Chain Gang

I need to find another job. Zinque is just not cutting it. Besides hating it, they don’t give me enough shifts. Tuesday I’m by myself on the floor from 3:30 until the next server comes in at 6:30. We get an early rush of people and I’m doing everything I can to keep up. Emmanuel walks in and as usual, doesn’t say hello, just starts barking orders at me. “Lindsay you have some tables to clear – there’s table 7 and some glasses on table 1.” Yea, I know, I’m going as fast as I can. What I really want to say, is bussing tables is absolutely the last thing on my list of things to do right now. I’m taking orders and bringing drinks and being available for customers when they ask me for the bill. So get out of my face and go bus them yourselves. What are you doing? Nothing. You’re standing here watching me work. You suck as a manager.

Friday I hit the pavement on my bike with a stack of resumes sitting in my basket. First stop – Lilly’s. Francis told me they would be calling people this week, and they didn’t, so here I am. The front door is locked, so I walk around to the back. Two guys are sitting in the garden, talking. The gate is closed and locked so I wave from outside. Hi! I worked at Lilly’s and wanted to see if you guys are hiring. A younger guy (for a boss, probably mid-30’s) walks over with a smile on his face. He’s super friendly but he obviously doesn’t have a key on him at the moment, so we talk to each other through the gate. Sorry, I feel like I’m stalking you. “Oh no problem, we just haven’t started interviewing people yet. We’re probably going to get to it next week. Do you have a resume?” Yes I do. I slide it between the bars and hand it to him. I’m Lindsay. “Jason. Nice to meet you. We’ll give you a call next week!” OK, thanks! Jason seems completely cool. It would be nice to work at Lilly’s again.

Next stop, Venice Beach Wines. I’ve been here twice – once after work to have a drink with Elmer, and once to meet up with Nell to eat cheese and get smashed on wine. This place always seems busy. A guy walks up to me. “Can I help you with something?” Yes, actually, I was hoping to speak to a manager. “Well you’ve come to the right place.” He gestures to the guy next to him. This is Michael. We shake hands and all that. He quickly scans my resume. “Oh, you’re from New York?” New Jersey, but I lived in New York for a little while. I’ve come to realize that people in California in the service industry love to have people from New York. Why? Simply put, we work hard and fast. Unfortunately, they’re not hiring servers right now, but they really need a hostess. “Most people eventually transition into serving.” OK. I’m not really all about being a hostess, but I’m not going to say no to anything right now. There are two girls in line to train before me. “If they don’t work out, I’ll give you a call.” Sounds good, thanks Michael.

Next stop, Santa Monica. Main street starts as Venice but turns into Santa Monica. It’s great for riding because the bike lanes are so wide. I walk into Brick & Mortar. I’ve been here twice and enjoyed it both times. First was with Mike and his intern buddies for brunch. Second was with Sarah and Lauren and Mike for a drink after eating a big sushi dinner. Both times I loved the ambiance and the service was great. (I like to work in places where I like to hang out). It’s before 4pm so it’s dead. A guy greets me at the door. “Hey lovely, how you doing?” He’s a little older with a raspy voice. He looks familiar. He probably talked to us when we came here before or sat us or something. I’m looking for a job. “Well right now we don’t need anyone, but I do have a server leaving at the end of this month. Do you want to sit down?” Yes. A sit-down interview. He introduces himself as Brian. He’s very casual and I feel immediately at ease talking to him. (I really should do mock interviews.) After asking about my life and my situation, he asks, “So what is your worst quality?” Oh, God, this question. I’m really honest. “That’s a bad trait?” Well, sometimes I can’t sell something because I don’t believe in it. Like if you want me to up-sell something and I don’t like it I won’t be able to.

Shut up! Stop talking. I need to learn to edit myself. He asks about how it’s going at Zinque. I’ve been working in the service industry for a long time and I just can’t handle the micromanagement. I know owners and managers like things the way they like them because it’s their place, but these guys have never even worked in a bar before. Why I think it’s OK to divulge all this information to Brian is beyond me. He gives me his card and says we’ll be in touch.

Back the way I came on the other side of the street I stop at the Victorian. This place is like a mansion. It looks like a house inside with a bar when you walk in, carpeted floors and plush furniture. I don’t go upstairs but I’ve been there once before when Elmer was DJ’ing here. It’s a really cool spot. There’s also a bar in the basement, but I haven’t even seen that. I don’t know much about this place except that it’s beautiful and weddings are held here. I wait and wait, not really knowing if I should walk upstairs or something. Finally, a guy walks down the steps. Hi, I’m Lindsay. I don’t wait for him to introduce himself and cut him off while he’s telling me his name. Good start, Lindsay. It’s Gilbert, by the way. He nicely tells me they’re not hiring now but will take a resume. OK, it was nice meeting you. That’s what I try to say, but I jumble my words and don’t make sense. I repeat myself enunciating the words. Gilbert doesn’t seem to notice or mind and nicely says goodbye. I’m so embarrassed. Definitely done interviewing for today.

*Sam Cooke

3 thoughts on “Chain Gang

  1. I just went on a job interview today and totally stumbled through a few of the questions. I’m glad I’m not the only one who isn’t perfect at interviews.

    Just watched a video on youtube of Rich’s brother doing drugs and talking about how much he hated living with his brother. Poor Rich, didn’t he just make him best man at his wedding?

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