Friday, October 30, 2009

You want fries with that?

So as my foray into the world of politics draws to a close (…and there was much rejoicing) I find myself even more in need of a job that, ya know, pays me.

Problem is, of course, that nothing I’d be interested in for career purposes is hiring paid workers – only unpaid interns. So now that I’ve got the unpaid internship in something I love (I work for a literary agency now!) I needs me something to pay the bills. Thus, I decided it was time to explore the prospect of waitressing.

But let’s be clear, here – I have NO experience as a waitress. I mean, I worked at The Pita Pit, but I was hired there as soon as they heard I had a high school diploma. So I don’t count that. So while I’ve had a million interviews – at PR companies, sales companies, political companies, travel companies – I was terrified to interview at a restaurant. Because I know, for the most part, how to interview in a corporate setting. We’ve all been taught what they want to hear. But at a restaurant…? What do I even wear? Do I need a different resume than the one I have?? Should my hair be up or down??? Skdfvksduhnj!!!*?%??#$%

So, instead of asking any number of people I know with experience in this industry, I turned, of course, to my good friend Google. My exact searches: “What do I wear for a waitress interview?” “Waitress resume example” and “What restaurants look for in a waitress.” Yes, I know. I’m an enormous dork. It’s okay. I own it.

After finding advice ranging from “Look hot, wear lots of makeup – restaurants like to be known for their sexy waitresses” to “You should wear a suit to any interview,” I decided to err on the side of “professional lady” rather than “hussy.” Also, apparently, there’s actually a specific format for a waitress resume. Who knew? So I split the difference between that format and my current one, and added a list of “Qualifications” – basically a “Why I’m awesome” section. Oh, and I threw Pita Pit back on there – that had NOT been on the resume I handed out at corporate interviews.

So on Wednesday, I ventured out to my first waitressing interview ever. Quaking in my heels.

In the end – and I’m sure anyone I asked would have told me this – it was pretty much like every other interview I’ve ever had… just shorter and more relaxed. And yes, I felt appropriately silly for my unwarranted freakout. But for the fact that, when asked why I should be hired, I could include “I’m passionate about customer service, Tex-Mex cuisine, and margaritas,” my answers were pretty much the “About Me” shpiel I’ve already come to know so well. Everything from “great attention to detail” to “works well with other people” was just as relevant here as at any other company.

For those who are curious, it seemed to go well. I just had my second interview with that particular restaurant, and should be hearing from them soon. At any rate, it broke the ice, and I think I can now go into restaurant interviews without feeling like I’m about to hurl. Success!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Was it something I said?

So a few weeks ago – 29 days ago, to be exact – I had what seemed to be a very promising interview with what seemed to be a very interesting PR company. I thought I had done fairly well, and they told me they’d get back to me within a week and a half or so.

Clearly, something went terribly, terribly wrong. I haven’t heard from them since.

Granted, it’s not unusual (at least in my experience… is it just me?) for a company to mysteriously forget all about you after you’ve come in for an interview. With thingz bein’ the way thingz is and with jobs in such high demand, sometimes, I suppose, one of the many interviewees is bound to fall through the cracks.

But get this – they had called ME to come in for an interview, and they said they were only interviewing three people. Whatever crack I stepped in must’ve been a big one, ‘cause it seems like, given the situation, I should have been a little harder to overlook.

Talk about the cold shoulder. Did I have something in my teeth? Did I look fat in my skirt suit? Was it something I said?

Weeelllllllll….. yeah, it might have been something I said.

Listen up, all you job-hunters. This is something we’ve all heard about 8 million times and eventually you just go “WE EFFING KNOW, OKAY?!” But… I thought I knew too. Always, ALWAYS know WHY you’re interviewing somewhere and WHAT that place does, lest you run into this situation:

PR Man: So, Marika, why this company? What about what we do in PR intrigues you?
Marika: [stunned silence as I try to remember what the HELL a PR company does] Well… I mean, you know, politics has been fun, but PR is… well… I mean…
PR Man: So basically, you’re just looking for another job?
Marika: [sighs, resigned] Basically.

I looked the part. I smiled, made eye contact. and was well-spoken (for the most part). I had my resume, I had my neat little portfolio. I’d researched the company, I knew who ran every department, I knew who all their clients were… but I had no idea what they actually DID for those clients... whoops.

My advice: well, just don’t do that. Easy enough, right?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Who needs focus when you can have... oooh, butterfly!

I think there's a lot to be said for a focused blog. I've read blogs on politics, fashion, the quest to find the best burger in Boston (those jerks totally stole my idea, by the way)... so while I've had this notion of starting a blog for a long time, I've always balked at the idea of having to find ONE topic to focus on, ONE thing that I just knew so much about that the entirety of the internet would be clinging to my every word and clamoring for the next entry from which they would surely learn more about life than any college class or Discovery Channel special could teach them.

And then I thought... let's just cut the crap. It's a BLOG for God's sake - the very word is ridiculous. Can't get too high and mighty about it. Sure, some bloggers out there will undoubtedly be better and more informative than others. They'll deliver news, report on trends, share insightful opinions. But in the end, I decided - perhaps more for my own benefit than anyone else's - that a blog doesn't need to be earth-shakingly, life-changingly profound to be relevant. Right? I mean, let's hope so. And moreover, I can even have one without being some super expert in a particular field. In fact, NOT being an expert on anything in particular is my point in this - I'm new to this whole "real life" thing. I'm learning how to survive post-graduation, and I only hope that my embarrassing moments can be filed in your mind under "what and what not to do when pretending to be a grown-up."

Okay, so it's actually been a few months since I graduated from Wesleyan, and I've been able to figure out a feeewwww things regarding this whole life-as-an-adult thing. But while I managed to bypass the "what do you MEAN I can't live on PBR and Ramen??" phase... there's still a lot to learn. So these entries promise to contain a veritable potpourri of experiences - job hunting, networking, city living, grown-up decision making (or lack thereof), and living life without a meal plan. Focus be damned - I gotta figure stuff out first.