It's off to work I go.
It's nothing long term mind you, just helping a dear friend out in a pinch.
Let me explain.
Last week, I was taking my trash out. This entails carrying it down an alley to a dumpster.
Such is life in the city.
Anyway, I passed by the restaurant across the street. The chef is a good friend of mine. I've dined in every restaurant he's headed up and never once had a bad meal or dining experience.
We got to talking about stuff. He seemed perturbed about something. I inquired as to what was wrong.
"I need someone to work days on Thursday and Friday and can't find anyone.".
In this market, I found that hard to believe.
He assured me it was true.
Without thinking twice I told him, "I'll take the job until you can find someone.".
Chef Patrick looked at me in disbelief.
"No Mike, I'm serious.", I told him.
That was last Friday. I confirmed the job with him over the weekend. Nothing big, nothing formal. We did it on a handshake.
For a man of honor like the good chef, that's good enough for me.
Today, I worked the open shift.
It was a bit of a flashback for me. My first taxpaying job was washing dishes starting back in 1977.
Thirty three years later, almost to the month, I was back where I began.
I have to tell you, I had a blast. Working with a consummate professional like Chef Patrick is a great gig.
The day began with prep work. I started by hand cutting one dozen large baking potatoes for french fries. Then I sliced some tomatoes and cucumbers grown by the restaurant in their own garden. They needed bacon cooked up so I was then tasked with loading three large baking sheets with bacon.
The chef of course was busy with other prep work.
Soon enough, the lunch patrons showed up. The dishes, pots, and pans started coming back to the wash area. Like I said earlier, I am a seasoned veteran at the dish sink.
Three and a half hours went by in a blur.
Seeing as how we did things informally, I opted for "informal" compensation.
The good chef put together this lovely salmon with tomato cream sauce for me. Just a part of the "informal" compensation package.
Pretty fair trade if you ask me.
Tomorrow, we do it again.
If necessary, I can continue through the end of September. In the event that comes to pass, we'll have to do the necessary paperwork.
If someone is out looking for a job, this is a prime example of networking. When looking for work it never hurts to talk to your friends, former coworkers, or even friends of friends.
You may not get the job you want, but it is a start.
I know a number of people who have landed great jobs by taking less than great jobs to start.
You won't meet your next employer by sitting in different beer joints every night. You do stand a chance of meeting them if you are out and about working in plain view.
I got a job by carrying my trash out and networking in an alley.
If I were to stay here, I'd be tapping into all my friends and former coworkers in the aviation field.
Bet I could uncover a job in the field before the holidays if I did.
However, my long term path leads me elsewhere.
I'll pursue a new career upon my return to New Jersey.
Now then, off the "get a job" soap box.
The "Challenge" continues.
Tonight, chicken over pasta and a nice green salad.
Tomorrow, another day working with the chef, some braised ribs for dinner, and a well earned toddy or two.
In keeping with the "Challenge", I WILL be having some beers out this Sunday.
Beers paid for by my labor.
Just a reminder, if you or someone you know is searching for work, the Memphis Hooks Central Library has it's biweekly JobLab tonight from 5:30 pm until 9:00 pm.
Sure, it may not be as glamorous as drinking beer or eating at a downtown restaurant. On the other hand, your chances of finding work will increase exponentially if you're at the Library honing your resume rather than working on your next "plate" at the Flying Saucer.
Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.
Air Traffic Mike, temporarily unretired.