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From Chef to Handyman, Here's How to Make a Career Change

If you're one of the millions of Americans rethinking your career during the "Great Resignation", this story may inspire you to make a change, even join this company's team.

Work to live they say, but you still find yourself living to work, except there is something about what you're doing that just doesn't feel right. It's time for a change.

We've all been there, and some of us will be there again. It's a nagging feeling in your stomach that there is another path for you to take. For those of us who've been courageous enough to let go without a net into entrepreneurship and those brave enough to leave what we know to open the door for what we need, it is never easy but always rewarding.

So, if the pandemic gave you pause to consider the meaning of your life and what you want from it, this story will inspire and may open the door to a new career.

The Story

It starts in Paris in the mid-1980s. After spending summers on the family farm and experiencing food throughout the countryside, a young man shows interest in food and enters into culinary school. His specialty - pastry.

He works as pastry chef for a top restaurant in Paris, gets invited to the United States to join a prestigious French restaurant in Philadelphia - and he didn't speak English.

Learning English from music and movies, he went on to work at other prestigious establishments in Philadelphia, New York City, Miami, Chicago and Sedona before landing the Executive Chef position at a large university where he managed more than 300 people and several dining facilities.

During his career, he met and cooked for celebrities, catered film sets, custom designed sweet treats other chefs passed on, taught classes and made regular appearances on TV. Once, he stayed up all night to make the very last minute request from a bride happen for her dream wedding day, all because she said please.

He loved the work. He loved being a pastry chef. he loved feeding people. He loved running a kitchen with his own special touch, but in the culinary world only celebrity chefs earn real money. Frustrated with the mad hours and low pay, he was tired and wanted more out of life.

Jack of All Trades

As a chef, or even just working in a restaurant, you have to do what you have to do when it needs to be done in order to maintain service, save money and keep your license. That means fixing a broken stove knob quickly and creatively, sealing cracking walls or replacing a leaking water pipe.

As a chef, he became a true Jack of All Trades. He could evaluate and backwards engineer, in his mind, how something worked and then repair it. In his own private commercial kitchen, he did the build out and personally maintained the highest quality facility because he believe his customers deserved it.

If there was a project on premise that needed to be done, he did it himself, not knowing that it might lead to a new future.

Taking the Leap

Tapping into his skills of hands on repairs in various kitchens, he knew that his ability to engineer a one-of-a-kind cake design or fix a leaking water pipe were not so different. They required the same kind of thinking, problem solving and great customer service.

After 30 years, Eric Marie left the culinary world to become The Handy Frenchman (today known as Get an Eric, LLC). What started out as simple handyman work blossomed into a booming business of RRR contract work - renovations, remodels and repairs - which later included property maintenance.

Today, Eric is a handyman/contractor who believes that every job, no matter how small, matters because it's important to his customers. He noticed that the kind of customer service he provided as a chef was missing in the contractor world. It led to his innate ability to connect with customers and make them feel confident in his work and his team.

All of his culinary world experiences were colliding in another field.

Today, Eric and his team tackle Renovations, Remodeling and Repair projects in Chicago from building custom home office desks to refurbishing furniture to full condo guts, room remodels and basic home repairs.

This is a story many people can related to but are often too afraid to make the leap. For Eric, there was no choice. He just wasn't happy anymore and saw an opportunity to be an entrepreneur and help others find their path as well.

In fact, he is inviting people ready for a career change to join his team at Get an Eric.

Looking for a Change? Join Us

The pandemic and working from home not helped Eric grow his business, as people finally grew tired of looking at repair and reno projects deciding it was time to hire a pro. However, for Eric, too much work and not enough quality people able to work with him, meant he had to turn away work.

At the same time the pandemic got many of us thinking about our lives.

Something about sitting around at home triggered a mass existential exploration. Today, people are more interested in following their passions and doing work that is meaningful to them.

Like Eric, you may be looking for a change. Something that you can own, have pride in the work with some flexibility.

Now, he is looking for individuals who want to change gears to become a handyman (or woman), learn contracting/renovating skills with an opportunity for leadership and growth within the company.

Is this you? Inspired by Eric's story? Learn more about working for Get an Eric in Chicago.

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