Monday, March 2, 2015

Changes For Luis

No one has ever accused me of being secretive or closed mouthed; but when it came to Luis' recent job separations, I refrained from making many Facebook posts about the matter.
Because I hadn't publicly documented what was going on, many people were surprised when I made posts related to his job search and I feel like it's time for me to explain the whole enchilada; but not in a Facebook post; right here, on "The Bumpy Ride", because this truly has been one!

A little background info first...  After Luis graduated from high school in Puerto Vallarta, he attended a school for tourism, where he took classes in English and hospitality management.  While living in Vallarta he held various jobs at different hotels and he worked for National Car Rental as a sales agent.  When we moved to Orlando in 1994, (shortly after we were married); he took a job as a front desk agent at a hotel and in no time at all, he worked his way up to Front Desk Manager,  When we moved to Arizona in January of 1997, Luis accepted a position as a front desk supervisor at a hotel (that I will just refer to as "the hotel" for the rest of this story.)  After a short time, he became the Assistant Front Desk Manager and in 2002 he was promoted to Front Desk Manager/ Manager on Duty.

Anyone who has ever met Luis in person can tell you how hard working and loyal he is. The hotel was often short staffed at the desk and Luis did the work of at least three people for many years.  He was an exemplary employee who always went above and beyond for his employers and guests and in reading further, that is something that I want to be sure you understand.

During the late summer of 2014 Luis told me that he believed that the owners of the hotel were looking to sell it. This wasn't something that they made public knowledge; it was just a conclusion that Luis had come to, based on the frequency of meetings the owners were having, with people who in Luis' estimation, looked like people who would buy the hotel.  By late fall, the owner did inform the staff that he was in the process of selling the hotel, and he let them know that he had no idea how that was going to effect the staff.    It's important to understand at this point, that the owners of  the hotel were also the managers.  They worked as the General Manager, Sales Director  etc. while the people who were interested in purchasing the hotel, were planning to do so as an investment and they were going to bring in a Management company rather than work there themselves; so the employees had no way of knowing if they would have jobs after the hotel was sold.

Luis was told that he needed to use up all of his vacation time before the end of November, and on his first day of vacation, he had to go in for a meeting with the company that the new owner had selected to manage the hotel.  Luis was prepared to interview for his position, but they told him that this was not meant to be formal, just a "getting to know you" type of meeting.  The personnel that Luis met with, gave him the impression that he was going to be retained to do his job and that there was room for growth for him within their organization.   Following this meeting, Luis attended a Manager's meeting and was given health insurance information and forms to complete.  On Wed. Dec. 17th, he met with HR to turn in his insurance forms; which is why I was s surprised when Luis called me on Friday Dec. 19th and whispered "It's not looking good.  They are calling several people into the owner's office and letting them go, and these are people who have been here a long time."

Luis went in to see the old owner (whose last day was supposed to be Mon. Dec. 22nd) and although he didn't let Luis go on the spot; he told him that it wasn't looking good.  It seemed that the new management company didn't want to pay the salaries that the long time employees such as Luis, had been receiving; nor did they want to have to pay for 4 weeks vacation etc.  So they let  go of the Breakfast Room Manager who had been there over 25 years, and the accountant who had been there 20 something, and the entire sales department, in addition to several others.  Then an hour before his shift was over on Dec. 22nd, Luis was called into the old owners office and just one month and 5 days before his 18th anniversary, he was let go.  He was told that that new management company was bringing in a "professional management team and his services were no longer required."

At first we were angry. We felt that this wasn't the way that a loyal employee should be treated, and we were frustrated that Luis was now unemployed after all of his years of dedication to the hotel owners.  But, upon reflection we realized that while the pay at the hotel was never great, the hotel allowed Luis flexibility with his schedule so that we never needed outside child care; and to us that was priceless.  While Luis didn't receive severance pay, he did  receive "a bonus", and this is much more than those who were let go after the old owner had left, can say; so for that we are grateful.

