Part-time job dilemma

Posted: August 23, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Tofu scramble (vegan)

Image via Wikipedia. What I wish I was serving my customers instead of critters and critter secretions

I’m taking my fiance out for a little vegetarian dinner to celebrate this Meatless Monday.  We’re going to an adorable hippie restaurant that specializes in vegan food.  (They do serve some free-range chicken and fish, which makes me a little sad, but it’s probably a good way to lure in the omnivores.)

I’m looking for a second job right now, and I’d love to work at this uber-granola organic restaurant, but it costs way too little per entree and isn’t busy enough to make good money.  Low check averages mean low tips.  As I was researching the local restaurant market, it seems that I should probably work at a sushi place or a steakhouse if I want to make good money.  I need good money to pay my bills, to take me abroad next semester, and to support my organic and vegan cooking experiments.

It’s sad.  There isn’t an upscale vegan establishment in this town.   We have a veg-friendly but omnivorous place that reminds me of an organic Panera, the aforementioned hippie restaurant, and a tiny, cheap vegan cafe that’s only open from 11 AM to 3 PM.

And, as much as I complain, I love waiting tables.  Every day is payday.  You’re always busy doing something, and you get to meet lots of interesting people (some in a good way, others not so much.)  And it’s quick money.  Not necessarily easy money, but you can make a few hundred bucks cash in a weekend.  Waiting tables has ruined me for retail and any other crap job that I could get while still in school.  I can’t justify taking a major pay cut to fold sweaters at some clothing store in the mall; those places sell leather and sweatshop clothes anyway, so I would still feel like a huge, stinking pile of hypocritical poo.

Where can I get a cruelty-free, decent-paying, school-friendly job?  Is it okay for an ethical vegan to work at a meat-centered restaurant?  Where do you draw the line?  I hate pushing spinach dip and cheesecake on my patrons at The Family Chain where I work now; how will I feel about pushing steak?  Fish?  What if they serve veal?  Can I in good conscience work for a company that sells products with production methods I would picket?

I don’t think it’s possible or good for vegans to isolate ourselves from the omnivorous world.  I still have faith in capitalism, in supply and demand.  I demand vegan food, and others do, and the supply will increase and improve.  I do patronize the local vegan eateries I mentioned earlier, to encourage them to stay open.  I also shop at a non-vegan grocery store (as all grocery stores are, of course) and purchase vegan food.  I eat at non-vegan restaurants and order vegan food.

But can I work for a non-vegan restaurant and encourage the vegan lifestyle?  I already do now, of course, but as I look to the future, is that something that I can continue to do?  Does my vegan lifestyle influence others in a positive way – other servers, etc?  I don’t know.  I do know that I don’t want to profit from another living creature’s pain.

Maybe the cheap hippie restaurant is in my future.  Or perhaps I need to start thinking more creatively.  I wouldn’t work at Sea World.  I wouldn’t work in a slaughterhouse.  I wouldn’t work at a pet store (ever again.)  So why would I work at a place that sells meat?

I have so many questions in this post, and no answers


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