Happy New Year – 7 Years to Sucka Free!

2014

I misquoted in my morning Facebook status today. I said that it took three years of bloody hell to get a good one in 2013; I should have wrote that it took SEVEN YEARS of bloody hell to get to a good one in 2013.

It’s not that I didn’t have decent years leading up to 2013 but none were all that great either. I was plagued by heartbreaks, bad credit, uneasy housing and uncertainly when it came to my future. My weight also fluctuated from 395 to 276 back to 360 to 290 to 325 to whatever the hell I am at now.

Last year I stopped all that nonsense.

  • Relationship Status: Happy and solid.
  • Financial Status: Debt free and primed for growth.
  • Weight Loss Status: Ongoing, -64 pounds NET last year.
  • Career Status: Kaizen, baby.

I guess it was my growing up year. I looked at myself in the mirror and called a spade a spade; it was a true a lesson in accountability. It was no one’s fault that I was in the position I was in for the last several years; I made those mistakes so it was up to me to fix those mistakes and improve my life going forward.

Amber gets credit for that. She is a firm believer of taking care of home first and everything else is extra. As long as you have a roof over your head, food in the refrigerator, lights, hot water and gas in the vehicle, that’s all that is needed.

It’s something my parents always preached to me, I just hadn’t followed – Spoiled, I guess.

I officially retired from the Las Vegas nightlife in 2013. Though my drinks and tables were always complimentary – it was a mentality I had to leave alone. Not that I won’t hit the occasional Industry Night or Day Club going forward at all but finding something to do OUT every week had become passé to me. I pay over $1000 (utilities, food and incidentals included, of course) a month to live where I live. To travel across down and use gas to hit a spot every weekend when I have all the luxury I need at home became silly to me.

I could chill at the crib and grab a bottle of Rozay to sip on for the same price it would cost to tip my server in the streets. Plus I could wear my pajamas, be barefooted and listen to whatever music I wanted to at home.

It’s just my logic. My home is my castle; ruling from the throne is okay by me.

I touched on my relationship with Amber earlier. I know I’ve ranted about exes before online so I’m not going to this time. Let’s just say she is the absolute truth and is the woman that I always wanted in a relationship. For the first time ever it’s not a she and me situation. It’s truly a WE. We operate and communicate as a unit and I LOVE it. We’ve been together over a year now and I can even boast that we’ve never even had a fight.

After years of bouncing back and forth with my weight situation, I finally snapped. No more dieting for me.  My lifestyle change is ongoing. I even broke down and started counting calories. My metabolism isn’t what it used to be. I dropped 119 pounds in 2006 when I was in my mid 20’s.  Now that I’m 34 I realized that it just doesn’t work that way anymore. Weight loss is a slow, horrible grind and when you hit a damn plateau it’s like hitting a damn iceberg!

I lost 81 pounds this year and gained 16 back in the last two months. It’s amazing what a cold, a work schedule change and a few cheat days can do to you in a span of about 6 weeks. Gaining those 16 pounds back woke me up for sure. I did 35 pounds from January to St. Patrick’s Day last year and I hope I can do a repeat performance.

I spun my wheels over at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas for most of the year. Having working my way through 6 departments (PBX, Reservations, Concierge, VIP services, Wardrobe and HR) in three years, I just got tired of growing my skill set and not being compensated for it. It’s not a knock on my employer at all… I LOVED my experience overall but personally I just didn’t have the time to sit there and wait until a position was created for me that would pay me what I was worth. I heard the usual line, we’re a new company, we can’t afford to grant an increase (mind you, I’m not talking about the one just approved) in wages.

The folks I reported to had positions created for them by management. Those positions didn’t exist prior to their on-boarding. For me to perform management functions and to be publicly acknowledged as a member of management and continue to paid on the hourly with the same wage of those I had a higher skill set than was insulting to me professionally.

