I went looking for a job today.
I’ve made only a marginal effort since I was fired from The Inn because I knew I was going on mission trip and had a couple of other things on the calendar and I couldn’t see starting a new gig by saying, “Oh – and I need the next two weekends off.” The summer stretches out from here, however, and it’s time to get back to work. My first stop was a small pub in our neighborhood that had been recommended to me by a guy who used to tend bar at The Inn. I talked with the owner and left a resume, but he said the kitchen was staffed right now.
“But you never know in this business,” he said and laughed.
My second stop was a high end restaurant on the other end of town. When I was laid off back in January I had a promising conversation with the chef there and almost went to work for him, but then The Inn called me back. I entered through the kitchen and asked to if Chef was available. The guy cutting the swordfish went to check and then said, “He’s busy. You wait three minutes.”
The chef I met back in January was not the guy who came to find me, but he was someone I knew. Two summers ago, when I was working in Kingston, he was the sous chef, biding his time until he could open his own restaurant in Cambridge, which he did. He got good press, took his best shot, and ran out of money. The former chef moved to a local country club and this guy took over. I told him what had happened to me and we had a good chat. If nothing else, I think it will turn into a weekend gig. We’ll see.
Someone told me once that there are a handful of people that staff the kitchens of restaurants on the South Shore and they just keep trading places with each other. After today, I’m willing to give that theory a little more credence. And I’m thankful that’s how life is here. Selling myself is hard for me to do, much less making cold calls. I got my other restaurant jobs because Chef called and said, “Come work for me.” This time, I on my own, marketing my skills, acting like I know what I’m doing. Though I’m confident when I’m cooking, I’m much less so when I’m job hunting. Flirting with rejection is not much fun. It’s easy for me to hear “We don’t need anyone in the kitchen right now” as “I’m a failure.” I know better, but I have to consciously work not to let my insecurities get the best of me. After all, the New Chef took a shot at his dream of owning his own place and failed gloriously.
“Hey,” he said smiling, “that was the first one.”
He wants his own place more than anything and enough to know it’s going to take some time and a lot of patience. For now, he’s continuing to hone his craft and nurture his dream. His day will come.
Mine, too. (I’m saying that mostly for my benefit.)
I know enough about how the business works to know I’ll need to go back again on Thursday afternoon and “check in.” I will either walk out of there with a job, or I’ll come home and print more copies of my resume and try again next week.
That’s what’s cookin’.