Friday, September 21, 2012
It's a Mental Move I Need... Not a Physical One.
My father is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. While he most definitely instilled in me a good work ethic, I’ve never really understood how he could work so hard at so many different things for so long and never complain. I’ve had well over twenty jobs in ten different industries and the reason I am a server is because it’s the job I hate the least.
When we were born, my dad was a cook at the hospital where my mom gave birth. My dad has always had a passion for cooking and baking but to my knowledge, that was the last job he ever held in that industry. When we were younger, he worked in construction and drywall and when we were teenagers, he and my mom got a job as property managers and ended up doing that together for over fifteen years.
Last year, Dad decided he really wanted to leave the property management line of work and get back in the kitchen. Unfortunately, he ran into complications. He didn’t have enough recent experience to get a good paying kitchen job in Las Vegas and he knew that baking bagels for eight hours a day at minimum wage was not exactly what he had in mind. However, he kept plugging along, sending out resumes and keeping his hopes up.
Then, a few months ago, he started getting interest from an application he had filled out to be a kitchen/cook supervisor at a prison in Lovelock. His information must’ve gone in the system because then he got a call from the maximum security facility out in Ely. Then the prison in Indian Springs. He began interviewing with each of them.
Ely is over 200 miles north of Las Vegas, not too far from Reno. It’s a very small town with all the necessary amenities: grocery store, gas station, golf course, bowling alley. And a huge prison housing over 1,000 male inmates.
During the interview, Dad made sure they knew that while he hadn’t worked in a kitchen in over twenty years, he was quite capable of meeting the requirements of the job. Interestingly enough, they weren’t as interested in his cooking experience as they were in the fact that he was a property manager in Naked City. For those that aren’t from the area, Naked City is the neighborhood behind the Stratosphere in Las Vegas that is known for it’s high drug trafficking, prostitution and crime. Many of those people involved in these “industries” were also tenants that my dad managed.
My dad has this really cool, natural outlook on people. He understands more than most that while the world has many bad people in it, it also has a lot of good people that do bad things. He has always been able to talk to people in a way that didn’t make them feel like pieces of shit - the way everyone else made them feel. He worked with people who struggled with rent, employed people when no one else would hire them and even in cases where he needed to evict, he did so with a professional demeanor and only as a last resort.
Things hit a little closer to home, however, when one of his tenants was his son. He watched helplessly as my brother became wrapped up in the world of drugs and his life slowly fell apart. For a few years there, we thought we were going to lose him. When he found his way out of his mess and put a new life together, it reinforced the fact that sometimes... good people just do bad things.
This is what the woman interviewing my dad saw. So it was no surprise that a few weeks later, they called and offered him the job.
It’s a great offer. It’s a state job which means benefits, retirement, vacation, etc. At only 56 years old (I think??), my dad still has many good working years ahead of him. He’s also excited to get back to small town life with my mom. He still gets to build his birdcages - which is a business that grows more and more each day - and finally, he gets to be back in a kitchen.
The interesting part of the job, of course, are those that he supervises. Besides the guards, my dad is the only one in the kitchen who isn’t an inmate. And it’s hard to have a kitchen with no knives... however, the inmates that get to work in the kitchen are considered “privileged” and get to work there because of good behavior. And like I said... there are lots of guards.
Besides, I worried a lot more about my dad when he worked in Naked City than I do now. Dad doesn’t make people feel small or threatened. He makes them feel like people. With my dad’s countless good qualities, this is his best.
I have decided that moving to California is not a good decision for me. Just crunching preliminary numbers, I can see that the financial requirements needed to make a move like this happen are... overwhelming to say the least. And I don’t know what to expect when I get out there... what if the restaurant I transfer to doesn’t pay what I’m used to getting? What if I can’t find a second job? I keep joking that I’d rather be broke on the beach than broke in the desert. Then I started thinking... I don’t want to be broke at all.
Jeremy says having money is a state of mind. You either have a broke mentality or an abundant one. But even he knows that it takes hard work and daily commitments to make abundance happen. He was broke for the majority of his adult life. But he never stopped thinking that he was going to be wealthy eventually and that’s what he continued working towards. When he was finally rewarded for his mentality, it was in a huge way.
I don’t think uprooting my whole life and moving to a state where the cost of living is so much higher than where I am now is the best move. It’s sounds sexy and romantic - beach life and all - but I think I’m getting too old to be making decisions based on sex appeal. And as far as Brendan goes, I think we both know that our “friends with benefits” relationship is our ceiling. I’ve been chasing my love story long enough to know that it’s the chase that needs to end. With the right mentality and a shift in my internal energy, perhaps both abundance and love will begin to chase me.
I do need to make some changes, though, and that’s where my life starts to get interesting. I’m getting ready to break the lease on my apartment, fuck my credit (hence the new car I just bought - had to do it while I could), move in with my mom to help us both save money so she can get up to be with my dad as soon as possible and then, with all the hope in my heart, I will take over renting the two-bedroom house my parents currently rent here and start taking my job more serious. I think I’ll go ahead and pursue becoming a trainer and then maybe start working my way into the corporate training department and help with new restaurant openings in the future. I’d also get to start working banquets. The last time I helped with a banquet, I walked with almost $300 for the day. It’s definitely worth pursuing.
And then, suddenly, I get a text last night from Brendan saying that he wants to move back to Las Vegas. I tell him about the two bedroom house with the yard for Lunch Box and all of a sudden, there is something to be excited about again. No relationship pursuit though, just two friends who dig each other and are ready to have a better quality of life.
I hope I can make all this work. I hope I can start seeing things differently and improve my state of mind. I hope I can stay positive and create positive things. I hope I can appreciate the importance of patience and the rewards it can bring.
My dad always knows things will work out. He has struggled, fought, worked his ass off and throughout it all, has stayed positive. Nothing makes me happier than to see him being rewarded now for all that he has been.
Because it’s who we are that creates what we have. My friend at work keeps telling me, when I’m at my saddest, that I’m a good person and good things will come to me. I hope she’s right.
Congratulations, Daddy. You remain a true inspiration and I love you very much.
Posted by Tina V at 1:20 PM