Posts Tagged ‘Work’

By Tricia Lunt, English Faculty

Any job very well done that has been carried out by a person who is fully dedicated is always a source of inspiration. ~Carlos Ghosn

Tis the season for job hunting for graduating seniors looking to find a position in their field of study and while hopes are high, opportunities are rare and salaries low.

Recently, one of my students said she was desperate for a job. I recommended that she apply at Target, a good company with regular vacancies and the potential for advancement. I won’t detail her response, but she was not pleased with my suggestion.

One of the many difficulties encountered after graduation is the harsh terrain of the employment landscape. There is an enormous gap between student expectations and job opportunities. I have had, over the years, many interactions with students who are frustrated because they cannot find a good, high-paying job. To which I reply, who can?

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A former student contacted me to ask for encouragement as he’d been out of college for over a year, with still no hope of landing his “dream job”. My advice: wake up. Among the things that I don’t believe in are the Tooth Fairy, soul mates, and a dream job.

I do believe in good, meaningful work, and that is something that can (and should) be done at every level. I’ve had difficult jobs that involved unpleasant tasks, but they were still good jobs.

Here are the jobs I found in the months after graduating from college in four efficient years:

  • Cashier at a grocery store
  • Hostess at a restaurant

I hurried back to graduate school.

Here are the jobs I found after graduating with my first Master’s degree:

  • Adjunct English instructor—hooray! This job does not pay the bills.
  • Waitress at a restaurant

Graduate school, one more time!

Here are the jobs I worked after graduating with my second Master’s degree:

  • Adjunct English instructor—hooray! Still did not pay all my bills.
  • Academic Librarian—hooray! Alas, it was only part-time
  • Bartender, which with the other two part-time jobs added up to enough.

The list did not end there. With a college degree (or three) in hand, I worked as a temporary office assistant. When I first moved to Chicago, I served for a caterer, worked beer tents at festivals, and even did “coat check” a time or two. I’ve also provided ACT tutoring for high school students. Quite often, we all must take what is available until a better opportunity arises. After all, student loans don’t pay themselves; yes, like so many Americans, I am still in the process of paying off my student loan debt.

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What makes a job good arises primarily from attitude and intention. I distinctly remember a young man grabbing a broom at a small mom-and-pop convenient store, owned and operated at the time by practicing Buddhists. He turned to the owner and said, “I will now go outside and practice the Zen art of sweeping the parking lot.” His boss nodded in approval. How invaluable to learn early on that sweeping the parking lot is a necessary task and can be done beautifully.

I’m certainly not the first person to promote hard work. Oftentimes, students allow themselves to be misled. Too often students believe that completing college signals the end of the struggle; ultimately, we all come to know that the struggle is never-ending. They dream of illustrious careers, only to discover the reality: a life filled with work, work that we are all incredibly fortunate to have.

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Doing a job well will result in a good job, all that remains is to get to work.

By Eric Finlayson, RMU Student. 

Easter brunch in Chicago is a beautiful thing when the weather gods have lined up and allowed Chicagoans to have great sunny Spring weather. However, for a chef, it’s a 3 day weekend in the kitchen of extensive work and preparation. I work for Redstone Restaurant in Oakbrook Terrace and we do breakfast, brunch and dinner on Easter; breakfast and brunch are the big sellers.

While I’m on the way to work at 10 A.M. Easter Sunday, I can see everyone dressed up coming from church on their way to breakfast and brunch. I know what a crazy long day is ahead of me, but I’m prepared; game face on!

img_oakbrook-terraceAt Redstone Restaurant we have a huge patio overlooking a gorgeous look of the water, perfect for a sunny Easter brunch. As the day goes on, I’m red in the face from the heat of the kitchen. I run to the back to get some more towels. I pass our Easter bunny (an employee in costume) and knock over his whole basket of eggs in a hurry. Uhhh…. The orders are coming in just as fast as the customers, and it’s “Showtime”. We prepared for this holiday. All hands are on deck.  Energy drinks are passed out to employees. We will need a little extra energy today.

It’s been 7 straight hours now, and the dinner push is coming. The cooks and I are still in our groove. We’re ready for the next wave. Seats are being filled, orders are coming in and Easter is still here, and these people are hungry! Every 20 minutes I’m refilling my ice water; need to stay hydrated. It reminds me of cooking in Iraq when in the Army. HOT!

As the day winds down, things slow down. It’s now quieter in the kitchen; time to clean and call it a day. It’s been 9 hours now and we still need to clean and get this kitchen back to regular. Little by little everyone is losing lenergy. It’s apparent on everyone’ faces that we need food. As ironic as it sounds, you don’t get to eat much in the kitchen.  Food is for paying customers.

Now on 10 ½ hours my friend Juan let me know he’s making food for everyone in the kitchen; sirloin and potato tacos! Right on time! Finally I’m finishing up with work. I’m dog tired, hungry, in need of a shower, but I have an authentic meal right in front of me from my co-workers. Happy Easter to me! I drive home. Can’t wait to shower and put my feet up.

My fiancé tells me how everyone on Facebook was posting pics of the awesome brunch served today at my restaurant Redstone. That makes the Easter rush all worth it!