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Many years ago, I found myself in a predicament I would gamble most teenagers find themselves in. I was legally licensed to drive, only without a means to exercise my newly gained legal ability. My parents, a bit old fashioned in their ways and unwilling to give into the common practice of spoiling your kids with a new automobile (guns I am proud they stuck to, in hindsight) offered to meet me halfway. They would buy me half of a used car, but I would need a job to help pay back my half. It was this deal we brokered that drove me to enter the working world. I forget what day it was when we shook on the arrangement, but I would soon learn what day I would be getting all too familiar with, and that is a bright red, Ruby Tuesday.

A friend of mine, Bill, worked at the restaurant around the corner from my house. It was a fairly new establishment, so they were hiring pretty regularly in their first few months. On a nearly daily basis Bill would bother me about putting in an application, so he could pocket the fifty dollar Ruby Tuesday gift card they promised for all successful referrals. This should have clued me in about what it means to be successful at Ruby Tuesday.

suc·cess·ful [suhk-ses-fuhl]

noun

1.  Staying true to your contractual work commitment for four weeks without being caught stealing food.

Still, an opportunity was falling into my lap, and if I could win somebody a few free meals by displaying an elementary work ethic, so much the better.

The call for the interview came no later than three days after putting in my application. The girl on the phone was sure to mention that the managers were impressed with how clean my application was and that printing legibly in ink goes a long way.

suc·cess·ful [suhk-ses-fuhl]

noun

2.  Owning and using a pen.

 I went into the restaurant for my interview a few days later after school. There were not many people dining, as it was still rather early in the evening, so the hostess sat me in a booth to wait for my interviewer. After hearing a boisterous clatter in the kitchen area, I saw a figure emerge and head out my way.

“How you doing there bossman?” a middle-aged man with slicked-back hair asked, extending a hand, “My name’s Jayce Williams, but you can call me Jay. I’m the regional manager here at Ruby’s. Thanks for coming in. You wouldn’t believe how many people can’t find the place or show up on the wrong day.”

“Oh!” I chuckled, “I can’t imagine it’s that many.” The actual statistic would be enough to baffle even a child prodigy’s imagination.

“Let’s get right down to the brass tax, kemo sabe. Ruby Tuesday is new to this neighborhood, and we want to make an impression on the community. We want to be that place families look forward to coming to all week! And we think we can do that with hard working folks contributing to the team to put out great food and great service!”

There was a brief twinkle in Jay’s eyes, as he obviously was moved by this rhetoric that I’m sure has been delivered anywhere between three and six times today, depending on how noticeable the sign was from the road to the populace.

“I’mma level with you, chief.” Jay continued, “You’re a little too young to be a line cook, or to be a server, but we are looking for some dependable dishwashers. But that’s still a great role! You’ll be washing the dishes before the food goes out to the guests!”

Thank God that’s the order of operations here. I was about to make a note not to be putting money back into this place should I start to get some out. Still, I needed a job, and as a fairly lazy 17 year old, this sounded much more appealing when compared to pounding the pavement or calling numbers that I circle with a large red marker in the classified ads.

“Sure, I’d be willing to do that, sounds good!” I replied with my best feigned enthusiasm. It sounded like I had the job in the bag, based on the average punctuality of my competition, so there was a hint of genuine excitement in my tone. There was the basic joy of being favored for something, even if the prize wasn’t that great, just for the sake of winning.

“Hey, listen, love that enthusiasm!” Jay’s face lit up and he extended his hand once again, this time as a fist that I was to bump. “We’ve got some more interviews to do, but we’ll give you a little ring-a-ling-ding within a couple of weeks with our decision.”

I returned his gesture, and hopped out of the booth. Clearly I had overestimated how long and challenging this interview would be, as my mind quickly switched gears to thinking about what I would do with the rest of the afternoon, which was now free before heading home to start on the evening’s homework. I drove over to the nearby shopping mall and killed some time before resigning myself to my duties, and headed home.

I had barely gotten back to my bedroom to change out of my interviewing clothes when my mother called up.

“You have a message down here on the machine down here! Some guy named Jane or something.”

That was fast. I had expected to wait at least a couple of days before hearing back. The day’s other interviewees must have had trouble finding the place. I pressed the button and heard that enthusiastic voice, still fresh in my mind from the last time I saw him. You know, two hours ago.

“Hello there, this message is for John. This is your pal Jayce down at Rubys. Listen brutha-man, I loved having the chance to talk with you a little today. We’d love to have you on-board here if you’re still interested! I think you’re looking at a very successful career here, boss!”

Despite my better judgment, and the nagging voice in my head that I should at least identify my other options, I called back right away to accept the offer. I had a job! And now I could drive my new used car around guilt-free! Besides, my friend seems to like it there okay, and how bad could washing dishes really be?

suc·cess·ful [suhk-ses-fuhl]

noun

3.  Taking a chance on the first thing that comes along.

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