In this series we will be highlighting burgeoning entrepreneurs in the modern era. These are folks who have taken the risk of quitting or working double to quit their conventional jobs in pursuit of their passions. This is a difficult road that many never find the courage to venture upon, but the rewards are so worth it, and as you know, no risk, no reward, know risk, know reward.

This episode highlights Lee Cooks.The world is an oyster, variety is the spice of life, and Lee Cooks will spice your oysters to perfection. Life is about living on your terms and at your pace. Lee knows like a good meal, all things in life take their time and she's mastered patience and the art of living life artfully. Read to learn more, and make sure you take time to just stare out the window.

Do you remember your first day, What were you feeling?

My first gig I was 90 minutes late. All my food was done and heated by 12pm. I asked a friend of mine who had a minivan would he drop me off at Queens College Manhattan campus,I needed to be there by 3 to set up. I asked could he pick me up at, he said yes. Long story short, he didn't tell me till 1:45 that he couldn't pick me up, and it took me 30 minutes to get a cab that would go from the Bronx to lower Manhattan. I was so angry and obviously annoyed when I got to the college, which wasnt a good look. It was a huge learning experience for me, always have a back-up plan.

What Were You Doing Before? Why Made You Want To Try Something New?

I was doing customer service jobs. H&R Block, cold calls. I hated it, I hated having to deal with the customer directly. I'm an introvert/ extrovert, food was/is my passion. I decided to say Screw it and go to Culinary school. If I could get through school, Again, in my adult life. It was meant to be. I graduated, me and 4 others. From a class that started with 25 students.

How Do You Balance Your Time?

I have a lot of time now that I live in New Mexico.Taos specifically. Everything moves at a much slower pace, so I have time to do my leisure activities; as well as focus on my business. Gratefully a lot of the times they intertwine.

Tell Me About Your Business?

My business is me. Yes I cook, and have done catering, and pop-ups, but I indulge in more than just one art form. I sing, I make jewelry, I write, I throw parties. I use my talents to make money, grow my network,and be free. Leecooks Everything is literal in EVERY way. I'm cooking up a little of everything. I won't let myself or anyone else pidgeon hole me in a box.

How Much Time Per Week Would You Say You Dedicate To Your Work?

I'd say I put in about 4 to 5 days a week towards my business. I take time to just be.

What Else Do You Like To Do With Your Free Time?

I like to write, hang out with my circle, stare out the window and be in the moment.

What's Next For You?

I've been in New Mexico for the past six months, I'd like to live in another place outside the country for 8 to 9 months. Study their Cuisine. I'm thinking of Brazil being my next tour

Any Advice For People Wanting To Follow A Similar Path?

Have everything in writing.

Always know your worth, don't let anyone try to shortchange you. Don't let your talent go to waste, use it to uplift yourself and to encourage someone else. You never know how your of service to another human being. Someone is always watching


Want to learn more about Lee Cooks, book her to cater your next event? Hit her up and have some of the best food of your life!

Website: Leecooks.com

Instagram: Leecooks_everything

Fb: Leecooks Taos

PayPath
Follow Us on

Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

Keep reading Show less

Did you hear about the Great Resignation? It isn’t over. Just over two years of pandemic living, many offices are finally returning to full-time or hybrid experiences. This is causing employees to totally reconsider their positions.

Keep reading Show less