Luis started looking for a new job, as soon as the others were let go on the 19th.  He really didn't think that he wanted to work at another hotel; so he tried to find something different.  As one of Luis' responsibilities at the hotel had been to drive the airport shuttle as needed; he thought that he might enjoy a job that involved driving and he applied for a position at a produce company that was actually walking distance from our home.  Luis was quickly offered the position and began training, but during the second week of training, he found out that the company expected the drivers to sign a form accepting liability for any damage that was done to the truck while they were driving.  This concerned Luis, as he thought that's what insurance was for; and he didn't feel that he was being paid enough to take on such liability.

We believe things happen for a reason and two days before he was expected to sign the liability paper work; his trainer unavoidably damaged the truck, at a time that Luis should have been driving.  As soon as the truck was returned to the yard, the fleet manager and GM started assessing the damage and  estimated that it was going to cost the driver $1200-$1500, which they planned to take out of his pay check $100 at a time, until it was paid off.  Luis was devastated as THIS could have been his debt to owe, had he been driving as he was supposed to.  He told me that he didn't feel comfortable signing the paperwork and although he is not a quitter, he didn't feel that he had any choice.

He went to speak with the Night Manager to address his concerns and find out how to proceed and the very nice gentleman agreed with Luis and confirmed his decision not to drive.  The next morning, Luis went to see the General Manager and explained that had he been told about the liability when he initially interviewed for the position, he would not have accepted the job.  He asked if there was anything else that he might try within the company, but the GM said "not at this time." So again, Luis found himself unemployed.

Prior to this December, Luis hadn't been unemployed since 1997 and at that time, he was only without a job, because we relocated to Arizona.   Applying for a position now is so vastly different from how it was done 18 years ago; and it's been a real learning process for us; especially because Luis wanted to try to do something new.

Luis is such an extraordinary man with a kind soul and a gentle spirit.  The minute you are in his presence you know that he is exceptional; however, this can't be determined by a computerized job application or a psychological questionnaire or personality profile or whatever they want to call it. We KNEW that as soon as someone would give Luis the opportunity to interview in person, that he would be offered a position and we were right!!  Thus far, Luis has been offered a job EVERYWHERE that he has interviewed, but not all of those positions were ultimately right for him, as companies seem to want experienced people, but they don't want to pay for it, and it is difficult to support a family on $11 an hour or less.  I could go on - but this is already a long story (I know.)

Luis and I have been very blessed to have friends that have made job referrals on his behalf and have helped with interview coaching and decision making.  Luis is currently deciding between two positions that have been offered to him, by two National companies that have great reputations and room for advancement and relocation.  We are looking forward to him getting back to work this month and having a job that he enjoys.

Through this experience we have learned that although it can be scary, change can be good; and together there is nothing that we can't accomplish or get through!   While they always give us reasons to be proud, our children have proven themselves to be the most understanding, thoughtful, and brave kids that any parents could ask for.  We are grateful to all of our friends who have said prayers for us and encouraged us during this complicated time; and we feel confident that 2015 is going to end a lot better than it started!

Till next time...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

They've Poked The Bear...

Well, the Emmy voters have done it!  They've poked the bear... They've awaken me from my blogging slumber; as I now feel compelled to write about the injustice that has been done to James Spader!

Those of you who have been "Riders" for a while, know of my long standing adoration for this fine actor.  In fact before today's post, I've mentioned him in blogs, at least seven other times, lol.  But today, I am enraged that the academy failed to include James Spader in their Best Actor nominations; because as Raymond "Red" Reddington, on "The Blacklist", he is absolutely BRILLIANT!!

I'll admit, I started watching "The Blacklist" simply because I knew that Mr. Spader was cast; but from the first monologue that he uttered, I was captivated and became a committed viewer.  I believe I've said this before, but other than Robert Downey Jr.  there is no one in my opinion, who rivals the talent of James Spader.  He could sell ice to an eskimo, sand in the desert, and he can repeatedly get away with murder; (well, on TV that is.)

If you haven't seen it, "The Blacklist" is very fast paced and I'll admit that I often get lost while watching the show.  Thankfully, Luis always watches it with me, which is extremely unusual because our TV appetites are vastly different.  After watching the first episode by myself, I knew that Luis would be just as charmed by "Red" as I was; so I encouraged him to watch it with me and he loved it.  On a side note, (because this cracks me up)  I'll tell you that Luis refers to Mr. Spader's character as "Rojo", (the Spanish word for Red.) But I digress...

