at 2:00am to get to work.


I might need a nap in between coming home from work and getting to sleep, but life just has to keep rolling no matter what your hours are. I still go places, spend time with friends, and do side projects. Getting used to the hours isn't the greatest adjustment that we must make as professional bakeries.


I believe that proper use and maintenance of the body is the greatest transition required. It takes time to learn what you can do, how much you can lift, how far is too far when it comes to any of the tasks that you will be asked to do in a bakery. Working in a bakery is more then baking, it is also heavy lifting, and sharp mental planning.


Theres no way to know how fast you'll transition to working odd hours, just give it a try and see how it goes.


--Chausiubao

Franko's picture
Franko

When I started my baking career some 21 years ago, my previous occupation was as a bartender. I'd been doing that for 15 years. working nights until 2:00AM. Believe me when I tell you that making a complete 360 as far as my sleeping pattern and social life were concerned was ... difficult, to say the least.  However, I was intent on my new career choice and decided that if I was going to make it work I'd have to accept some changes. Nowadays I actually find it a better lifestyle than I would have imagined way back then. I did find it really tough when I was single, living in a small town and trying to meet someone new but then this great thing came along called the Internet and voila , problem solved. Met the love of my life and married her. So what I'm saying is it's what you decide to make of it. If you enjoy the craft and are interested having a lifelong learning experience, which baking is, then take the leap. The trade has a way of telling you fairly early on if it's for you or not. Don't expect to earn more than a middle class income and enjoy the fact that you are gainfully employed in an ancient and honorable craft that people depend on.


Good luck and best wishes Sean,


Franko

Sean McFarlane's picture
Sean McFarlane

I had pretty much already decided to take a go at it, jsut needed a little confidence booster(great to be young eh?), as i can be a bit indecisive, thanks guys!

arlo's picture
arlo

Pretty much like Chausiubo said, it is the same for me; up at 2 am, home roughly by 12 and in bed by 7:30 to 8:00 pm. With this schedule I still manage to go to college taking 11 to 12 credits a semester, talk to friends and keep a great relationship with my fiance.


It's hard work, but I really do not want to trade for anything else. I have more pride in my job than any other one I have held and I also wake up with a smile knowing I am doing something good!


Also, on days I do not work, I still get up around 4-5 am each morning.


And yes, I still bake lots and lots and lots at home, regardless of how floury my hands are when I come home.