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Book of Jobs Part 3

UNEMPLOYMENT

by Chris Auman

Yes, I took a plunge without a parachute, choosing instead to rely on good fortune and my own perceived craftiness to save me. As much as I looked forward to an extended vacation, it was too angst ridden to be enjoyed for long. I filled out a lot of job applications and emailed a shit ton of résumés. I don’t remember how many job interviews I went on. One employer who I was lucky enough to get an interview with (in a group interview with nine other prospective hires) informed us that he had received almost 500 responses to his ad. I realized my résumé is comprised of a creative writing degree and a lot of restaurant work. This did not leave me many options. I searched Craig's List every day. I was able and got a work-from-home job that I can now barely remember. It involved writing copy for a company that tried to get people to sign up for online for-profit college courses. It paid less than minimum wage, was very confusing and also sucked in addition to that. I also helped a friend demo a two flat he bought in East Garfield Park and did a stage at a restaurant in Wrigleyville.

A stage is a tryout or unpaid internship—basically a shift you work for free. It’s French. I did not go to culinary school, I just worked in a bunch of kitchens. I can follow recipes and do what I'm told. I had never done a stage previously and when asked to stage I had no idea what that meant. I learned pretty quickly. I showed up an hour before dinner service at this particular place. I walked in, met the chef, he asked me to make a peach cobbler then disappeared leaving me alone in a messy kitchen with dirty pots and pans stacked high in the sink. I was confused as to what I was supposed to do. I had no recipe memorized. I had no idea how to find any ingredient in this chaotic kitchen. I went into the dinning room looking for the chef only to find him sitting at the bar getting a neck massage from one of the servers. When I found out it would be only the two of us working in the kitchen that night, all my fight or flee senses started tingling and I booked it the hell out of there.

Unemployment >>


Originally published in RW#24, 2014

RW #24

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