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Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Cupcake on the Side

Sometimes you need a change of scenery. The snow this week seems to have affected everyone and I’m not exempt. Even though I challenge myself not to allow the frigid temperatures to stop me, the boot shod feet are dragging. My job, pertaining to finding a job, is to develop “BAR” statements (Background, Activities, and Results) so that I can build a functional resume (the “curriculum vitae” of choice for we career changers).

This morning though, while sitting in my cold house at the computer cubby, inspiration iced up too. So I went out to breakfast (or perhaps on a reconnaissance mission) to my dream coffee/sandwich shop that may or may not be for sale (a story for a different day).

When I arrived, there were only three patrons, regulars, dishing about current events with the owners. Even with my Boston Globe propped by my plate, it was impossible not to listen to their comments. (Did I mention that the dream may be over-the-top, but the place itself is tiny?)

While I polished off my second breakfast of the day (the first was oatmeal with raisins at 7:00), their conversation went something like this:

Owner 1: "What are you all up to today?"
Patron 1 (with a wink): "We are all looking for jobs. We hear there is a stimulus package that is going to provide them to us."
Owner 2: "I hear that most people only have enough cash reserves to cover one month of unemployment."
Patron 2: "I think I should open a diner."

In my head, utilizing spellbinding and witty repartee of course, I tossed in the following responses to their dialogue:

“Actually, I really am seeking a new career (I'd insert my personal marketing statement here). Would you have a few minutes to speak to me?”

“Even if you have cash reserves, unemployment is unnerving. Would you consider offering me a job cooking in your kitchen?”

“If you do open that diner, I’m a hard worker, a darn good cook and I make a mean London Broil. Would you consider offering me a job cooking in your kitchen?”

Putting my pipe dreams aside, I contemplated interjecting myself into their conversation for real—let’s face it; I could provide some pretty relevant, timely and personal commentary. This clearly presented an opportunity to make connections. Talk about never knowing where your next networking contact may arise—two eggs over easy with an employment discussion on the side—sounds delicious.

Well, my breakfast was flavorful and God knows I’ve spent a huge portion of my life speaking to strangers for a living. But as I mopped up the crumbs on my plate, the skills I took for granted for the last twenty years disappeared as fast as my breakfast. The thought of selling myself verses being sold to was the unsavory entree at my table. After dawdling over my second cup of coffee and depositing a large tip, I moved on.

I’m at the library now. The warmth of the Sherwood green walls and the sun streaming through the palladium windows have been conducive to several BAR statements as well as this blog entry; and the clock just struck lunchtime. At my little dream restaurant, they are selling homemade chocolate, raspberry filled cupcakes, frosted with butter cream. Just my luck--on top of everything else, unemployment is going to be fattening.

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