Agnieszka (pronounced "Ag-nee-shka") is a personal chef and caterer based in Austin, Texas. She crafts healthy food and goodies for her clients while also cranking out delicious plates for parties and other events. Her husband, Jason, is a production freelancer; he works in television and on music projects. They are recently new to Austin, by way of Los Angeles, and have a two-year-old named River.
At first glance, their careers sound glamorous, no? Food and Hollywood set within the green beauty of Austin. But what’s happening behind the scenes looks a lot more like scheduling chaos as the lives of these two busy freelancers are anything but 9 to 5.
Building a career
It was about five years ago that Agnieszka began cooking professionally. "I took some time, I did some soul searching," she says. "I rediscovered my passion for cooking."
A freelancer, by nature, is on a flexible schedule, so when River was born about two years ago, Agnieszka was going to work just two days a week. Jason was doing well for himself, so she never felt the pressure to have to figure out a 40-hour-a-week job or schedule right off the bat.
While she made quite a bit of progress in Los Angeles, Agnieszka has had to start over in Austin, having to build a new client base. While the flexibility of freelance is a major perk right now, "I just never know what’s next," she says.
"The work I do right now is very much based on project to project," Agnieszka says. "So the workflow is not currently stable enough for a full-time nanny."
Agnieszka and Jason are fortunate enough to often work on separate days, and they can leverage one another for childcare. But many times their jobs take them into the evenings or throughout the weekend. "I just spent days on the phone trying to find someone to watch River because some work came up," she explains. "If I am working, there’s money to pay for childcare, but if I am not working, I watch River because who pays for it then?"
Agnieszka is currently aiming to find more stable, full-time clients that she can rely on for steady income, which could mean a steady schedule. But for now, she’s taking things day to day, week to week.
Taking time for herself
Agnieszka’s secret to boundless energy and to tackling each day’s challenges? Running.
"I jog," she says. "Running pumps me up and energizes me. It gives me the endorphins I need and the energy and the will to fight. When I run, I have confidence everything will be OK."
And then, of course, she finds solace in the kitchen, specifically in baking. "I love kneading dough and seeing the end product. It’s magical to see bread come to life."
At the end of the day, Agnieszka finds peace in knowing she is doing what she loves. "If you enjoy doing it, you will find the time," she says. "I can’t imagine doing anything else."
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Photo credits: Agnieszka
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