career

10 worst jobs of 2014

No. 6: Head cook
No. 6: Head cook © wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com

No. 6: Head cook

"You have to be a certain type of person to be in this industry," says Thomas Macrina, a chef for 40 years and president of the American Culinary Federation. Specifically, the type of person who can manage a kitchen, quality control the food going out, keep up with incoming orders and coordinate with the front-of-the-house staff to ensure customers are satisfied. It's not as easy as it sounds -- and it requires a fair amount of physical labor.

The BLS reports that median pay for head cooks and chefs clocks in at about $20 per hour -- $42,480 per year -- but you'll need culinary training and years of work experience to get there. There are also long working hours, opportunities for injury, health care questions and a fight for the best positions, since the industry is growing slower than average. But the day-to-day stress isn't necessarily bad.

"I don't call it stress; I call it excitement," says Macrina. "That's why you're there. Your goal is to feed, let's say, 200 customers in an hour, and make everyone feel like they've had the best meal in the world. It's an accomplishment."

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