I had been visiting The Keys for years prior to moving there. Many vacations and weekends, off to The Keys we would go. After the loss of one husband, I decided to be brave and go, permanently. At that point, nearly all of my career experience had been in retail. All areas of it. In the local newspaper, I spotted an ad seeking a Retail Buyer for one of the resorts. I applied ASAP and was hired ASAP. That might have been my first Red Flag, but I was not to be detoured, I was going, permanently, no matter what.
Cruising down US1, on my way to my final interview, the Eagle’s “Hotel California” came on my sound system. “Ohhh,” I thought ” A song about hotels!!!”. The song’s meaning has a variety of definitions, depending on who is dissecting it. It’s hard to put a finger on, as it’s been described as meaning: self-destruction, reflecting the experience of life, based on a book – The Magus, idealism, reflecting darkness and light, excess, greed. Interpretations go on and on All I know is that this song should only be listened to at top volume to completely appreciate the guitar solo by Joe Walsh and Don Fender – classic. I mean LOUD, car windows down, driving over a bridge, water views, and the scent of salt air. I was later to learn that this would actually be my second Red Flag. The lyrics, as it turned out described perfectly my new boss, who staged my final interview.
Her mind is Tiffany twisted, she got the Mercedes Benz
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends
The pink champagne on ice
And she said ‘We are all just prisoners here, of our own device’
As I pulled into the hotel entrance – a tropical splendor of plants, wicker, and employees in flowered shirts with Pith Helmets. There were at least 25 motorcycles parked along the curved driveway entrance..”What the…” was all I could think. Carefully negotiating my small vehicle, I inched toward the Valet Podium One “biker guy” stared when I jumped out of my car in my “Let’s Slam Dunk This Interview Suit” I suppose he was expecting something more casual. I assumed he was concerned. about me crashing into his ride. ” I was careful to leave space,” I called on my way in, he just stared. I murmured to the Bell Hop, asking if this was a Biker Hotel, like a Bikers Bar?? “Noo”, he assured me over the sound of piped-in Steel Drum music, “It’s the Dade County Bar Association. They’re all attorneys, Rollex Riders.” Yep – sure enough, they were all sporting both very expensive rides and Rolexes. The final interview was aced, but in retrospect, I think they had decided to hire me before this. It was more like just being rubber-stamped. I was given everything I asked for salary, housing, etc. It’s hard to find good help in The Keys, I was to learn this later, firsthand when I tried finding my own employees. It was always frustrating. I remember the day I barked out to Human Resources: “Well if they have a pulse and can walk upright without dragging their knuckles, they’re hired as far as I’m concerned.” The “Horrible Hires” as I called them, came and went as though twirling in a revolving door. You could not tell by looking or speaking with them if they would work out. Interviewing was actually useless. You had to work with them to know. The “Good Hires”, I would hold onto for dear life, giving them everything. It’s all a matter of difficult economics, more so, for by-the-hour persons. Anyway, I do know that I was contending with one other person for this position. This person did not want to move to The Keys. This person wanted to work remotely from Miami.
That person must have wanted to cling to “normal”. I definitely didn’t – I wanted to embrace “not normal”. I wanted to hug “not normal” tight and squeeze it to death. And so I did just that when I began this move, lifestyle, and new job.