My work arrangement took no form, no contract, no formal understanding, and no real definition of what it was that I was supposed to be doing. Consequently, I saw myself as their consultant, arriving each day at whatever time I chose and dealing with whatever issue showed up, providing possible solutions to the presenting problem, before implementing whatever needed to be done.
In actuality my daily discourse went something like a scene from “Princess Bride”, written by William Goldman:
“Good night, Westley. Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.”
In Goldman’s story this discourse went on for about three years until fate showed up and Westley became the Dread Pirate Roberts.
In my story, this discourse went on for about two years until I left.
Now, there is a reason for this insanity and it lay entirely with the owners. During my time there, they were actively engaged in trying to sell this hotel. They were desperate about it. Every improvement that was made, every repair completed was because that was the one thing the last potential buyer did not want to deal with. Week after week, month after month, so many potential buyers and so many times that at the end of my work day the owner would bring me aside and let me know that my employment was potentially ending because they were most likely going to be selling in the morning.
And if it wasn’t that they were close to selling this damned business it was the fact I was sure I would arrive one morning to find them dead, her slumped over at her desk, the staff schedules strewn all over the place, and him slumped over at his desk just behind hers, knocking over his neat piles of coins that he counted each and every morning. Natural causes would be the official report but who knew in this place. The walls had stories.
And if they were to have died that would be to the giddy excitement of their daughter who would have it no other way.
And there would be no way in hell that I would ever find myself working for that bitch. We tolerated each other – me because she was the owner’s daughter and her because I was too damn good at my job and the owners loved me. The coroners would be barely completed with the removal of the owner’s bodies before they would have to come back for at least one more.
Day one was me sitting down in their office hearing about the tale of their getting scammed. Day two was me beginning to track down all of the information I would need to help them sort out this mess. A couple of weeks went by and I had all the reports done, the audit complete, and some of their financial mess cleaned up. I then moved on to the next project and then the next, and the next, and so on.
This continued until one day the wife was frustrated with the kitchen and she asked me if I knew anything about cooking or running a kitchen. She seemed to have forgotten that I had owned a restaurant but perhaps it was only a reflection of her own experience that I was offended by. I responded yes and then my consulting role changed to a more active management role over the restaurant, pub, and banquet facilities. I worked closely with her and I revised the menus, trained new staff, cleaned up the restaurant and worked on improving her banquet business.
The threat of losing my job each day remained, and my paths crossed all the more with her daughter and her granddaughter, however there did seem to be some resemblance to normalcy with this slight change of roles. And with the last potential sale gone down the crapper I was now working with the husband in installing a state of the art computer system for both the pub, the restaurant, and the banquet facilities. I was now programming and doing the hotel’s IT work on top of running another restaurant.
I was enjoying the paychecks, which helped us complete our adoption journey while I was there, however I couldn’t help but find myself stuck back in that old place of wondering what the hell I was supposed to be doing with my life. Sure I got a buzz out of wondering if today was the day but when those days turned into weeks, turned into months, I began to think that this threat of losing my job was only another carrot dangling from a stick.