“Don’t forget to recognize that your health and home life take work, time and attention. Recognize that you only get the one mind and body, and that’s where everything else comes from. „
Some people will teach you how to play the game. They’ll give you insider information. But some people will show you that in the game, the rules are arbitrary, and we can literally change them! Those moments have been the most important.
I knew this profession was right for me when it combined my altruistic principles with skills that provided me with “flow”. So not only could I practice butchery from a skills perspective, but the way I sourced and butchered could also help battle climate change and the unjust industrial food system.
Maintaining a healthy work/life balance is a process. Some days it works, some days it doesn’t. So being forgiving to myself is helpful, as is asking for help.
I found a tip that said to track everything you do. I use Google Calendar. It seems like overkill, but it is super useful! Especially now that I’m largely in charge of myself and the goals are always shifting, it's easy to lose a lot of time to a task that isn’t truly very important. This way, I know exactly where my day went and whether I should feel good about it, or if I should rethink my work flow tomorrow.
"Butchery" by Adam Danforth is an essential read. It’s important to learn about this industry and skillset from someone who also believes in sustainability and equity. The fact is that many people, often of a certain older age and also conservative values like to dictate what seems possible (even down to whether it’s possible for BIPOC to be figures of authority). So they’ll say, “you can’t do that,” but why? Because that’s how it’s always been? Well, no friend, we don’t accept that around here.
Unfortunately, much of the culture in professional cooking and butchery revolves around emotionally and mentally abusive management. So the self-awareness to see what is and isn’t abuse from leadership has helped keep me from staying in abusive environments that would have certainly prevented me from founding Butchery 101. Hard work is vital, but you need to recognize that your hard work should benefit you too.
Online learning has always been a part of my journey because so few whole animal butchers are around. Even the handful of shops in my city weren’t always hiring, and big white dudes were literally gate-keeping.
I have hope that when people know better, they do better. This keeps me going.
When hiring, I look for skills that are complementary to my own – that way our partnership can benefit from wider areas of expertise. In terms of attitudes, it’s very important to me now that people and brands are able to acknowledge injustices in the world and try to combat them. For example, even if you don’t know how exactly to be anti-racist or environmentally sound, the desire to do better is still huge to me. At some point, all I had was a desire to do better, and that has led, and still leads, to all of my proudest professional moments.
Disclaimer: Individuals featured in the Inspirational Career Timelines section have been nominated by peers, colleagues and/or other members of the hospitality industry. It is to the best of our knowledge that each individual has demonstrated leadership and acted as a positive role model for others.
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