First Course

Posted on Saturday 21 January 2006

Here’s the beginning of the story of Restaurant Gal.

I was in the writing/editing biz for 20+ years—some years as a freelancer, others as a staff person. My latest stint was managing editor of a trade magazine. I know, I know. Boring. Ugh. That’s not “real” journalism. But it was a travel magazine. Okay, we covered group travel, but it was travel writing in its way. (Go ahead, ask me anything about Omaha, Branson, or the latest trends in dinner theater and IMAX offerings.)

Anyway, you know it’s time to move on from a job when you can’t watch “The Office”—either the British or American version—because it’s so close to your own reality that it’s simply not funny. Not funny at all. No use boring you with the bad-boss stories. Mine are a cliché. But, in an interesting twist of karma, everyone was fired a month after I quit. The magazine was later outsourced and that was that.

Meanwhile, I was papering the pavement of this major metropolitan area with my resume and clips, talking myself out the door of interviews because I just couldn’t stomach taking another office job.

So, with two kids in college, a husband in the second year of an emerging tech start-up without paying himself a salary, I decided it was time to try something totally and completely different. Something fun. Something that would pay less than two-thirds of what I made at the magazine.

I became a restaurant maitre’d.

That’s right. I chose the restaurant industry, the hospitality realm—the world of pagers, surly customers, 20-something bosses, double shifts, sore feet, no meals or breaks, and a full appreciation of a libation or two or twenty at the end of the day.

And, I love almost every minute of it.

Almost.

But give the restaurant that hired me some credit. They hired me on a whim, I think, and probably figured if I lasted more than a week, I was trainable. If I lasted more than a month, maybe I was not too terrible in this new role. If I lasted two months, maybe I had potential and hopefully wasn’t a drunk or a thief. And if I lasted three—well, it’s been four and I haven’t called out yet!

5 Comments for 'First Course'

  1.  
    satori
    April 30, 2006 | 5:03 pm
     

    what a great read! I read from present to past and how sad I am to reach the beginning.

  2.  
    Restaurant Gal
    April 30, 2006 | 8:52 pm
     

    Satori–The best is yet to come, I hope!

    Thanks for reading every last–and first–word.

  3.  
    May 9, 2006 | 9:54 am
     

    I’m in the same boat as Satori. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

  4.  
    barockstar
    May 30, 2006 | 11:41 pm
     

    of the same realm of the contibutors above…
    read from last to first….got the bookmark and am looking forward to more.

    awesome/brave/congrats to you for taking a chance in another world. and it seems like you’re doing a great job!
    (i know the verbal tip sucks, but it’s what i got…)

    keep it up!
    i’ll be back.

  5.  
    February 8, 2007 | 6:47 pm
     

    There ! Now I can add my experience to that list.

    Did the same “from last to first” because I just love good writing (resulting in good reading).

    The reversed order is an interesting read by the way. Not in the least boring or so. Quite to the contrary with a very special suspense when you get the explanation for certain ‘codes’ only later.

    I do enjoy the blog immensely although I’m not involved in the restaurant business at all.
    I’ve got a very average office job – which can be fun too of course … :o)

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