By David Raphael Naval, Chief Cook
The path to my success wasn’t a straight and smooth one but it was a worthwhile journey.
Serving with one of the most prestigious companies in the maritime industry, Thome Shipping, gave me a sense of fulfilment towards progressing my career. From humble beginnings as graduate of a Hotel and Restaurant Management (BS HRM) degree and in anticipation of the next chapter of my career, I was excited and optimistic to be able to work in a role that I am passionate about.
I entered with good career prospects in the maritime industry. However, from school to landing a job, I realized the tide can change when I entered the work force. It can become hard to handle, or perhaps you can lose interest such that it prompts a career change.
As part of the LGBTQ community, finding a company and attending numerous interviews while seeing such discrimination in their eyes, was one of the most challenging parts of my road to success. When I was given the opportunity by Thome, I said to myself that my prayers were finally answered. I thought it was going to be smooth sailing from here on in but I was wrong. During my vacation I had a motorcycle accident fracturing several bones. During my convalescence, doubts were overwhelming me along with hospital expenses and my chances of returning to sea.
Life really doesn’t get easier, we just get stronger. Even though the path to my future all of a sudden became narrow and the bright light towards my dreams started to fade, my faith in God keep me going. Everything has a purpose and thank God for giving me a second chance. My operation was a success and after 8 months of recovery I was able to go back onboard.
With a fresh mindset, I had to make adjustments – both physically and mentally.
I knew it was going to be tough, from gaining the respect of the people I work with, to satisfying their taste buds. Taking all this into consideration, I always keep it in the back of my mind to be humble and to put my heart into everything that I do, so before I knew it I was back on track.
Now, everything is more than I could have dreamed of. I have now established my own catering business, making customized cakes and pastries to order. I owe it all to the people who believed in me and supported me throughout. I may not be the best chef in the world, but I will always do my best to serve the best quality of food that the crew deserves.