I wasn’t even asking for a full management salary. To be ON SALARY with about $40K guaranteed was all I wanted.  Sadly no one ever wanted to have a serious conversation about it. I reached out to other departments for opportunity. I’ve planned events in Las Vegas for over 10 years, small groups didn’t want me. I spearheaded the local quality assurance program for Lexus. I got overlooked for it. I tried to branch out to other departments because of my diverse experience and ability to learn quickly. I couldn’t even get a look in housekeeping. The one time I got a taste of actual leadership was under our old VP of Hotel Operations. SHE had my back and got me in with Wardrobe. When she left the company however, so did that opportunity. I was drafted back to my old department. It just seemed like no one wanted to give me shot, despite being qualified.

Then there was the debacle about CoStar appreciation day. I hadn’t spoken on it publicly but I’ll put it out there just this once.

That was the day they lost me. Prior to that day, I had gone on several interviews with other companies. I turned down management roles with MGM Resorts International, Citibank and other companies because I was LOYAL to who brought me to the game. I had confidence that in just a matter of time I would get my due as a home grown talent. That day I was thinking… this is me day. I’ll finally get some corporate respect.

Nah… it didn’t happen.

Not to take anything away from my fellow Costars who got the ‘Role Model’ award that day because they deserved it too— but mind you, I was taking 80% of the management calls fixing employee issues, customer issues, assisting with scheduling and reports, working crazy schedules and doing everything that a ‘role model’ should do… but got overlooked.

It was near embarrassing for me to sit in the back of the room and watch my friends and colleagues get the kudos that they deserved and I couldn’t join them. Immediately following the ceremony half the staff asked me straight out, “where was YOUR award?” “You deserved it more than anyone.” “WOW, that’s fucked up… man, you should blow the place up.”

I didn’t, of course. It’s not my style to bitch and complain about things I have no control over. I’m a man of action.

I don’t know what went into their thought process when they didn’t include me. So I just replied that that I’m cool with it and bowed out gracefully…. That same afternoon, I called to accept the position at my current resort.

Politics likely would have never let me into a position of actual power there. Not by my immediate management’s discretion, but by those above them. It’s cool though, I know when my talent threatens those who are my senior. I’ve been overachieving since my 3rd grade academically talented program, I’m used to it.

On my last day, my immediate management let me know in a gesture that it wasn’t them who were holding me back professionally.  As a matter of fact, they were proud of me for bowing out and making the right choice for myself overall—even if it meant giving up the agent-level immunity that I had earned there.

That day, they took me to an amazing sushi restaurant for lunch. They also gave me a Cosmopolitan mug and a hat to say thank you and job well done. I appreciated that. Through all the corporate red tape and politics, those cats at SoCo… my direct managers, are good people.

It was the best job I ever had… so far.

I started working in hospitality at the Cosmopolitan on November 22, 2010. I ended my tenure there on November 14, 2013. I started with my new property on November 18th, 2013 — and I now have a salary and an official management role.

Though it’s a low level management gig, it’s still management. It’s still an increase in salary from what I was making before. It also turned out to be a real blessing because all the things I wanted to learn in other departments at the old spot, I’m learning here. I know leisure reservations, I know how to do group codes; I know how to manage inventory and set rates for a hotel locally and through third parties, I’ve been given the power to interview potential new hires and veto applications… I was a hospitality ninja BEFORE I got here… wait till I have a few years of this experience under my belt.

Moving to Macau, anyone? You can do anything if you put your mind to it.

In a nutshell, 2013 was a year that I put a lot of personal aspirations on hold. I didn’t perform spoken word one time. I maybe wrote two or three poems. I didn’t even think of continuing my books that I had pending. I just blogged away, stayed true to myself and made the sacrifices to make things better going forward.

Kaizen means continuous improvement. It’s tattooed on my right arm. In 2014, I can FINALLY say that I can get back to the business of continuous improvement.

Oh and about that seven years thing I mentioned in the opening… Well, in 2005/2006 I made a resolution to live sucka free. Needless to say, I’ve finally gotten rid of ALL the suckas in my life. I have all the friends and family I need right now. Not to say that I’m not open to growing my network even more but if I don’t—I’m good. I love them, they love me and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Swig of cider for the working man on New Year’s Eve!

Happy 2014!!! Let’s make some magic!

 

 

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