My Story

I burned out and had to get out. Chantelle Kallmeier

Take a large bowl of high-profile customers, elevated levels of expectation and scrutiny, then fold in immense amounts of stress-induced adrenaline. Add to the mix overbearing, micro-managing, egotistical and sometimes insecure line managers with a sprinkling of molly-coddled, naive and needy new-starters, place in a hot kitchen for eight hours (with more moving parts and sharp objects than any one recipe requires), and wait for it to burn. Out.

Why do we not see it coming?

How did I not see it coming?

The need to please every one at every time for 10 hours a day whilst continually looking calm and smiling, coaching, anticipating, planning, and the business bottom line always at the back of your mind???

I burned out and had to get out.

I purchased a flat in a run down neighbourhood in a seaside town, far, far away. I threw in my job, hit the road in Sardinia for a month to try and ‘find myself’, blew all my savings at IKEA and Curry’s, then moved in as the brutal affect of a wild coastal winter took hold, literally chilling me to my bones, as I had no money left for heating, and no job to go to.

I sold £2000 of my NS&I Premium Bonds, borrowed another £1500 off a mate, accepted a £1000 overdraft then dug out and lived off an Aussie credit card I had hiding, whilst I struggled to find work.


A restaurant manager at the top of her game.

No situations vacant, no one physically close to me to care, and a world of debt. A pretty looking car crash that folk were happy to rubber neck at, but no understanding of how to dig her out.

Burnt out.

These rash decisions would not have been made had I felt more comfortable discussing and ‘exposing’ how I actually felt in the first place, in the work place.

The associated pressures of working and living such anti-social hours, in an under-appreciated industry, spun me into the deepest pit of insecurity, anxiety and depression.

12 months on and I’m 80% better, thanks to therapy and opening up to my close friends and new colleagues. However, one thing still remains, and that is the stigma attached to ‘mental health’.

Burn that out!

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We cannot do this alone! Together, we can create a community of like-minded professionals united by a common cause: to shine a light on these issues and act as a beacon of support to those affected by them.

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