From geek to chef

This past May, when I decided to go on sabbatical I wrote that I needed a break because:

I had no perspective on anything, I was so deep into my world of weblogs and tech that I didn't have much sense of what was going on outside of my geek circles… I've been burning my candle at both ends for years now, and decided it was time to stop. Emotionally I was drained. Physically I was drained.

But that wasn't the full truth of it, because there was something I'd been feeling that I wasn't quite able to admit. It's taken me several months of time away from computers and tech and geeks to accept the fact that computers and technology are not my passion.

My interest in the web and tech was always more about people. With weblogs, it was making it possible for everyone to write online and share and communicate. And while I was doing it, I really did care very deeply about my work — the products we were creating, the people for whom they were built, and the people who worked with me to build them. As my career progressed, I pushed myself to be more visible as a technology speaker, dabbled at freelance writing, and started another tech company. But something was always missing, and I've realized that was true passion for what I was doing.

So last night I ended my sabbatical and began my new career doing something I've always felt passionate about: cooking. I'm working in the kitchen of a restaurant called Fifty-Six Union (mentioned at the bottom of this Feasting on Nantucket article) here on Nantucket. Yesterday at 3 PM I put on my black chef's clogs, my black pants and white t-shirt, pulled my Red Sox cap over my hair and got to work peeling and deveining shrimp. Seven hours later, sweatily scrubbing the kitchen floors, I was still smiling.

I've learned a lot this summer during my sabbatical but it all can be summarized in three words: follow your heart.