Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Grumpy On The Job


When we got back from our World Trip Of Friends and moved to another city, the plan was for me to not go back into the same line of work but to get something different. Quite simply I had had too much fun travelling and being idle to want to work as a chef ever again. Cheffing is bloody hard work. I've been a stonemason and a bricklayer before and being a chef is harder work than both, and to be perfectly honest, six months of partying, looking at great art and funny shaped buildings, eating boozey lunches and snoozing on Mediterranean had taken its toll. I think I had deluded myself into thinking that I really could... nay – was entitled to keep living like aristocracy.

“So what are you going to do?” The Dreaded One enquired.

“Dunno,” I replied distractedly, smirking at the talking dog Youtube clip someone had posted on Facebook before hastily re-opening the employment page of Gumtree again and pretending to read it.

She kept up this brutal line of interrogation every day for months after we set up our new home. She, naturally, scored the first job she applied for and has been enjoying her working week more than at any time in her life. I felt as happy for her as I felt sorry for myself. Why could I not find that Idle Aristocrat Wanted ad? It was so unfair.

As the cash buffer ran low I did indeed realise something was going to have to be done. Ideally, realistically, I wanted something that involved writing. I wanted to trade in my chopping board for my keyboard. The perfect job would be to write this column, say, for a living. To just get up each day, thrown on some baggy clothes, crack open a beer (it's okay – my dream job would have me staying up nights because I am a night owl, and sleeping in to around midday) and simply regale readers with my daily adventures.

If I was going to go back into the kitchen, I didn't want the pressure cooker environment of a high- end restaurant, I wanted a daytime job in a nice little cafe, with nice, laidback co-workers.

Recently, I found such a job. Cafe kitchen in a very cool theatre. They gave me a trial day and offered me the job. I like it there. They are lovely people and the customers are all cool theatre types. Really nice vibe.

As timing would have it, I had also applied for an unusual-sounding writing job. This sounded as close to a dream job as you could get (Idle Aristocrat aside). I said in my job application that I don't have any writing qualifications but I have done a lot of writing. I have even won a national short story award and have been published in literary journals, but no formal qualifications. Also, I added, I don't have much of a clue of what this job actually is but it sounds weird enough for me to enjoy and I'd like to apply please.

The guy was amused and apparently impressed with my samples because he called to say I was on the shortlist. Five of us out of hundreds of applicants. We did a role playing interview and I wrote my piece up. The shortlist is now down to me and one other. Face-to-face interview happens tomorrow.

So now I've put myself in this quite horrible position of turning up at the cafe really hoping that my first week there is going to be my last, but really really also not wanting to let these good people down. I've effectively put myself in a position that I don't want to be in. But do. But don't. I hate letting people down but what else can I do? I'm basically putting a dagger through the heart of the trust of my nice new employers (if I get the job... which I will... won't... might... might not), and I don't want to be a murderer. Why did both jobs appear at the same time? What are you such a funny bastard, Universe?

I'll let you know how it pans out in the next column. For now I'm sweating out in a moody cocktail of angst and excitement, hope and sadness. Grumpy? Hell yeah. But happy too. I'm so fucking Yin Yang right now.

Grumpy is freelance Idle Aristocrat Lee Bemrose. If you have any freelance writing or Idle Aristocrat tasks, contact him at leebemrose@hotmail.com


Onion said...

Good Luck Lee!! Sending out lots of hippie west-coast job-getting vibes. And if it makes you feel better about it, just imagine that your cafe employers are thinking, "That Lee is a great guy, but I really hope he gets the writing job."

Y said...

Ooh good luck with the interview! I hope you get the job! Cafe work is a nice thing to pass the time otherwise.

Kathryn said...

Dude. Relax. Breathe. Whatever happens happens and I'm sure you'll get what you want from this. You are awesome!

Lee said...

Thank you Onion, Y and Kathryn (Kat - I'm awesome? Shuddup! YOU are!). Very cool thoughts from all of you.

Interview went okay. It might happen but I'm not getting my hopes up. It was nice to know I was one of the top three and at least one other one has a PHD in writing of some kind. And it was nice to hear that he gave the writing samples to a professor of English to look at and that mine was one of the better ones. But in the end he said that he thought I was a very creative person and that this is not a creative job. I think he suspects that as soon as a fulltime postition writing theatre reviews or comedy columns comes up I'll be out of there, and in all honesty that's probably true. The reality is, though, those kinds of positions are just not around these days. The only people who get paid decent money to write humour columns are established comedians.

Anyway, you never know what's going to happen. Good stuff about regardless. The Grumpy column in the mag looks better than ever, and Beat mag is taking me on as an arts contributor and I might start doing music again for them as well. And they have a food section too... free dinners before going to free theatre? Mmm...

I hope all is good in your respective parts of the world.

Lee said...

I don't know why but Blogger deleted Kat's comment and my reply. Weird.

Anyway, thanks guys. I'll know one way or the other on Tuedsay. The feeling I was left with was that he thinks I'm creative and this is not a particularly creative job. He said that, as well as he thinks I've got a good career ahead of me regardless. Not very encouraging as far as this job goes. All good though. I have a job and I've been added to the contributor list for food and arts for Beat Mag and will be writing features for Tsunami too.

Guyana-Gyal said...

I hope-hope-hope you get that writing job, the cafe people will find someone else, there's always someone else, but there aren't always writing jobs!!!!


And a few more to emphasize my point