Though still content with my lack of employment, I do need money eventually. With this in mind, I have started to job searching process.
First I thought, well maybe I should get a job waitressing or bartending. It's something I have tons of experience doing and it would give me enough time to continue to live the life of the prosperous. I'd still be able to surf, see friends, and keep up on my blog (which in times of production falls to the bottom of my "to do" list along with the rest of my life). My search lasted three days.
Day 1: I spent hours on craigslist sifting through available positions and sending out resumes to anywhere that seemed reasonable. Barista, food runner, server, bartender, I can do it all. Feeling ambitious, I even schlepped myself out into the heat to stop by the Talking Stick
, a coffee shop in Santa Monica. When I couldn't find the storefront, this was my first bad sign. After driving past the establishment twice, in either direction, I parked to car when I found a similar address. Walked about a block before I found the dark storefront, a "band" playing in an open cafe. The cafe was no bigger than my living room and the "band" sounded like a middle school garage band. I panicked and drove home.
Day 2: Still more time devoted to Craigslist. Most restaurants want potential employees to come by after lunch and before the dinner crowd, which gave me four solid hours in the morning to read and re-read posts that stuck out to me and to print out more resumes. My first stop, Luna Park
, a bar/restaurant on La Brea that was looking for a daytime bartender. Parking out front, I walk into an empty restaurant. I notice a few guys filing out applications at the bar as a man interrupts, "You are looking for me
". Slightly frazzled, I replied, "No, well I guess
". "If you can to apply, you are looking for me
" he continued as he handed me an two-page application and a two-page questionnaire. I fill out the service questions first, basic how to be a amicable, polite, and efficient worker sort of answers. Upon finishing the create your own answer questions, I realized that a) I haven't been behind a bar in years! All of my in-depth knowledge of scotch and mojitos was somewhere buried in the lower right lobe of my brain and I was using the upper right. I couldn't get a single question. Most embarrassing question to which I forgot the answer: What kind of grapes produces Chardonnay? Wait for it... the answer: Chardonnay
. It was really that bad.
Having already sat down and waited to meet the manager, I decided to just write a note in the margin promising that I do in fact know all of these answers. Cute, right?
Luna Park is now filled with about 20 other applicants and I know I am doomed. I sit down and enthusiastically introduce myself and explain my pathetic questionnaire. The man knows his stuff. When he saw the Monkey Royal, a coffee shop I had worked at in New York, he asked me what avenue it was on. He knew the bar next door. And he also knew the Indian bistro that I had worked at. I gave the manager a firm handshake
, confused as to whether or not I made any impression. It seemed promising, but how could I possibly compete with a room full of actor/models who actually answer the questions. "You should hear in about a week and a half
," he said as I exited the cafe. A week in a half!! I have never worked a job in the food business that I had not been hired at instantly. That seems like forever in such a fast- paced business. But that is what I heard him telling the applicant before me, so I got back into the car to fight traffic going west to the Beverly Center
The Grand Lux Cafe
was hiring servers and baristas. I walked up to a mildly flamboyant host, preoccupied behind a waist high concierge desk. When I asked if there was a manager available, he told me that the they weren't doing interviews today. Then why was it posted on Craigslist?
I smiled and didn't say anything. Instead, I greatfully accepted the restaurant's application form to bring back with me the next day.
Now dinner time, I had no choice but to head on home.
Day 3: I applied to everything I could find on craigslist. I even sent my resume in to Starbucks. After skipping out the now weekly volleyball with my unemployed friends, I was determined to at least make progress. At 1pm I left to go to The Brass Monkey Cafe
, only attractive people need apply. I fought traffic for the next hour as I treked the three miles to the area known as Koreatown. Hot, tired, and frustrated. I park my car and walk to the dark ominous door. A sign for the $11 prime rib special was hung on the brick next to the heavy copper door. Am I really that attractive?
I go to open the door, then stop. I don't want to fight this traffic every day. This is stupid. There has to be somewhere closer to my house. Or at least not in Koreatown
. I got my car, forgeting to prevalidate my ticket, parked again, paid the flat rate of two dollars for 5 minutes and off to The Grand Lux Cafe.
I waited an hour before a manager became available to meet with the 30 something people now crowding the streetside corner of their restaurant. The place was beautiful, in a big commercial chain restaurant sort of way. And beauty comes at a cost, I heard a manager joke that it was 15 million dollars worth. If that was actually the bill, I would want my deposit back. I sat in a booth reading a book as the other applicants sat patinetly waiting. Another 30 minutes passed before I spoke with a manager. He gave me a 150 question multiple choice test. I finish the test 30 minutes later. What next? Before I take it upon myself to leave, I ask one of the employees facilitating the interview process if I should wait. He told me in 20 minutes they should know why they would like to return on Thursday. I pick up my book and breeze through two chapters. I had just about had enough when the second manager who had been conducting interviews came up to me, folder in hand and introduced herself. We moved over to another booth and I answered more questions about struggle and achievement as a food server. "If you don't hear from us in 24 hours, just assume we went in another direction
," she said to me as I slung my day bag over my shoulder and shook her hand.
3 hours. I was at the Grand Lux cafe for 3 hours. And the second round of interviews were on Thursday. So if they were going to let me know in 24 hours, does that mean they made a decision. And how long would I have to make mine?The Grand Conclusion: Time for a new career path. With a BA from NYU, passion, creativity, and experience working with "A list" celebrities, there has to be a better way to end my unemploment in this crazy town.