Wednesday, August 10, 2011

On the Hunt...for a Job

I'm now on the hunt for a job. Equipped with a resume (which no one has even bothered to look at yet), I skulk around popular commercial centers, trying not to look too creepy as I scope out their windows for help wanted signs. I've been to quite a few restaurants and coffee shops (one day I will learn to use the cappuccino machine) and it's usually the same procedure. I ask them if they're looking for waiters and they rustle up a scrap of paper (usually from the register, sometimes a napkin or something from off the floor) and ask me to write down my details and someone will get back to me. Immediately and with the utmost urgency I'm sure. In one place I went to, the manager walked in after I gave the waitress my cash register paper. She pulled out a stack of these little pieces of paper and handed them over to him (I'm sure at least some fell on the floor or were blown out the door so there's maybe a 70% chance that my details even made it to him). My face fell and I walked out feeling somewhat hopeless. What if every place gets that many applicants?
I've only gotten 3 responses so far. It sounds promising, but trust me it isn't. One was from a bakery/coffee place in the center of town. It just opened about a month or so which means that they're still looking for staff but also means that they're nuts. I've been to the branch in Tel Aviv a few times with my sister and it seems like a very nice place. Good food, relaxed atmosphere, cappuccino machine. What's not to like? So I figured I'd apply there and they could probably use my English skills. I went in and asked if they were still looking and they told me yes and to sit down and someone would be with me shortly. I wasn't really expecting such a quick response but I sat down to wait. The manager came out to interview me and told me how it worked. Each potential waiter must memorize the menu and the first training session is a test. You must remember over 80% of the menu in order to be called back for more training. I'm like, ok, I can probably do this. I have a pretty good memory for stuff like this. I once read the Sunday comic section of the Bergen Record and had my mother and sister test me on it afterward. I remembered every single comic that I'd read. My short term memory is excellent. He said he'd send me the menu either that night or the next morning. Which of course, being Israeli, he didn't.
I went to the website to take a look out of curiosity and my jaw dropped. Four pages! Four pages of practically identical items. I'm good, but I'm not that good. 7.5 large breakfast options, 10 kinds of sandwiches, 9 different salads, 10 pasta sauces, 32 drinks plus the other items I'm not bothering to mention. All with long descriptions made up of every ingredient that ever even went near the food plus shapes and cooking methods. I basically gave up at this point on even attempting to memorize all this. In any case they still hadn't sent me the menu so I figured they'd either forgotten about me or decided they didn't want me in the end, and I was fine with this.
About a week or so after I'd totally forgotten them (only my short term memory is good, my long term memory is non-existent), they finally got around to sending out menus to all the applicants. They'd added another 2 pages of desserts to the original 4 page menu they also sent. I was like, nope, never gonna happen. I have this fear that if I try to memorize 6 pages of useless information something important is going to fall out. Like where I live, where I keep the laundry detergent or where I left my house keys. Which means I'll end up wandering around the neighborhood in dirty clothes. They called me the next day to ask if I'd gotten the menu and I told them straight out that there was no way in hell I'd be able to remember all that. The woman on the phone was like, “but that's our menu.” I'm like, “yeah, but it's 6 pages.” Maybe she was some kind of idiot savant because she couldn't seem to understand why memorizing 6 pages of food with lengthy descriptions might be difficult. So I told her if I was interested I'd get back to them. Which is about as likely as me learning Greek.
The next interview was at a popular bar among Americans. The restaurant's old chef had defected to their kitchen so I figured if anything I had a good reference. The interviewer asked me questions like, do I know Hebrew (well enough), can I balance a tray of drinks (got enough practice at the restaurant), and all manner of questions to which I think I answered fine. However, she also stressed that they were looking for someone fun and energetic, bla bla bla. I know I don't exactly give off an impression of funness and energy. But that doesn't mean that I'm not fun or a hard worker. At the end I told her if she wanted another reference she could call the manager at the restaurant. She told me that she doesn't ask other people, but decides based on how fun the person seems withing the first few minutes of the interview. Really? You're not going to ask someone I've already worked with who could give me a good reference, you're going to hire the most fun person who applies? Because fun people are known to be hardworking folk with good work ethic. Excellent hiring method. Really. And good luck with that.
The last interview was at a coffee shop about a 15 minute walk from my apartment. The deal was though, that they have most of the waiters working on Fridays until an hour before Shabbat starts. Hmm. Kind of problematic for someone who keeps Shabbat.
So that's that I guess. Still looking without too many prospects. I'm waiting for something to drop out of the sky I guess. Or for a miracle.

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