She was not paying enough attention to detail, the assistant manager had said. And that in the five years he had spent in that restaurant as an assistant manager, he had learnt to know when a waitress had some prospect of a career or no prospect, and unfortunately Paula didn’t had one; not after two warnings anyway. What career it was, Paula wondered, in a working place where the furthest any one could get would be an assistant manager and then general manager, and where both jobs seemed to be reserved for native English speakers.
She had arranged to meet with Lisa that evening. Lisa had casual jobs too, but it was far easier to see her than it was to see any of her other friends who were still working in coffee shops, even if they were assistant managers, as Maria now said she was.
Lisa took Paula to a place with live music. She was a Londoner, Paula thought, so she would not all the coolest places with the best music. As they entered, Paula saw the “barmaid wanted” poster outside. “Request an application form at the bar”, said the poster. Paula offered to buy the drinks on the first round.
“Can I have two half pints of cider and a job application form please?”

follow the 73

Paula tried yet the last one of the Spanish restaurants she saw in the neighbourhood. It was a huge establishment. The whole building; not just the ground floor with the rest of the building occupied by living space. This public house had four floors dedicated to the business. Bar on the ground floor, a restaurant on the first floor, and dance floors beyond that.
“I’m sorry, but no, we do not have any vacancies at the moment. How are you doing otherwise?”
Paula was not used to being asked questions about her life. She had not been asked any questions at all by pub managers, actually. A week gone through a complete lack of conversation makes even the most reserved person want to talk to strangers.
“I am OK. I would love to change houses too, but that is not something I will contemplate without having a job first.”
“Are you checking out the Loot?”
“What is that?”
“How long have you been in London? Not long, have you?”
“No, just arrived a few days ago.”
“Right. I see you have an A to Z. Next thing to get used to is the Loot. It is a newspaper you buy in small shops that sell magazines and papers. It comes out a few times a week and has listings of rooms to let and some jobs too.”
Paula made a mental note.

“For now though, have you checked out La Finca?”
“No. What is it?”
“It is a Spanish pub, similar to this one. You should ask there. There may have vacancies there.”
“Where is it?”
“In Stoke Newington.”
Paula’s face must have shown that the name said nothing to her.
“Ok, just get on the seventy three. You get it just outside here. Just ask the conductor to let you off in Stoke Newington, there is only one stop on the main road though. You will not miss it.”
“Ok. Thanks for all.”
“Not a problem.”
Paula got out of the restaurant and headed to the bus stop. Then she realised the bus ride would cost one pound. She did not have a pound. She decided to walk on the direction of the bus route.