In the midst of his busy season, Kelly Greens G&CC’s Executive Chef Drew Tait strives to find a work-life balance that best suites him.
The air is cool, humidity is low and traffic has begun to pick up. You can feel the energy buzz around Kelly Greens G&CC as the season begins to come back in South West Florida. As members come home from their northern roosts they breathe life back into our golf course, activities center, snack bar and restaurants. For chefs and others in the club industry, this is the time of the year when balancing work responsibilities with personal responsibilities is most challenging. It is also the time of year when our club makes most of our revenue and our team members earn most of the income that will carry them through the off-season.
For me, it always brings a sense of excitement mixed with a foreboding sense of anxiety as we prepare for our busiest time of year. I begin to reflect on our preparations from over the summer and ask myself questions like: Is the team ready? Have we trained enough? Is everyone healthy? Will everyone be able to deal with the physical work load? Do we have enough team members?
I try and run through many different scenarios in my head to prepare for the different curve balls that will fly our way over the coming weeks. We are in the midst of a post-Thanksgiving menu change to welcome our members back with something different then what we did during the summer. (This also gives the team a chance to get dialed in on prep and execution before the really busy part of season hits.)
This time of the year most of my time and energy is spent preparing the kitchen for the craziness of the season. But it is also when I have to work my hardest to balance life at home with life at work. Working longer hours and later nights cannot be an excuse to not spend as much time with my family as I can. Even when I get home late I try and help around the house, take time to play with my son and talk with my wife. My wife and I always try to eat dinner together even if I’m not home until 11pm. This gives us some time alone to decompress and discuss our days. I am fortunate that my wife and I have been together a long time. (We are actually middle school sweethearts.) She’s been through every season of my career with me and understands the strains this profession can have on a relationship better than anyone. I tell my loved ones all the time that I miss them and I long for the relaxing days of summer when I get the most time with them.
But I also love the rush of this time of year, the challenge of making it through and the joy of making our members happy. It’s a bittersweet feeling to sacrifice one for the other. But thankfully, our season is not year round.