Back in March, I was furloughed…. and like everyone else in the restaurant industry, I envisioned spending a few weeks at home. It was a crazy time and the thought of losing my job crossed my mind but I didn’t put any energy into it. I couldn’t. Those first few weeks called for optimism and grit in the unknown. The time passed and we didn’t really hear anything from leadership. It wasn’t all that surprising; I mean what exactly were they going to say? They didn’t have the answers and were frantically writing and rewriting budgets, retooling plans, and trying to put together the opening roster. I stayed patient and positive. Would my corporate training department of 1 survive the slashing? Could the company survive this?
Then, at the end of June I received an email from my boss with the subject line Personal Stuff. She said I needed to come drop off my company assets and clean out my office as it was unlikely I would be asked back. As I read it my heart sunk. The place I called home for 13 years was gone. Of course, I wanted to be asked back. I had a really hard time swallowing that I wasn’t essential enough. It hurt but I understood. This was Covid. People needed to be let go for the company to survive.
Honestly, what hurt the most was learning my fate over an email. It went against everything I believed in. We asked managers to call back applicants (people that didn’t even work for us) and I had over a decade of tenure as their most passionate brand ambassador and was let go over an email. My whole career reduced to a paragraph where I was called a cheerleader? I could barely believe it.
The next day was hard… my range of emotions traveled from everything I was proud of to everything I would miss. I had lived, breathed, and promoted the core values for so long that somehow, my own identity and worth was my work. I was no longer a part of something that lived deep within my soul. What would my language look like now that I am not part of the WE? By day three I still felt lost. I headed out to the woods with my dogs in search of fresh air and new perspective. I began listing all the reasons I was grateful to lose my job.
*get the chance to do something great
*feel scared shitless
*level up and grow again
*work around people who share my hospitality beliefs and core values
*make a bigger impact
*see past my limitations
As the list grew, so did my attitude. Soon, I was grinning ear to ear, frightened out of my mind but filled with happiness. I thought Maite, it’s now or never…. You are going to start your own consulting business and achieve great things!
I have to remind myself to not feel frozen in fear. Restaurants are closing everyday and many will never reopen again. Who will hire me? Will anyone have the money for training right now? Who cares about culture and leadership anyway? Meanwhile, it has taken me the last few months to craft what my new future in hospitality looks like. I know the industry has a tough road ahead, but I want to be right in the middle helping solve problems and moving the industry onward and upward!
At the end of the day, our core values must be the guiding light in all our actions. It is unacceptable to lose any leadership principles for the sake of convenience or out of fear. To survive this, leaders are going to need to be courageous. Many need to rethink business models and pivot strategies to survive. As Mark Twain so accurately said, “courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” Certainly, we all are dealing with different fear. What are you going to do with that fear? Most importantly, how do you control it so it does not control you?
If you are trying to muster up all the courage needed to pivot into greatness, I am sending you love and positive energy. It is hard to do something that you have never mastered before. I am starting this blog, becoming an online educator, joining social media, and dreaming of writing a book. If you would have asked me a year ago if I wanted to do any of those things it would have been a big fat 0. This pandemic has turned so many people’s lives upside down. People are thinking past old strategies and restaurant norms. I am genuinely grateful that I lost my job so I can reach my full potential! You always hear, “to achieve more you must first be more.” Well this is me BEING more….
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