Monday, October 15, 2012

The Hostess with The Mostest

I finally figured out what I'm good at. No, not just good at, great at. I'm a great host. Whether it's at work, where ever I'm working, or at my house, sometimes even other people's houses, I'm good at taking care of people and making them feel welcome. It's what I really like doing, and it turns out, I'm better at it than most people. So that's it, after 27 years on this planet, I've found my talent, hospitality.

What a relief. It's hard to not know what you're good at. Especially when you see other people excelling and succeeding in various other skill sets. One can become quite down on life. But to know, to really know you have found something that you can do well, it's a great feeling.

This recent discovery has come from my return to restaurant work. I've taken a part-time job as a hostess at a restaurant in North Oakland, a rather high-end, American Brasserie. I only have two or three shifts a week, which is perfect as I'm still the Box Office Manager at Altarena Playhouse, but only for three more weeks. And even though we are leaving for Costa Rica in mid-December, I needed something to supplement my income now, and something that could keep me making money through November, when the theater closes for the 2012 season. I was a little reluctant to start working in restaurants again after having felt very burnt out in my last server position. But that was almost three years ago, and my mental state was quite different. Now, I'm still not sure that I would enjoy serving again, but that's just it, I didn't say that I found my calling as a server. Sure, when I pick up checks off tables and see that servers are getting $30 tips on some tabs, and knowing that I'll only get tipped out $30 for the entire night, I get a little jealous. But it's not enough for me to want to go back to serving. No, I enjoy the other aspect of the job, making things run smoothly. Being the face of the customer's experience. Being the one that got them the table they needed, arranged their special cake be brought out at the right time. And knowing that when they call to make another reservation, I'll be the one to help them with their future celebrations.

Working at the theater for the past three years really brought me to this point, though. We have almost 900 season ticket holders and I know a lot of them by name, first and last. They know my voice, the know my face, we talk on the phone, we email, and when they come to the show, I'm the first person they see. I love making sure they feel welcome and letting them know if they have any questions, or concerns, that I can take care of them. When people leave, I want to know that they've had a good time, that's how I know they will be back. Part of it is how I view money, I guess. If I'm going to spend money on a night out, I want it to be worth it. The whole package should be good, I don't like things rough around the edges. That's where my talent comes in, I make things run, and I make them run smoothy. It's not just hosting, it's managing.

Our quest to find the perfect beans and rice
"In Search of the Perfect Gallo Pinto"Our quest to find the perfect beans and rice.

And now that I'm recognizing that this talent exists within me, I'm starting to notice it play out in other aspects of my life. We're just about to finish filming our Kickstarter Video, and then Jahsiah will move into the editing phase, while I finish the written portion of the project. Filming was a lot of fun and it took a lot of dedication, on everyone's part. In filming, I again felt somehow in tune with what I was doing, I felt very natural planning out the days, setting scenes, working with Jahsiah and Timmy to time things properly, and make things run efficiently. It was so much fun and went so well, I'm excited to keep filming things, new projects, especially on the road. One of the many ways in which we had envisioned framing our drive to Costa Rica was as a food-driven travel show, "In Search of the Perfect Gallo Pinto". After how well our Kickstarter went, I have a feeling you can expect to see that web series by February.

This new found confidence could not have come at a better time. In the past three years, I've worked on scaling back my dream of owning my own hostel. After the first attempt didn't work, I wanted to make sure I was being realistic about what it would mean to get down to Costa Rica, whether or not we would like living there, if I really did want to run a hostel, deal with tourists all day. I had to tell myself that maybe I would hate it, that way if it never happened, I wouldn't be so crushed. But now, I'm realizing, not only do I still want to own and run my own hostel, I will be so good at it. And that's how I know, that one of these days, it's going to happen. When it does, I'll look forward to welcoming you.

1 comment:

  1. I would totally come to stay! You are an excellent hostess and manager-it was always great seeing you in action at Altarena. Can't wait to see how this all unfolds.