My brief (very brief) career as a breakfast cook at I-Hop

After being fired the day after Christmas in 1974, with no skills and only 12 hours of college credit, getting a job was what you might call difficult.

The first attempt to fake my way into a job was as a breakfast cook at an I-Hop.

I sort of remember this exchange from the “interview”:

What experience do you have?

I was a cook at the Rover Cafe. [Abject lie. At that time, I don’t think I had cooked anything more difficult than a scrambled egg and popping a can of biscuits open, putting them on a baking sheet and putting them in the oven.]

Where is the Rover Cafe?

In Rover Arkansas.

What’s their number and who was your supervisor?

Well, it’s gone.  It burned down last fall.

Eventually, he told me to come in the next day at 5:30. I did.  Bushy tailed and bleary-eyed.

Everything went well for about 15 minutes. By watching the guy next to me, I could cook pancakes and fry bacon and eggs and sausage—not smoothly, but I got through it. Then someone ordered a Denver Omelet.  At that point in my life, I had no clue what an omelet was, much less one from Denver.

The guy next to me, knowing I was a total maroon, told me how to do it and laughed while I tried. About three minutes into the mess, my boss came into the kitchen, saw the mess and told me to get out.

Since the job lasted less than half an hour and I never got paid—was lucky I didn’t have to pay them for the mess I made—I never listed it on my resume.

What I learned from this is that faking it on the job is not a real good thing. Yes, there have been many many times I have been in over my head—that is the nature of the profession—I do not say I can do something I have never done before and have no clue how to do it.

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