I read this quote this morning. It’s one of my favorites and rings true:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
About five years ago I talked about volunteering at my favorite pizza shop. I talked about it. I wrote about it. I even scripted the conversation I would have. Walking into my Lil Pizzeria in Brooklyn and asking for a volunteer position was going to take a lot of explaining and there might even be a language barrier.
My intention was to learn the pizza business. I have always wanted to own a pizzeria but I didn’t know the industry. My fantasy was I would volunteer, love it, know this is what I was meant to do and have a great story of origin for my entrepreneurial success. I knew getting what I wanted was going to take some convincing. The pizza guys already knew me by face and, I like to think, personality. My scripted plan included me walking in and being honest.
Best case scenario:
Me: Can I talk to the manager?
Pizza guy: Why? You don’t like the pizza?
Me: No, I love the pizza. I want to volunteer my time to learn the pizza business.
Pizza guy: You want to make pizzas?
Me: I want to make great pizzas.
Fast forward. Three weeks later me and the pizza guy , after hours, sitting at the Formica tables, drinking fountain sodas with flour on our shirts.
Pizza guy: You are a fast learner.
Me: Naaah, you are a great teacher.
Of course I then took the whole scenario to a place where the real owner shows up on the scene and he’s a mafia type and I get bullied into delivering a bag of cash to one of his cronies and shazam my pizza dream turns into a life of crime. A life I didn’t want but a lucrative one none the less. The pizza guys turn on me when I show up in my fake fur and sunglasses to pick up the “pizza box”. I stop making pizzas altogether. Some of the customers ask for me and the guys just shrug. Then one night, I hanker for the struggle. I miss my pizza making days. I move back to Boston and get a job at Pizzeria Regina as a bartender. Hoping to get a shift in the kitchen. I live with mother but with a cool story of origin.
I wish I could find the actual script I wrote about it but I think I am recalling pretty good. Maybe in the original I got romantically involved with the Mafia guy, not sure.
The point is, I do regret not asking to volunteer at that pizza place. Instead I applied at a hipster pizza place in Prospect Heights. I remember waiting for my turn to meet with the owners who were getting a ton of press for their cool new pizza place. I felt jealous. I noticed I was the oldest person waiting to meet with them. I was giving college kids a run for their summer job money. The good news was, there weren’t any other chicks.
I thought the interview went well, the two cool guys with the life I wanted laughed at my conversational banter. I was honest and said I wanted what they had. At the end of our three way interview one of the guys leaned forward and said “honestly, we are trying to cut down on the testosterone around here”
I said “I understand, thanks for having me anyway”
And I still didn’t get the job.
Thanks for listening!
Kendra is a stand up comic living in Brooklyn where she owns a super comfortable bed. She spends most of her time wondering where the hell her sugar daddy is and hoping he didn’t settle.