shhh... it's a secret

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Is there anything else I can get for you?

How long does one continue job searching in their field before throwing in the towel and giving up? I've read numerous articles lately that have been discussing the fact that while many, many people remain unemployed, some employers are having a hard time filling open positions. This was explained by the theory that people are having a difficult time reconciling the significant difference between the job they once had and the jobs that are available. No one wants to go from working at a cushy office job to driving trucks all day.

I've been wrestling with this issue too. As my job searching continues to beat me down, I've begun to consider possible alternatives to teaching. Not long-term, mind you, just temporary so I can pay the bills. I feel as if I've gotten to the point where I might have to fall-back on my old stand-by, waiting tables. When I tell this to the people in my life, I get different reactions from them. (Image Source)
The G-Man, who waited tables a time or two in college, has a BA in psychology and was ushered into a completely unrelated field of work a month after graduating and is now on the cusp of earning six figures, thinks waiting tables is a viable option for me.
SMos, who waited tables for many years in NYC, just completed the same Masters program as me, and has been working as an art teacher for almost six years in a public school in Brooklyn, thinks waiting tables is one option, but agrees that it would suck, but also points out how great the pay could be, but then laments about how shitty it would be to have to wait tables again, and then suggests other options for me and frequently emails and texts me with job possibilities she stumbles across (I love her).
Thing Two, who I have no knowledge of any of his experience waiting tables, has a Bachelors degree and a Masters, has shelled out tens of thousands of dollars to become a lawyer, and is now pushing papers for some government agency in DC, thinks that my talk of being a waitress reflects a defeatist's attitude.
Twin, who waited tables for a while in The Middle of Nowhere, Texas (while pregnant, mind you), has a Bachelors degree and a Masters in teaching, and is now working as a stay-at-home mom to her two beautiful sons because she can't find a job teaching English, thinks... well, now that I think about it, I don't recall what her thoughts on the subject were.
As you can imagine, I'm torn. I don't want to settle for a job, and I understand that many big wigs in the know cite this exact attitude as the reason so many people remain unemployed. I have explored options outside of teaching that don't include waiting tables, but have thus far come up with a big fat goose egg. I know that, in theory, I can continue job searching while waiting tables, but if you've ever waited tables full-time before, you know that the level of exhaustion I would experience, both mental and physical, would drain me of all my energy and leave very little left for job hunting. (Image Source)

While bouncing back and forth with this, I've compiled two lists outlining the pros and cons of me returning to waiting tables.

Why I Wouldn't Mind Waiting Tables Again
  1. The pay can be good.
  2. It's immediate money.
  3. I like interacting with people.
  4. It was one of my dream jobs when I was seven.
  5. I like being super busy.
  6. It's good for the thighs. And the butt.
  7. It would get me out of the house.
  8. I'm good at it.

Why I Would Hate Waiting Tables Again
  1. It's exhausting.
  2. People can be rude and demanding.
  3. You're often not treated like a real person.
  4. Customers judge you.
  5. The hours suck. And you have to work evenings and weekends. Or else they fire you.
  6. I hate not having a set schedule.
  7. I have a Masters degree.
  8. I'm concerned I wouldn't even get hired, and I'm not sure I can stand any more rejection.
  9. I have severe pain in my left foot that I've been ignoring for about two or three years now ever since I fell down the stairs that one time but refused to go to the hospital because I didn't have health insurance.
  10. I'm klutzy.
  11. I don't like being bossed around.
  12. I'd have to wear Happy Face all the time.
  13. I'd smell like food all the time.
  14. The smell of food would start making me gag.
  15. My face would break out from all the grease.
Of course, I could always fall back on my other fall-back, substituting. The pay wouldn't be immediate and I wouldn't be guaranteed work, but at least it would always be M-F daytime work. And it would allow me to get my foot in the door of area schools. And even though subbing sucks on a level so unimaginable those of you who have never done it couldn't even begin to imagine, it would keep my teaching skills all shiny and pretty. 

Of course, then there's the bills this month. *Sigh* Anyone want to pay my car payment for me?


    Angela Flicker said...

    Can I just start by saying that I'm very sorry you can't find a teaching job. Both my husband and I, along with my two sisters, are teachers. It is hard time for educators. I wish the best for you in your search and as you decide what to do.

    I think being a waitress would be fine. Yes, it's not ideal, but the money can be good, especially in higher end restaurants.

    Another thought I had was have you considered looking into tutoring and/or teaching classes in after-school programs. That's what I'm doing this next year. I'm a mom, staying at home and starting a business, and part of my business play is teaching sewing lessons at private schools in after-school programs. The pay is great! I also tutor for extra cash. Just a thought.

    Good luck to you. I'm so sorry that a person with such obvious heart, training, and ability can't find a job. Our government needs to help the schools. Didn't they help the banks and the car dealerships. Hmmm, this just doesn't seem right!

    Jersey Diva Mom said...

    For what it's worth, I say take the waitressing-- simply because the best way to get a job is to have a job, ANY job. I've had candidates come in to my office in my biz and have open holes when it comes to current work. It always looks better to have SOME line item you are currently doing because employers think, "Ok, well, she's willing to work, to hustle, to do what needs to be done."

    jules said...

    Waiting tables is a great fall back. I was aggressively job searching a few weeks ago and having no luck. I considering looking for something other than a cushy office gig, but no luck there either. Waiting tables boggles my mind and I have so much respect for anyone who can keep all that in order. (No pun intended!)

    Christy said...

    I was a substitute aide for a while. I did not enjoy going into strange classrooms at all. The students don't know you and will push you.

    I don't have an answer for you either. I'm in the same boat in a way. I'm currently unemployed and I'm not sure what I will do. Good luck.

    MeredithDuck said...

    I say sub. While I've never subbed before I have taught many a ceramics class in horrible schools in Detroit which is the next 'best' thing. Getting your foot in the door is extremely important. And who knows. Maybe you'll score a long term sub job!

    Hope said...

    Yikes! Could you wait tables part time and also sub? I've only worked at coffee shops, not restaurants, so I don't know if it's possible to find a PT waitress gig.

    McGriddle Pants said...

    As in my post yesterday, I totally feel for you.

    AND something else to think about... (which I'm sure you already have)
    you have about 1 more month to find a teaching job, until it'll be nearly IMPOSSIBLE to find one (DURING the school year). Then you can look forward to waiting tables ALL YEAR LONG! *inserting sarcasm here*

    See you in the trenches!! And can I get a refill on my coke? ;)

    One Blonde Girl said...

    Thank you all for your responses, support and encouragement. It's also good (but in a bittersweet way) to hear that others are in the same boat. I often feel isolated in my situation. You guys are awesome[]

    (@ McGridlle- Get your own damn coke, you lazy, interview-skipping, bum. ;) And yes, I'm well aware that the window of opportunity for finding a teaching job is quickly closing. *sigh*) said...

    Job searching BLOWS ASS. I've waited tables/bartended most of my life until recently and I'm not sure if my current job's much better.

    Basically, why can't we just work our dream jobs and make lots of money already?! Pft.

    Midwestern Mama Holly said...

    Seems like there are so many people that are not working in their fields of study. Something outside will pay the bills, and sometimes, that's what it comes down to.

    Sara Louise said...

    I can't make your car payment for you but I do have a little present for you over on my blog :-)

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