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OT: pursuing my choice career

i really want to go back to being a chef, but in the private, domestic realm instead of the restaurant/catering business. i desparately need health insurance, though, and i am worried that most household employers do not provide for the cost. does anyone have any experience with this? i live in NJ. i know there are insurance companies that work with free-lancers in NY, but i have had no luck finding the same here. i am also worried about leaving my current position as office manager/CEO assistant. i do all of the book-keeping and i know how hard it will be for my boss to replace me with someone else he trusts with his checkbook (i have known him for over 20 years as a friend, worked for himn for just over 3 years). i shouldn't concern myself with what happens when i leave, though, right? HELP, please!

Wed. Mar 21, 3:18pm

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Any possibility you could keep your current job and build your chef business part-time on evenings and weekends? This is a time-honored way for entrepreneurs to test the market and build up some income before losing the security of a regular job.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007, 5:11 PM

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I was going to suggest the same thing. Perhaps take out an Ad in the paper as a weekend personal chef, or cater some events (start small-small dinner parties and such, till you get back in the swing of things) for personal friends and have them spread the word about your new business. Depending on where you live, you can charge quite a bit-I have a friend who does 5 course dinner parties/wine tastings and charges $150 a head-and easily gets groups of 8-10 on a regular basis. If you love it, you can make it work! good luck!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007, 9:57 PM

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that's actually what i am currently doing and i am running myself down. working a full-time job M-F and then working in the evenings and weekends is just way too much! i am established enough as a chef in my area to not have to worry about getting enough work, but it's the health insurance and leaving my current boss high and dry that really concern me. thanks for your responses!

Thursday, March 22, 2007, 7:58 AM

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Do not allow fear to keep you from pursuing your goals! And by fear I mean the fear that your boss will be unhappy with you or not like you anymore. In the end this is best for him too - how great of an employee will you be exhausted and wanting to be doing something else? Sooner or later you will resent your job and eventually him.

Since one of your sticking points is the thought of leaving him high and dry - don't. Put together a transition plan for leaving and document your responsiblities and how you intend to pass them on. Then talk to your boss. Stress that you need to pursue your career as a chef, but that you are very concerned that you pass on your current responsibilities as smoothly and completely as possible. Let him know that you are working out a plan and discuss it with him. Make notes for the person doing things after you. Maybe don't quit altogether, but just cut back to a couple days a week for awhile after he finds a new person and you train them. Then you can keep an eye on things, step in when you need to, but gradually disengage from your previous level of involvement.

Realize though that he has ultimate responsibility for running things and that he needs to act to make sure that you are able to execute on your transition plan. He will need to hire someone and ensure that you have time to train them. So you will need to work with him to come up with a timeframe for all this that you can both live with. If he refuses to do this or says he will, but then drags his feet - you need to move on with the knowledge that you were willing and able to do the things that were in your power to do..

Sorry, no help with insurance. Best wishes!

Thursday, March 22, 2007, 9:55 AM

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to 955

thanks! that's an excellent plan for an exit strategy!! and totally workable, too. i really cannot begin to consider leaving this current job, though, without the prospect of health insurance. thanks again to those who have already responded!!

Thursday, March 22, 2007, 12:28 PM

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You get to COBRA your benefits from your previous employer for 18 months. You pay for it (probably $300/month), but that's about the same or even less than freelance options available elsewhere. So you can see that as having 18 months to figure out if you can make a go of your business plan.

By the way, I'm self-employed in New York and I don't use the tailor-made freelance plans. I went through an insurance agent who had me join some union for business owners and it gave me access to their Blue Shield plan for...well, now it's up to $390/month. There are other associations you can join, especially through arts/dance/performance guilds, that offer similar stuff (and no, you don't have to be a dancer or anything...I found out about this only after I'd sorted out my insurance needs).

Alternatively...I take it you're not married so can't be added to your spouse's arrangement. Perhaps you have a roommate who can declare you a "domestic partner"? Most insurance providers allow that these days.

Thursday, March 22, 2007, 12:54 PM

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thanks for the tips! unfortunately, i have some health issues that are not covered (unless i switch doctors, and leave the ones who've been seeing me regularly for over 5 years for this condition), so my out-of-pocket expenses are already pretty high. i just couldn't afford an additional $387 a month (for the cobra policy). and, of course, i live alone. i will look into the arts-associated insurance. that's a great idea! thanks again!

Thursday, March 22, 2007, 1:10 PM

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