Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Life is easier when you're on the dole.

Socialism. It's ubiquitous for me these days. And I'm not just talking about in McCarthy-era witch hunts and Eugene Debs biographies. Cradle to grave protection. That's how they define it over here. And since it survived Margaret Thatcher, it will probably survive until the destruction of the United Kingdom. I don't want to live on the dole though, a term I haven't used since I read Angela's Ashes back in Mrs. Antoinette's 9th grade English course. I want to make some pounds (while losing a few of the other type of pounds)!

Having now found a place to live (a palace of sorts) and acclimated myself with Norwich proper, it is now my duty to find some type of income-earning activity/scheme to occupy my time while I am neglecting school works and this very blog.

I've searched left and right, but in a city of 127,000 (according to the almighty Wikipedia) this isn't always easy.

I don't want to think of work as a job. I want to think of it as a learning opportunity - but I am faced with a paradox. One part of me, way deep down inside me wants to use this year to fulfill my occupational fantasies (read: become a fighter pilot, sushi chef, detective, war photographer, etc.) while the other part of me wants to find a temporary career that will further my more immediate life's goals (whatever they may be).

I know my strengths (ability with words and people skills) and my weaknesses (attention span), so now I only have to find the perfect job for me.

One option I've been considering is working as a pot washer at The Last Wine Bar, because it has a fantastic reputation, it's always crowded, and head chef Dory Masri was as enthusiastic and interesting in person yesterday as I hoped he would be having read about him on The Last's web site. I've been cooking up a storm lately, and quite frankly, I've realized that I can produce better tasting/healthier foods than many of the restaurants in Britain (this is not arrogance - the British are simply not known for their cuisine, but rather their ales). Working at The Last would be an exception to this rule as Masri's cooking is eclectic (Middle Eastern/Spanish influences) and healthier than the other menus I've checked out around town.

I've always been interested in food and drink, but I've manifested this interest since I was 14 by first writing the Morse's Morsels column for the Sider Press at Oceanside High School and then many food and drink reviews before being promoted to f&d editor at 34th Street Magazine.

Stepping into the kitchen has always been more of a fantasy. For Americans reading this, you may think that starting off as a pot washer is incredibly lousy. But in a country with socialistic virtues, there's very little difference between serving in a higher position and starting at the bottom of the ladder. For instance, waiters and waitresses would make the same 5.50 pounds per hour as me, and on top of that everyone (from head chef to head waiter down to me scrubbing the pots and pans and counter tops) splits up the tips equally, for a total of 7 or 8 pounds per hour. And this money isn't bad at all, considering bartenders in the UK make about 5.50 pounds per hour and rarely get a single tip!

But I wouldn't be taking this job for the money, rather for the learning experience, so I can first learn to cook in a style that I hope to carry with me for the rest of my life. I also hope to learn a thing or two about the operations of a successful restaurant and wine bar, with the hopes that one day, with a few angel investors, I'll be able to open one of my own too.

If anyone in Norwich is reading this and wants to hire a witty, hardworking, innovative, easy-to-get-along-with American chap, just contact sidneymorsels@gmail.com, and I'll have my CV sent over to you immediately!

Goal for tomorrow: Find the symbol for "pound" on the computer!

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