For one thing, the landlady and I have moved to what I shall call Temporary Place #2. And not only have I finally finished my Edinburgh tour article (it’s looking quite exciting!) and written another article for a fantasy-themed newspaper column, but I managed to get a part-time job too!
Since I’m writing all the time, my hope was to find a job that would get me active, allow me to “drink in” the world and meet more people.
In short, I wasn’t too keen on journalism (if I could get any in this job climate!) or anything that might suck up too much of, ahem, creative juices.
I wasn’t getting very far with job sites like gumtree, and I was learning – I read this from a book at the charity shop where I volunteer ;P – that apparently only 20% of job vacancies are advertised.
So these past two weeks, I got into the habit of printing out different versions of my CV, and just walking around and passing them to some promising looking places. It was strange walking into these stores and restaurants at first, and I did feel self-conscious, but really after a while you don’t care. On the telly, they’re showing grim news about UK’s unemployment problems and the radio stations have been discussing the debt crisis and the like.
When you’re desperate, scared and angry, and ashamed to be living off your loved ones, I think something changes inside you. Certain things no longer hold the same priorities as they used to, like pride or shame. I’d rather hold onto integrity and dignity, ya know?
One Fateful Day
The girl there sounded encouraging and took my CV.
The next day I got the call asking if I could come in for a 6.30pm to 10.30pm shift. That Saturday was a particularly interesting one, because it just so happened I was moving (yes, again!) my things to the flat of a friend who asked me to house-sit for about two weeks.
I got the call at 3pm while waiting for a bus. Struggling with my suitcase and a bag full of food, I listened in disbelief as the lady on the line asked if I could make it that day. My mind was mostly going: What? Someone’s hiring me? Today!? But I’m moving house! I need to make another trip for my second batch of stuff! Someone’s hiring me? I’m not ready! Do they want me to cook? Someone’s hiring me!
I said yes. I literally only had time to dump my second batch of stuff at my friend’s flat before rushing off for my first part-time job in, like, eternity.
The first day was naturally a shock. I arrived a little late so that cut into my working hour. I was not dressed right – I was apparently supposed to wear black shirt, black pants and black shoes (I was wearing jeans and sneakers). And then for the rest of the night, I went through what had to be called ‘Waitress Boot Camp’. Let’s just say, it was a highly enlightening experience.
By the end of it, I felt bruised and battered. Three hours felt like forever. But by the end of it, I got two meals (they feed me, yay!), a deeper (and I am convinced lifelong) appreciation for all servers…and my first wages.
That first night when I got home to the flat, I numbly held the 18 pounds in my hands and recall feeling a bit…emotional. It’s a far cry from what I used to earn back in my journalist days, but the main thought in my head was: I actually earned something. I actually earned something.
To be frank, I thought I made a terrible waitress. Half the time I was convinced one of them was going to point at me and say, “You’re fired!” All I could do was make mistakes, learn and work as best as I could.
I did much better on Sunday, and the rest of the week at home I staggered around like a zombie, wondering if I would be called back.
I was indeed called back, for Friday, Saturday and today. I am still a little stunned, to be honest.
What’s even better is that the manager found out about my writing and copywriting skills, and asked me to help with the restaurant’s Facebook page. So now I’m helping to do that and create a website for them as well, for extra cash. Sweet!
It’s a relief also to find myself getting used to the work and enjoy chatting with the guests. It’s amazing how many lovely people there are, and sometimes we need that reminder, I think.
Of course, I’m still a newborn at this job 😉 And I have no idea how long this will last, but for now? Thank you, Lord.