The Whole Story | Chapter Ten

Have you ever woken up and realized that you’re no longer happy in your job? Have you ever felt trapped to stay in your position or with your company because of other things like benefits, salary, or the uncertainty of moving? Have you let these things keep you in a position that wasn’t fulfilling for far too long because you felt like you weren’t ready to take a leap of faith? For 2 years this has been my reality and I want to tell you what I’ve learned and what this process was like for me.

I realized that I was no longer happy and fulfilled in my role at Whole Foods in September of 2016 so I started to think about what I should be or could be doing instead. I thought about working for a hotel again, but that wasn’t it. I thought about working in retail again, but that wasn’t it either. After weeks of racking my brain and trying to think of how I could leave Whole Foods, I had a random vision or remembrance of the name of a juice bar, Press’d Juice Bar & Kitchen, that I had seen around town. I looked them up and found an email address to inquire about the type of food they made in the “& kitchen” part of their name and they asked if I could come in for a meeting. I sat with the amazing mother/daughter team, Deb & Katie, for well over an hour talking about all things health, wellness, and raw dessert. They took me on to cover their main chef’s days off and to expand their raw dessert offerings because of my pastry background. This experience completely changed the trajectory of my life and I owe everything to these wonderful women. They taught me their recipes, which I eagerly recreated at home, gave me creative freedom to experiment with raw desserts, and opened my eyes to the possibility of realigning with the work I was doing as a chef.

Working at the juice bar quickly became my favorite activity each week, and I loved the challenge of working with food in a new way and pushing myself to be insanely productive. We were working with local and sustainable produce and I was learning so much about food, nutrition, and myself. Around this time I went to Miami for a plant-based food festival and that added a new understanding to all I was learning at my new job. I was so happy again and felt grateful to have found something that resonated with me so deeply, but I still hadn’t solved the problem of not loving the work I was doing at Whole Foods. I became a little more detached from that job because I had found something else, but I still had to show up and I still had to produce like I always had because that was a quality that was hard to change. Whenever I get in the zone of the kind of work I can do efficiently and quickly, it is hard to break my focus and my speed. This kind of work has always been in a kitchen and it is finally clear to me that I need to be doing something to feed people, because that also feeds me.

In my quest to find work that truly mattered to me, I have found so much more than that. I have joined a beautiful community of passionate and loving people who are changing lives one meal at a time, one drop of oil at a time, and one conversation at a time. I am humbled to be in such powerful company and I am so proud to be serving my community in this way. I have finally found my place in the world and it feels so fantastic.

Lauren D'Agostino