Janice Williams Loves Austin

October 15, 2009

Wrapping Silverware

Filed under: Job search — Janice @ 10:48 am

I have this theory about jobs. All jobs involve wrapping silverware. Let me explain. I have been a waitress several times in my life… a Chinese joint in Canyon called the Yum Yum Tree, the Pizza Planet in Amarillo, and finally (oh God, please let it be my last waitressing job) at Hill’s Cafe in Austin. When I think about waitressing in general, I think about the waiter or waitress greeting customers, taking orders, delivering drinks and food, dropping off a ticket, and picking up a big tip. Having lived it, I know that is not the reality of the job, but I still picture it being like that.

A couple of years ago I ate at the Monument Cafe in Georgetown for the first time. I highly recommend it. I sat at the counter and watched the waiters and waitresses working. One of them pulled out a big tray of freshly washed silverware and sorted it and wrapped settings of silverware in napkins. That reminded me of the extra jobs at Hill’s that were required to do. When our shift was over and the place was closed for the night, the waitresses still had to clean the restaurant, of course, and slice lemons for tea, and wrap all the silverware in the place so it was ready for the next day. Sure, you make tips to help that measly $2 an hour while you’re waiting tables, but after hours, you are wrapping silverware for $2 an hour.

That brought me to my theory about us all having to wrap silverware no matter what job we have. There are parts of every job that are not glamorous, are not fun, and most observers don’t even know they have to be done. My list of the “wrapping silverware” of radio could go on and on. While the world thinks the DJ just listens to music and has celebrities drop by regularly, there is a million things going on behind the scenes the listener doesn’t know about.

I thought of this theory the other night. I have an old friend that is a sportswriter for a newspaper. I won’t go into specifics here, but I got an idea of the silverware wrapping of sports writing when we had dinner last week. From my perspective, he gets to travel, watch sports, write articles that have hundreds of readers, and not a worry in the world. But he told me last week about the worry that the coach of the team he covers might get fired. I would think that might be a good thing, more to write about, a reason people would read his articles. But he said a coaching search is a horrible thing to cover because he worries and doesn’t sleep, afraid that his competitor’s newspaper might get the scoop on him. He doesn’t rest until he gets the tip and the confirmation and the new coach is firmly in place.

A sad part of my theory is that it has spoiled a lot of daydreaming for me. How can I daydream about being, say, Queen of All the World, when I know that there is still silverware to be wrapped, no matter what the job. Queen of the All the World might be able to hire people to do lots of the silverware wrapping, but she still has to manage those people and hire and fire and then it gets complicated. The good part is that, these days, most of my jobs involve very little silverware wrapping.

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