Tuesday, June 26, 2007

First jobs

Apparently, the children's author Bruce Farrington Coville worked at Dubrow's. According to this autobiography, his first job upon moving to New York City from Phoenix, NY was bussing tables at Dubrow's.

He doesn't say much more about what he thought about the job, but he has some interesting things to say about what it took to find a job in general in those days:

"I headed for New York City, figuring that since it was summer it would be off season for a tropical paradise and I would have no problem buying an airplane ticket to the islands. Wrong! As it turned out, I couldn't get a reservation for two weeks, though the airlines told me I could check on standby every day. (What I had really wanted to do was work my way down on a boat. But I got laughed at down at the docks, where they told me I'd have to join the union and unless I had a relative who was already a member, the waiting list was years long.)

Two strikes, and an important lesson for a writer: do your research! Having no intention of going home at this point, I was stranded in Manhattan. I went to the YMCA, where I got the cheapest room I could. In the lobby was a table where you could sign up for temporary work, and I took advantage of it, not wanting to draw down my little bankroll any more than necessary. I ended up washing dishes in a seafood restaurant, where I scrubbed away grease that seemed to have accumulated for years. They must have thought I did a good job because they gave me a fabulous meal in addition to my pay. The next night I got a job bussing tables at Dubrow's cafeteria in Brooklyn.

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