Why are hospitality workers leaving their dream jobs?

An investigation by BBC Worklife claims that there is a sharp increase in the number of people leaving their ‘dream jobs’ to find job security and stability in other industries. Traditionally, people have always sought work that reflects their interests and passions - however, it seems now more people are willing to draw a line of separation between ‘passion’ jobs and their at-home passions.

Passion versus pay

The narrative of “do what you love” seems to be falling out of fashion - does ‘passionless’ but secure jobs give us more time for our passions in the long run? It seems that many people are starting to think so. ‘Dream jobs’ are becoming associated with more work for less pay and under stressful conditions, which ultimately translates into less time and fewer resources. Facing more financial pressures, fewer people are willing to put effort into so-called ‘dream jobs’ when there is other work out there that might be passionless, but it may pay well and offer the benefit of security and stability.

There is also the issue that workers in ‘dream’ or ‘passion’ jobs are more likely to work for less - and this often leads to them being taken advantage of. How often have we taken on poorly paid work because we think it could give us a “step up” in the industry? Most of us will have a story like that we could share. Unpaid labor is also common: according to one 2020 survey of UK creative workers, 47% of under-30s said they had done an unpaid internship to secure their dream job.

Working your way up

People across many industries will often work for little, or even nothing, with the belief that they will ‘work their way up’ to a successful and secure job - but what happens once we reach that milestone? The BBC’s article features an interview with a former pastry chef who had worked his way up to become a commis chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Scotland by the age of 25 - confectionary was his passion, and by all accounts, it seemed he had made it in his dream job, “it’s all I cared about”, he said.

Nevertheless, only one year later he diverted career paths and dropped out of work to begin studying software development at university. Why the dramatic change in direction? He sights being overworked, underpaid and underappreciated. “From 19 to 25, that whole period of my life, I just sort of sacrificed.” Despite running a pastry section and taking on senior roles at just 25 years of age, the then-hospitality felt like pay and quality of life were not reflected in the effort he put in. Unfortunately, this is becoming a trend in our industry as staff retention drops and more people are looking elsewhere for job security.  

People used to leave their ‘passionless’ jobs to train in their ‘dream jobs’ to find a new sense of freedom. Lockdown saw more people turning their hobbies into careers than ever before, with a steep rise in freelancing. However, with rising financial pressures, workers feeling overworked in their passion projects are now jumping ship back to the so-called ‘traditional’ employers in other industries to find freedom in a routine and 9 - 5 structure. Clearly, there are benefits to both sides of this argument, and workers will have to ask themselves the tough question: “What do I want to do in my work?” Or, “what do I need from my work?” The question of what’s best for us is as confusing as ever, and in reality, it only goes to show that people are different, and so have different needs and wants.

Have it both ways: passion and freedom together

With Brigad, self-employment can offer workers a balance between their ‘passion’ jobs and traditional employers. We shouldn’t have to leave our dream jobs - we should be free to explore our passions and our dreams. And that’s what Brigad is building - a world where work is attractive and accessible to all. In reality, we are so closely tied to our passions that we could feel lost within ourselves without these roles.

Even after leaving their dream jobs, many people have become so closely associated with their profession that they may struggle with identity issues. Workers often struggle to separate themselves from their careers. If you’ve spent your life perfecting the art of coffee making, only to stop making coffee, then where do you go from there? But by working as a self-employed professional, you can continue your dream job and balance it with something with a more rigid structure, if that’s what you need from your work.

The opportunity is already here

Wolfe Conyngham, a Head Chef, found himself missing the important moments in his children’s childhoods, burnt out, working extreme hours to keep his passion ‘alive’. But, at that point, he was no longer ‘living his passion’, he was exhausted and missing out on life. After joining the Brigad app, he now tailors his timetable so he’s always available to see his kids before bed, hear about his wife’s day, and enjoy his passion when it suits him.

“For me, the most exciting thing about cooking is that you get to use all your senses collectively…I used to work crazy hours and I was always feeling a bit burnt out, and now that

I have the choice, I have much more of a balanced work life. I get to spend time with my children - I even get to take my kids to school in the morning.’

- Wolfe Conyngham, Head Chef and Brigad User

By finding the balance in freedom and passion, the heaviness of facing another day, because you are sacrificing your independence, no longer exists. When using Brigad, you have the option to choose exactly when and where you work, so if you find the greater variety in venues benefits how you progress in your career, you can focus on exactly that. If you find that working less than 2km from your house means you can get home quickly to relieve childcare, then you can ensure that by filtering your missions.

“Brigad gives you the chance to follow your dreams and your passions”

- Violeta Bocu, Senior Waiter and Brigad User

When working on your terms, you don’t have to choose between passion versus feeling valued. You can choose when and where you work, and maintain a professional image as an self-employed individual. You are the face of your own brand, so Talents find themselves with greater self-worth, as they’ve built up their professional image exactly as they want it to be, on their terms.

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