Thursday, May 18, 2006

I Have a New Job

I want to be excited. I want to be relieved. I want to be proud. I have found my new job!

But my employment has been so F#$%-ED for the past six months all I can manage is a weary, tentative feeling of gladness. I wonder, will this job fall through, too? It's a restaurant that's been open for 10 years, but so had Nick and Tony's been. Will this new place fold up within a few months (like N & T's)? Will the general manager turn out to be emotional and obsessive (like at The Grillroom)? Will they not have enough shifts for me (like Bar Louie)? Will I be job-hunting again within three months? I want to be excited, but really I'm just...well...glad. I'm just glad.

My employment at the new Indian restaurant will be over as soon as I return the uniforms. I left the owner a message today saying I'm sorry, but I had to move on (and pay my rent). This week I'd heard nothing from him about training, dry runs or an opening date, so I figure they're still working things out. And it's time for me to work somewhere else.

Anyway I think I was pretty much doing my usual, irrational 180 degree turn: when I have a bad experience with a job, I try to find a job that's completely different from that job. When Arthur Andersen went under, I was so traumatized I looked for a company that wouldn't be like Arthur Andersen AT ALL. And I succeeded. Unfortunately I also eliminated from my workplace all the things I had loved about Arthur Andersen and I spent two miserable years at a sad, solitary desk on the 30th floor of the Prudential building.

This time it was the combination of Nick and Tony's going under and the nightmarish experience I had at The Grillroom, that made me think I needed to get away from corporate, downtown restaurants. So I fled to the northside where I found this small, neighborhood, privately-owned Indian restaurant. The people there were great, the concept was excellent and I loved everything about the place, but I suspect that after working shifts there for a few weeks, I would have started to miss the large, corporate, downtown restaurant environment I really did enjoy at Nick and Tony's. I suspect that by taking the job at the Indian restaurant, I once again eliminated all the things I'd loved about my previous job. This time I would have missed the downtown location, the large and vibrant team, one of the best general managers ever (which was Bob, ahem), and the one thing I TOTALLY NEED AND CRAVE: a corporate organization with strict rules and procedures, plenty of staff support and thorough, time-tested training. Right and wrong answers. I need right and wrong answers!

I will be returning to ALL of these things (except for Bob as my general manager) at my new job which is downtown at a large, corporately-owned and run restaurant, not far from Chicago's main shopping district. Training starts the day after Memorial Day. Hooray!

I suspect I just needed a break after the bad experiences I had with Bar Louie and The Grillroom. Since my last day at The Grillroom was April 14th, I've had a nice, long vacation and I'm ready to dive back into the downtown restaurant scene. It looks like things might have -- what's the idiom? -- oh, yeah, worked out. Like when making a homemade apple pie works out after you finally toss the whole thing in the garbage and just go buy a goddamn tub of ice cream.

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