Another job for older people: restaurant hostess

By Jane Bokun

It was the dead of winter in the Chicago area and I think I may have completely lost my mind when I tried a job as a hostess in a 90-year-old restaurant. I’m not going to say the name lest you want to run over there and work this job yourself, but it starts with a T-e-i-b-e-l-s.

“I can do this,” I thought. That was before I knew there was extensive math involved and yes, accounting to close the entire restaurant, much like hotels, my other nemesis.

I scoured the Internet for duties before I showed up at the job. This is pretty much what I found (but, it’s not true). Hostesses acknowledge guests, offer up a polite greeting, and remember their information. Sometimes they may have to check menus.

Here’s what really happened: I had to act as the accountant for the day, posting checks, giving change and balancing. In addition to that, I sat customers in various stations. The waitresses and waiters at this establishment had been there for upwards of 30 years and still daily fought over which sections they had been given. After about two weeks, I had to close and balance the restaurant before I left – all for $10 an hour and that was an upgrade because I have a college degree.

Maybe not try hostessing as a senior

Why can’t you be an accountant if you have a college degree? I don’t know.

Each day, the wait staff and myself longingly looked out the front window when there were no guests. It showed a busy street where we looked for accidents or any melee. Something was afoot, I noticed we didn’t have much in common as people and it was very lonely. I started actually speaking to guests about their lives.

The waitstaff did not like that. But they didn’t tell me. They glared at me as I had interesting conversations. I kept on. As a journalist, a woman was once angry with me for an entire year and I didn’t notice. It takes a lot for me to know when I’m getting on people’s nerves.

A man came in to pick up a check from the owners for a charity event. I asked him the usual marketing questions for the event.

“I feel like we could work together,” he said.

Needless to say, I quit and did his marketing for a year. It’s always a good idea to find other senior jobs while on the job.