After finding a flat and getting settled into our new digs in Bondi, it was time to find a job. We drew from our experience in Queenstown, and applied some of the lessons that we had learned through that experience. First off, we decided that it wasn’t the best idea to go around looking for jobs together. We had done that in Queenstown, and had found that it actually had an effect of limiting the possibilities, as most places that were hiring may have had one spot they were trying to fill, but two openings was a bit of a stretch. Secondly, our experience in Queenstown had helped us figure out what kind of work we wanted to do- and, more importantly, what we DID NOT want to do- and this helped cut out a lot of the busy work involved in the job search process. Finally, we had our C/V’s already written out- all we had to do was add on the experience we had gained in New Zealand, and we were good to go.
Having enjoyed my experiences at both the Sofitel and Luciano’s while working in Queenstown, I decided that staying in the bar/restaurant arena was going to be the best way to go. Good hours, get to meet lots of people- both locals and tourists passing through- and if you get a job at the right spot, you can make pretty good money as well. Knowing Bondi Beach as one of the top tourist destinations in Sydney, I was confident that there would be plenty of bars and restaurants around looking to bolster their staffs for the upcoming summer. I updated my C/V, and set out with the mission of dropping in as many places I could between the lunch and dinner rushes, hoping to talk to some staff members and/or managers when they weren’t so busy. I had already done my homework, having scoured the streets of Bondi for any and every establishment that looked even remotely appealing as a place to work, and was out to check each off the list, having dropped my C/V with a staff member or manager. Let the games begin!
So, I made the rounds that afternoon, and was exhausted by the end of it, but hey, if you want to get a job, you’ve got to get out and beat the streets, right? I had several positive responses along the way, including, “I’ll have a look at the schedule, and see when we can get you in for a trial…” Ahhhh, the magic words! If you can get a manger to commit to a trial, you’re almost as good as IN.
There were three places I was most intrigued by- a small boutique restaurant that had just opened up, a laid-back bar/restaurant combo that was pretty informal, and this nicer seafood restaurant that was right on the beach. I dropped in the seafood place as the final stop on my mission. It looked pretty sweet- ceiling-to-floor windows in the front dining room, a little outdoor patio partitioned off from the rest of the boardwalk, an outdoor lounge area full of huge couches and cocktail tables… And it was called ‘Nick’s’. I took it as a sign…
I walked in through the heavy glass doors at the front, and was greeted by an impeccably dressed gentleman at the front desk. I introduced myself, and barely discerned that his name was Hugo through his heavy French accent. “Come with me,” he said, and quickly walked away from the desk towards the kitchen. “Can you hold zees plates?” he asked, handing me a stack of three dinner plates. “Of course,” I replied, looking at him a bit quizzically. I grabbed the plates, one in the left hand and two stacked on the right, and then looked at him blankly. I wasn’t sure what he wanted. “Ahhh, you passssss!” he said with a smile. “Ziz is a little test I like to give to zee if people are being honest about having restaurant experience… You would be zurprised by how many are not.” I laughed, relieved to know I had passed the simple yet telling test. “George, zee uzzer manager, will be ‘ere tomorrow. Can you come and zee him in zee afternoon?” “Definitely,” I replied. A quick handshake, and I was out the door, glad to have made the last impromptu stop.
I met with George the next afternoon, and found out that he was in fact the owner’s son. He had been put in charge of running the family’s beachside restaurant, one of a handful they have throughout the city, and came across as a confident and knowledgeable guy, despite his young age (I think he was only 22 when I started working there- pretty young to be running a restaurant the caliber of Nick’s- Bondi Beach.) We talked a bit, and set up a time to come in for a trial.
I had several trials over the next week or so, each place having its own pros and cons. It took a little debating, but in the end, I settled on working at Nick’s. It was RIGHT ON the beach, seemed to be a good group of people (I had gone out on the town with them a couple of times already), was perfect as far as the hours were concerned (only open for lunch and dinner, meaning no early mornings and only a few late nights), and looked to be the best money one could make in a restaurant in Bondi. The management team of Hugo and George were really easy to work for, and it all just felt like a good fit. I passed several more tests on my trial, including the manual transport of all the patio furniture into the back storage room at the end of the night, and after a week or so, got my name on the official roster at Nick’s-Bondi Beach. I now had a place to live and a solid job- time to bring on the summer and the happy days!
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