In which I discuss “how I got my job in NYC”
The problem with this blog is that every time I think of one story, I realize that I have to tell another story before it so that the current story makes sense and has context. Now I’m a little bit ADD so this extreme level of organization is not something that I’m comfortable with but for you, oh trusty readers, I will give it a try.
Here’s a little background you will need for me to explain how I got my job. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in something called Mathematical Sciences. Apparently the degree combined some level of proficiency in math with the brand new field of computers, specifically computer programming. It also incorporated statistics but I was so bad at that course that I think they just let me graduate to get rid of me. At any rate, I graduated and promptly decided that, although I had failed miserably in trying to be pre-med in college, I would attempt it again. I came back to North Carolina and decided to take the science courses I was missing (like organic chemistry) while I lived at home with my parents. I was taking organic and physics and it pretty much sucked. It turns out that I still didn’t like to study and, in fact, rarely had the self discipline to do so. Long story short, I gave up, once again, on the pre-med thing while my dad encouraged, er, FORCED me to go and get a Masters degree in Engineering. So, here I was, back home and living in North Carolina once again trying to figure out what I wanted to do in life. At the time, I didn’t realize that doing nothing was an option.
So I lived at home that year and in May, I got extremely sick and ended up in the hospital. I’m going to eventually tell you about that story because my mom was so rattled that she tried to check me in under her AUTOMOBILE insurance policy, but that’s a story for another day. At any rate, I was extremely sick. Nobody knew what was wrong. They thought I had Multiple Sclerosis but I didn’t. I had somehow managed to get a virus in my spinal cord and it was causing paralysis. I thought I was going to die, but I didn’t. Die, that is.
After spending the summer recuperating I thought, what the hell, I’m going to move to New York City. When you have a “near death” experience, you feel invincible like you can do anything. I figured that the worst case scenario was that I would fail and have to come home with my tail between my legs. So in September I went up to New York with no job, no friends, and no apartment. The first thing I did was find a place to live through a service called Roommate Finders. My recommendation is: DO NOT DO THIS! It wasn’t that my roommate was a bad person. No…merely inconsiderate. She would stay up until about 2:00 AM partying with her friends and then sleep through work … wondering why she was so tired all the time. I lasted three months with her.
Our apartment was on the Upper East Side on East 72nd Street. After finding a place to live, I joined a gym (I needed to work on my stamina due to the illness) and eventually, I realized that a job would probably be a good thing to have as well to foot the bills.
So I started looking for a job. Nothing looked very interesting and after two weeks, I was beginning to despair. My older brother Brad, came up to New York to visit and cheer me up. On Friday night, we decided to go out to this Chinese restaurant that was nearby and was supposed to be quite good. We get to the restaurant and there is a HUGE wait. However, the manager tells us that there is a table of six available and “would we be willing to share a table with some strangers?” Well of course we would! I think I’ve already explained that I can talk to anybody, anytime. We sit down and there is Brad and myself, two sisters from somewhere and an older couple who are probably in their fifties. So we all start talking about where we are from and what we’re up to and I explain that I just moved to New York City and that I’m looking for a job. The man asks me a little bit about my background and I tell him I went to Johns Hopkins and that my major was Mathematical Sciences, yada, yada, yada.
I finally ask him what he does and he tells me that he’s the Senior Vice President of Technology at International Paper Company. I’ve never heard of International Paper Company (heretofore referred to as IP) but I do know that there is a paper company in Greensboro, North Carolina called “Dillard Paper Company”. I ask him, “Is IP as big as Dillard Paper?” My brother kicks me - HARD - under the table. Apparently, I am comparing a mountain to a molehill but I didn’t know that at the time. At any rate, the guy is intrigued by me and says they are looking for someone with my background and could I send him my resume. “Of course” I reply, “Should I send it over early Monday or do you big-wigs only work part-time?” My brother sadly shook his head but fortunately, the man had a sense of humor and told me Monday would be fine.
Well, I’m sure you can guess the rest. I sent in my resume, interviewed and got hired for the sweetest job imaginable. I spent the next four years of my life at International Paper Company, having numerous adventures which I will surely tell you about in the future.
So, that’s the story of how I got my job in a Chinese restaurant in New York City. Usually people assume I was a waitress in the restaurant at this point, but no, I worked for IP. I will always have a fond spot in my heart for Chinese restaurants.