Thursday, June 10, 2010

One Step Closer To Another Restaurant Job. Or, Kinko's Is My Necessary Evil.

Today, after seeing an ad on Craigslist yesterday, I went to an open call at a popular East Village restaurant. What that means is that for a 2 hour window, anyone with a resume in hand could walk into the restaurant and get an interview to be a server. I normally don't like going to open calls since I feel like they're usually a waste of time- way too many people interviewing with way too few employers for one spot. But I really like this restaurant family and I figured since I had nothing better to do today it was worth a go.

Step 1: What to wear.

I know what the servers look like at this restaurant group, so I dressed in character. Nice flats, tight dark jeans, black collared shirt, floral scarf. Put together but not trying to hard with a touch of "If you need me to start tonight I'm already dressed" charm.

Step 2: Print resumes.

I made a pit stop to a Kinko's in Chelsea. With only an hour before the open call ended, I was worried. Coming into the store, I saw the line and felt my fists clench and my jaw tighten. Why is it that any trip to Kinko's always has a glitch. Question, readers. Have any of you ever left Kinko's in a better mood than you entered? No. It's a service industry outpost in which the service is consistently infuriating. And pricey. But I don't have a printer, so to Kinko's I will inevitably return.

After a barely comprehensible yet entirely aggravating interaction with a man who, not wearing that ugly polo, I assume was a manager I decided to forgo nice paper for sanity and made a bee-line for the self-service computers. I printed 20 copies of my most up-to-date restaurant resume so I could put off visiting for a good long time.

Step 3: Interview

When I got out of the subway on 2nd Ave, it was raining. I figured this was in my favor. It takes a certain kind of underemployed to go to an open call in the rain. I saw three pretty young women waiting outside the restaurant, not even under the awning, just getting rained on holding plastic file folders. I asked them if we had to wait outside, at which point I realized they were native Russian speakers who were too scared to ask if they could go in.

I walked in and, in Spanish, politely asked a busser to find me a manager for the interview. Standing at the bar, the prickly Manager and I talked only briefly.

ManagerMan: My first impulse is to say no. I mean, cocktailing is totally different than serving.
Underemployed: I understand, but I'm a quick study. You want me to know ingredients? I'll memorize the menu by the next day. I can learn this. I'm food knowledgeable. And I also sell food when I work on the floor, not just alcohol. Look, I don't want to be pushy...
ManagerMan: It's good to be pushy. I'm going to have you come in and trail. I'm going to tell them you're green. Be proactive during service and we'll see from there. If you don't try to help out, it's not going to happen.
Underemployed: Great. Thanks for the opportunity. I know I can do this.

In reality, this will be serving food at a volume I have never worked. My trail is Tuesday, but I'm not too nervous. I don't know how not to try hard at work. And if my best isn't good enough, whatever.

Check out this amazing anti-kinko's image from

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