Why does my profession have quiet a bit of drug, alcohol abuse and chain smoking?

So I work as a cook since I was 16. I've never really thought of it since it just seemed like everyone around me drank a lot we worked hard and partied harder. But as I got older I started to realize that its not a life style I want to have... being drunk or hung over having band relationships and making bad decisions dou to drinking is a bad life to follow. It's a very male oriented profession so I wonder if it's a bunch of good ol' boys just winding down after long busy nights cooking and these winding down turns into a down ward spiral of substance abuse and alcoholism. It seems like it's a common thing for a large number of co-workers to just drink, use drugs est.. I've had other jobs over the years and never had as many co-workers who go as "hard" out side of work.


Most Helpful Girl

  • Because you work hard and you work unsociable hours, so when you finish you play catch up and then you party longer. Shift work, catering and hospitality, it's camaraderie. You're all working a shit job together, you all party together. I've worked in the industry for a long time and what you say is quite true, a lot of people do live that lifestyle.

    Catering & hospitality are jobs you can walk in and out of, they are always needed, there are always employment opportunities and the job roles don't differ too greatly. This makes it easier for people to swap jobs, move places, live a more nomadic like existence. No roots and no responsibility often leads to extended youthful behaviour.

    It's fun for a while but the hours and partying take their toll, I had to get out of the trade so I could make some money and be a grown up... still not sure it was the right decision!


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What Girls Said 1

  • Being a chef is quite a high pressured job and so it is understandable that some people would want to unwind. However, it might not be the best way to do this. You can always remove yourself from it or if you feel like you might miss out, see them after work but just not participate in drinking or drugs.


What Guys Said 2

  • Good question.

    It seems to be a cultural issue in restaurant kitchens. You hear about it all the time. It's too bad that in all too many kitchens, fitting in means engaging in exactly those behaviors.

    It's good that you're recognized them as damaging. Of course there are kitchens where those habits just aren't considered cool, but that doesn't help if you have an otherwise good job in a sometimes toxic environment.

    This is one of those odd things about the restaurant world. A friend of mine got so tired of it that she did additional courses in nutrition and started working at a hospital. Nice salary, good benefits, good working hours. Also a lot of prestige.

    OR, you could always start your own restaurant. :)

    Good luck man.

  • I don't know. I haven't worked in the food industry for quite a while. I guess maybe the stress of making sure the food is cooked perfectly and sent out as fast as possible?