Monday, January 28, 2008

And now introducing...job #2

I wasn't being honest with you when I made my list of New Year's resolutions. There's actually one more resolution. A big one. I resolve to fix my financial mess.

When I moved to LA after college, the shock of living in a big expensive city, combined with my crappy paying job and my inexperience with being a grown up proved to be a recipe for disaster. And so began the Great Credit Card Charge-a-thon that was my early 20s. And now, there's this: I'm in a decent-paying job and have everything else figured out (sort of), but I have this debt to get rid of. I think this is referred to as "a monkey on my back." But my monkey is a lousy passenger, poking me in the eyes, rubbing poo in my hair, and making too much noise while I'm trying to watch TV.

The monkey must die.

Wait. That's cruel. It isn't the monkey's fault.

The monkey must be driven out to the country side and set free.

And so a few weeks ago I began perusing craigslist for part-time weekend work and found a post looking for servers for a catering company. Catering is great part time work because it pays well, it isn't terribly difficult, often you score free food, and you get to be at all kinds of big fancy parties so you can kind of trick yourself into thinking you've been at a party instead of at work.

The job post asked for me to send a resume, so I spent all of 4 seconds drawing up one with all of my various waitressing and catering jobs. But then it also asked for me to send a picture. Which was creepy. And I'm pretty sure illegal, as well. Then my paranoia set in and I wondered if this was just some sleezeball collecting pictures of girls. What if he's a serial killer who will lure me in with his fake job offer? What if Mystery Perv photoshops my face onto some naked body and puts me on a porn site?

Ok, I shouldn't flatter myself. Plus, I need the money so it's worth the risk. If it's a picture he wants, then a picture he shall receive.

But then it occurred to me that I have no acceptable pictures of myself. This is partly because I'm not very photogenic and tend to be captured in pictures with my mouth half open and my eyes half closed, or in poses that give me a double chin or super fat arms. And in all of the rest of the pictures, when I actually compose myself and smile, I've also managed to hold up whatever alcoholic beverage I'm drinking just before the camera's flash goes off. And since I didn't think the catering company/Mystery Perv would appreciate my sending "Still Life With Corona Lite," I decided I better take a new, appropriate picture of myself. Using mac's photobooth application. While sitting at my desk at work. Gee, cool.

So I began to pose at my desk, trying to look respectable. And also trying, some how, to make it look like somebody else had taken the picture so I didn't look totally effing lame. Unable to judge the pictures properly, I enlisted the help of friend Anne. I emailed her my winning picture so far. She responded "you look angry." So I tried smiling. Which made me look stupid. "Try smiling with your mouth open," she replies. So I tried that, while angling my desk lamp into my face, all while glancing around the room to make sure my coworkers weren't noticing me. "Try looking like someone caught you laughing. Try laughing." So then I tried to force myself to laugh, silently, while turning my head from one side to the other, to end up facing towards the light right when I snapped the picture. "There, perfect, you look like someone caught you by surprise." Man I'm pathetic.

But at least I got an email to interview for the job. And the interview was at a public place, and the catering company has a whole website and turns out to be real thing. Yay! No serial killer!

Yesterday I worked my first event. It was held at the Shrine auditorium, which is on the USC campus, which is in some part of LA that I've never been to and that I don't think anyone knows exists. Seriously, there is nothing there but abandoned warehouses and parking lots with chain link fences.

I had to park in a scary parking garage and take a shuttle to the event. As I'm sitting on the shuttle bus (the short bus, as it were...), I see this guy dressed in the same outfit as me. Black dress shirt, and black pants, and dorky black shoes with a little buckle on them. I'm tempted to introduce myself and make a little catering friend, but then I stop myself, worried that maybe he's just dressed like a waiter, but isn't one, and then I will have a whole awkward bus ride with him. And I know how embarrassing it is for someone to make that mistake. Twice I have been mistaken for a valet parking attendant, which I can't understand because it's not like I go out to restaurants in a red windbreaker and khakis.

After I check in at the kitchen, I'm given an apron --one of those "bistro style" ones that is long and goes all the way to my ankles and makes me look like a chess piece. Then I'm given a necktie. Like an actual tie tie. Like I have a clue how to do this! I try to act like I'm awesome and so I just drape it around my neck and leave it that way for a few minutes while I wait to be given some kind of task.

Fortunately, I spot shuttle bus guy, who recognizes me and helps me tie my tie. Turns out, everyone I work with is just as friendly and nice as he is. And all in all, I rather enjoyed myself.

So thus began day one of my other job. If I just work at approximately 40,000 more events like this, I think I can make enough money for the monkey relocation fund.


mindy said...

I am laughing at the image of a human chess piece. Maybe doing valet.

Nice story. Also, you might meet some hot guys. I went to one of these fancy events once for work and totally scored the number of one of the bartenders. Then I went out with him and learned that bartending was his part-time job. GAMBLING was his full-time job. I'm out.

A Lover and a Fighter said...

I work on weekends too- not so much for the monkey, but for the Rainy Day. In any case, I really appreciate your description of your standard photo poses and your new ones. Myself, I seem to tend towards pictures that make it seem someone has just shouted "Quick! Do a really offensive stereotype of what a blind person looks like!" Lo and behold, I deliver.

Inono said...

The whole picture thing still leaves me suspicious.

Did you get to keep the tie and apron, or was it an outfit specific to that event?

Peter said...

Was Anne perhaps having a giggle at your expense?

If I was her, I would have tried a little, "OK. Act like a pterodactyl is chasing you. Now you stepped in a bear trap! Multiple 23843 by 3488763! Bats! Bats everywhere!"

I'm a bit of a jerk though.

Hollywood Sucker said...

Mindy- How odd, I think I dated that guy too.

Lover/Fighter- I went through this phase in college where I would deliberately catch my friends off guard when taking pictures just so that i could have a laugh at their expense. I think my inability to look nice in any picture present day is just karmic retribution.

inono- I had to give the tie and apron back. Although I probably could have snuck out of there with them and used the apron as a sofa cover.

peter- Remind me never to hire you for my lame self-portrait projects. Remind me to hire you as wedding photographer for people I hate.