Thursday, January 24, 2008

Change is Coming



This past week I put in motion my plan to move to part-time at Hudson's, doing just the wine on the weekends so I can work full time at the the University and maximize my benefits here in the years before I retire. I told Sara first, since the reality of the change will affect her first and foremost. Her reaction was calm, but I do think the news was upsetting.

I'm sure that it can't help but have been upsetting to her, especially because after I've just gotten settled in as the manager at Hudson's with two years under my belt, here I am leaving. For a minute or two there, and admittedly in many moments since, it sure didn't seem right to do this to her, but honestly I've thought it through so many times that I know I'm doing the right thing. Sara, after all, now has Jeff, and the two of them are so well suited to each other and running the restaurant that I am not needed, certainly not in the sense I was when I took the job. 6needed; it means that the definition of the job has changed and so have I, and now it's time for a re-alignment of my work and my life. I want to stay at Hudson's and this is what I told Sara, then Jeff, that I have to think about my life in long terms, and part of that means preparing my retirement benefits after so long at UT. It seems selfish but it's really self-serving, which in this case is more than a semantic difference.

Over time, I have served many people in many capacities, not the least of which is in the preparation and delivery of food, which seems to be my special place in this world. But I have also served people in a much different way at the University, and I also have a passion for information technology. It's been an interesting balancing act, but I have always managed to keep them both in my life, or at least for the past fifteen years or so. But now I may be coming to a parting of the two. I've made my case to Jeff; I think I've served him and his business well; I feel that I really do add value to his restaurant as the wine steward, and I don't think he needs another assistant manger to do the kinds of tasks I've been doing for the past two years. The only question is, whether or not he'll find my services valuable enough to retain despite my part-time status. He said that he may need to offer the incentive of the wine income to attract an assistant manager to do the job, and if this the case, he'll have to let me go.

"Let's put a hook in the water," he said, which I took to mean that he'll see if he can find someone who'll fill in the gaps I'd leave if I was allowed to do the wine only on Friday and Saturdays nights. The unsaid but understood subtext to this comment is that if someone of sufficient quality nibbles at the hook, but requires the wine as bait to bite, then the income will be offered, and I'll be out of a job if it looks good enough to reel someone in (just to make this sophomoric fishing metaphor complete).

We agreed that he would think about it during his two-week vacation to Aspen, though I hope he doesn't spend a lot of time thinking or talking about me. Not that I wouldn't like to be thought of, especially kindly, my situation isn't something he need dwell on, nor is he likely to, I imagine, since it is a relatively simply matter to find a replacement for me. After all, as he pointed out, this being the number one restaurant means that he is able to choose from among the best in the business. Doubtless there are actual sommeliers out there who would love the prestige that Hudson's would bring to their resume, though it remains to be seen if they could be enticed not only to work out at the lake, but in the often peculiar Hudson's environment.

In other words, they'd have to get past Sara, and that's not easy. Now, if she could be convinced that a particular individual could/would be right for the job, then she would do just what I expect and serve the best interests of the restaurant by letting me go. I don't think this is likely, but it is possible. In any case, I expect that the best outcome will be what happens. No sense trying to predict, just let it come to me.

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