When I decided to take time off from work to raise the demon spawn, I knew it wouldn’t be an easy climb back to career success and this was when I thought the whole stay-at-home-mom thing was going to be just a short hiatus for me. Indeed, my triumphant return to the job market has been elusive, thus far. I recently ran across a revised copy of my resume dated 2010. That’s right, it’s been five years since I said, “That’s it! I’m going back to work.” Shortly after that, I got an interview for a producer position at Turner Networks. That was the first time I was told, “We think you’re great, but we’ve decided to go with an internal candidate.” Unfortunately, it wasn’t the last.
So, over the past few months, I’ve been using a new tactic for my job hunt. Shoot low and do the dirty work. I’ve learned to check my vanity at the door and be willing to do just about any job even remotely related to my field in an attempt to get the old career back on track. I’ve volunteered, I’ve taken on assignments for free, I’ve worked as a production assistant (a glorified runner) on a television show, despite having worked for years as a producer, and now I can proudly say I’ve slung pancakes to make a buck!
My friend M. has been working for a couple event planning and marketing companies over the past year in an effort to move her career in a different direction. She keeps saying I should join her, so I wasn’t entirely surprised when she contacted me a few weeks ago to ask if I could work an event with her the following day. The job paid fairly well, but the call time for the event was to be 6 am in Alpharetta, which is about 30 minutes from my home. My first reaction was, “Aw, hell no!” but quickly reminded myself I was in no position to turn down a job at which I might make good contacts (Network, network, network!). So, I checked to see if Ad Man could work from home and supervise kids the next day. He said yes and so did I.
I was told that we’d be working a corporate event for one of the country’s largest hotel groups which just happens to also be one of the production company’s biggest clients. However, I was still in the dark as to exactly what I’d be doing. It was only when I arrived before sunrise the following morning that I found out we’d be making pancakes for approximately 100 people. I wondered why we were told to wear head-to-toe black if we’d be handling pancake batter, but asked no questions and got to work unloading equipment and setting up tables.
Things became clearer though, when the most magnificent piece of machinery was unloaded and brought into the now transformed conference room. I knew what the mysterious contraption was only because of my recent road trip with my friend A and our girls. On the trip, we stayed at only the finest accommodations, one of which was the Holiday Inn Express in Sanford, North Carolina. It truly was a lovely hotel…brand new with friendly-modern interior design and nice indoor pool (very important when one is traveling with a band of restless children). But, the very best part of the Holiday Inn Express was the newly debuted automatic pancake maker!
I will admit that the pancake maker isn’t much to look at, but its design and performance make it a thing of beauty. I won’t be at all surprised when MOMA adds the Holiday Inn pancake maker to its permanent design collection. That’s how amazing it is. Biggie, Smalls and their friend AJ had their young minds blown when they pushed a button on the pancake maker and two, perfectly cooked, uniformly sized and sweet smelling pancakes emerged from the other end of the machine in less than a minute! Needless to say, Holiday Inn Express has suddenly become our first choice for lodgings while on the road.
Anyway, back at the event, three gleaming pancake makers now stood in a place of honor at one end of the room. To my delight, the event producer assigned the crucial responsibility of pancake making to M and me. That meant we were privy to the inner workings of the pancake maker (we received training directly from the automatic pancake maker expert who was on site the entire time) and could crank out pancakes to our hearts’ content. The details are top secret, but I can tell you that, to my relief, our exposure to pancake batter was minimal.
It turned out, the purpose of the event was to demonstrate the new pancake maker for the company’s employees and to launch a television marketing partnership. There was a video, signage, stand ups, even a speaker, but all eyes were on the pancake maker. The employees were as giddy as Biggie and Smalls were upon their first encounter with the magical machine. It was fun as hell. Don’t get me wrong, there was lots of hard work, but it was totally worth the smiles on the attendees faces and delicious pancakes heaped with blueberries and whipped cream we scarfed behind closed doors after the festivities.
In exchange for carrying heavy things and slinging pancakes, I met a great group of people who worked together like a well-oiled machine, got paid actual money, and made some valuable contacts at a very busy and successful marketing company. In fact, they just happen to be hiring producers. Without jinxing anything (because that’s a totally legitimate concern for a well-educated, grown woman), I’m hoping to have some exciting job news for you soon. Fingers crossed!