There is no doubt that Rojo's performance is absolutely the BEST thing about the show and  I can't count how many times I've mentioned (while watching); that he was a sure thing for an Emmy nomination.  I guess I shouldn't have been that confident OR the Emmy voters LOST the samples of his performances.  Shame on them!

So why today?  Well the answer my faithful riders is simple of course... (Say it with me) "For the Greater Good!"  See, you know I still care about you!  For the greater good, I HAVE to make sure that you are tuning in to "The Blacklist" because it is intelligent entertainment.  For the greater good, I have to point out that James Spader deserves an Emmy for this performance even if the Academy doesn't acknowledge it; and for the greater good (at least mine) I HAVE to start writing again and this was the PERFECT opportunity to get started.

Till next time...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Always Remember

12 years ago today, 9/11 became a day that Americans will never and should never forget; however, for me this date has had significance for 27 years,  as on September 11, 1986 my beautiful, mother lost her courageous battle with cancer.  Both of these tragic events are still so vivid to me.  I know exactly where I was when I got the call that my mom had passed away.  So many years have passed, and yet it seems like just yesterday and the hurt is still as deep.  Likewise, it seems like no time has passed since I walked into my friend Kara's kitchen to drop Nicky off at her house, because I was 6 months pregnant with Lyndzi and I had to go take my 3 hour glucose tolerance test.  I saw the unbelievable footage on her small, television set and I was absolutely dumbfounded.  I sat for the next 3 hours, tortured by the intense aftermath of the glucose and the terrifying images on the lab TV.

Yesterday Kelsie sweetly reminded me that we had to light a candle for Grandma Lee on Wednesday; and after she had made the comment, I couldn't get the impending date off my mind.  I contemplated what I might write on my Facebook to let my friends know what this day meant for me as it was the day that I had lost my mom and I truly missed her; but knowing that there were SO MANY to be thought of, I was uncertain as to how I wanted to proceed.  When I had a few minutes to jump on Facebook this morning, I was gratified to see how many people had made "never forget" posts, and shared pictures to commemorate  9/11.  I considered writing a post to honor my mom, but with an entire country focused on the tragedy, I decided to go another route; so although no one may have known it, with my mom in mind and always in my heart, I wrote this post:  "Not only is it important that we "never forget", we also need to always remember... Tomorrow is not promised, let go of the pettiness and be grateful for all that we have and each day that we are blessed with. Honor those that have lost their lives for us, by being the best versions of ourselves and making this world a better place."

Within minutes "friends" started liking my post, and even commented; as they felt that what I had written was spot on.  My amazing, friend Tammy, even shared my post on her page, which warmed my heart and validated my feelings.  I am thoroughly thrilled that so many agreed with me, I just hope that they still agree tomorrow, and the next day and the day after that.  You see, although 9/11 was one day that we should  "Never forget" we need to carry that with us EVERYDAY!   When our friends are posting their contrasting political points of view on Facebook, we need to remember that yesterday we all wanted to be ONE America and ban together to "never forget."  Yesterday, we were all united as we recalled the hideous attack and we claimed to be proud to be Americans one and all, that no one should try to harm.    We need to "never forget" that there is no time like the present, and that if something, or someone is important to us, we need to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, because we might not get another chance.  We need to "never forget" that we are all only human and as such we make mistakes and we deserve forgiveness.  We need to "never forget" that it is our duty to live every day to it's fullest  and not waste a single moment on worry or regret, for if we do we are robbing ourselves of precious time that others might not have.

I write this blog tonight as I wrote that post this morning - with all the love in my heart.  With the utmost gratitude for having had an incredible mother, who taught me well during the 19 years that she graced my life.   It is my fervent hope that she is watching down from heaven, comforted by the knowledge that I live every day to make her proud and that I for one still believe in promoting the GREATER GOOD!   I know that we all can DO BETTER. We can be kinder, more tolerant, and work towards a common goal.  We should strive to lead by example and not only when it's convenient or suits our purpose.  We need to teach our children that we do what we say and say what we do.   We need to let the people who are important to us KNOW IT, and be thankful that we live in a country where we are permitted to have differences in opinions in the first place.  We need to commit to memory and practice, that if we should "never forget"  that also means that we should "ALWAYS REMEMBER."

Till next time...