You’re about to get a check. How you spend it could save our country and your neighbor.

Friday was a tough day. Many of my friends and colleagues were dealt a hard blow as their careers and livelihoods were put on pause through layoffs, furloughs, and reduced work schedules. A large number of these talented leaders have industry-specific jobs that will be difficult to transfer into other industries, especially in a saturated labor market.

Word on the street is that Uncle Sam is going to help by sending some of you a check in the mail. Deciding what to do with that money could be overwhelming. Stocks are on sale, and you could probably use the extra money to invest in your future. You could use the money to pay off a bill. You could save the money for Christmas, or a rainy day.

Don’t.

Restaurant workers, hoteliers, retail, and the aviation industry are counting on you spending this money to save their jobs and keep their doors open.

If you receive a check from the government and don’t need the extra cash, please think of your friends and neighbors filing for unemployment or your corner sandwich shop struggling to pay its rent.

Book that trip at the fancy hotel. Order from your local restaurant. DM your small town store advertising on Instagram to see if they’ll ship your purchase.

Whatever you do, when you receive this check, please, spend it or share it with those in need so we can all feed our families and get back to what we love doing best, taking care of you as you explore the world.

Life’s a little messy right now. And that’s okay.

It’s the second day of working from home with our handsome, brilliant, and energetic one year-old. After days of talks of the COVID-19 impact on the airline industry, news reports finally hit home for many hospitality workers. Restaurants and bars are closing around the country, and hotels are experiencing record low occupancies. Retail stores are now shuttering until it’s safe to re-open. It’s too early to tell how long the damage will last, but millions of people in the travel and hospitality industry will soon be (at least temporarily) without jobs.

Collateral damage is likely. Suppliers, intermediaries, service providers, contractors, and supportive infrastructure will all soon feel the effects.

For those of us on the fringe, still hanging on, life isn’t easy. Guilt of watching housekeepers, restaurant servers, store clerks and bartenders lose their hours while we struggle through difficult projects and conversations is overwhelming. Added to that: the prospect of furloughs, financial uncertainty and no telling when this will all get better. And even more: many of us are finding what it is like to work at home in isolation from our friends, extended family, co-workers and neighbors as we take on the new roles of caretaker and homeschooler.

“If something happens, how will we pay the bills?” “What if he screams during a conference call?” “Do we have enough in savings?” “Should we refinance the house?” “When will we ever do the dishes?” are common questions.

It’s a lot.

We’ve just entered a period of uncertainty, discomfort, and unrest all while trying to stay six feet apart from everyone else in the world.

So what can we do about it? Here are three ideas to start:

  1. Enjoy time with your family. There will never be another opportunity like this in your life to spend so much time together.
  2. Take the news in daily doses, not a constant drip. There won’t be much good news, so why not consume something you enjoy?
  3. Use social media as your balcony. Sing, play music, share a funny (but not misleading) meme. Interact with your friends and neighbors and remind everyone that we’re all going to be okay.

This isn’t going to be easy, but neither was 3rd shift, back-to-backs, opening after you closed, managing a tight turn in the ballroom or at the front desk, or covering that extra shift when you needed to be somewhere else.

Together, as an industry, we’ve been through some crazy things, too. There was 9/11, the financial crisis of 2008, Avian Flu, and countless hurricanes just to name a few. Despite all of these setbacks, we always emerged further ahead. Hotels are chicer. Retail is more luxurious. Restaurant food is better than ever. Craft cocktails raised the bar. Planes are greener. Technology is converging, and career paths are more promising.

What’s different about the service culture is that we do everything in service of others, and that spirit is what will carry us through.

Many people in the world outside of the hospitality industry don’t know the lengths that workers will go, or sacrifices that workers will make to ensure their guests feel safe, welcome, and well-taken care of. And that’s exactly what we’ll do for each other right now.

Hospitality exists when you believe that the other person is on your side.

Danny Meyer

5 Ways for Couples to Cope While Working at Home with Small Children

If you’re reading this, you’re either one of my three e-mail subscribers or have found yourself working at home amidst a pandemic while your little one(s) have been sent home from school for two or more weeks. In searching for solutions, you’ve probably found plenty of examples of couples where one parent works from home and the other keeps the house or cases where a nanny or Au Pair are present. If you’re reading this, it’s probably just you, your partner, and your little one(s) and you’re looking for things you can do to survive the next several weeks. 

Continue reading 5 Ways for Couples to Cope While Working at Home with Small Children

Reaching New Heights

I didn’t plan on climbing the wall at at The St. James during our recent team off-site meeting in Northern Virginia. However, after many of our team members had climbed up and down several times, my Vice President yelled out, “Hey Peter, you’re up!”

Now, a hardworking new father in my mid-thirties, physical fitness had not been my primary focus for 2019. Alas, I had been challenged in front of a group of peers to do something that others had jumped the at the chance to do, some more successful than others.

My hands quickly sweat, my heart raced, and the apprehension of failure pumped adrenaline through my veins. My fight or flight had been activated, and I had nowhere to go but up.

It had been 20 years since the last time I climbed a wall, and the only advice I remembered from that boy scout retreat was “use your legs, not your hands.” Armed with only that advice and 30 of my closest leaders and colleagues standing behind me, I strapped into my harness and took my first step. I glanced up and down, quickly finding my next foot and hand hold. With each move forward, I analyzed which foothold would give me the most upside, worrying not where I’d hold my hand next, but how I would allow my legs to propel me up the wall.

In less than a few minutes, I had ascended to the top of the 40 foot wall with nowhere to go but down. From here, it was a leap of faith and a lot of slamming into the wall as I awkwardly twisted and repelled down like a flopping fish tired after a long fight with a talented fisherman.

According to Newton’s law of universal gravitation, every mass attracts every other mass in the universe. Therefore, if my fears weren’t strong enough to pull me down, there must be something much greater that I’m reaching for.

On Trying Something New

Today I played my first game of racquetball with my friend Alan. Neither of us had ever played, but after a few views of videos on YouTube, and reading the rules, we thought we’d give it a try. We had no idea what we were doing, but we had so much fun doing it, we might just try it again.

Making Your Bed in the Morning

My older brother once taught me this well before Admiral McRaven published his book. It may not be the most glamorous task of the day, but this one habit ensures one thing: no matter how bad your day, you will always have something to look forward to at the end.

Blowing the Dust off of the Blog

So much has changed since my last public entry here over a year ago, and even then, I was interrupting a long hiatus, or drought of content.

It’s now 2020 and the abundance of platforms for sharing photos, thoughts, and articles makes it difficult to focus on something so distant from the masses. However, as we are overwhelmed by these diversions and distractions, I think we are finding their value diminishing, and instead the value of long form, focused content, from people we admire and trust to be worth so much more than clickbait and cat GIFs. Although, perhaps that is just an idealistic assumption.

For the last few days I have been reflecting on the path of my career and how my recent advancement in education will propel me through this new decade. As a newly minted MBA, I feel that I owe it to myself to somehow apply these knowledge and skills in a way that will benefit me and whatever team or organization that I support. While I continue to grow in my strategic planning role, I’m curious what lies ahead and how I can best prepare myself for the next time I am met with an opportunity.

Tonight, inspired by our VP who committed to blogging at least once a year, my goal was to clean up this site, install an SSL certificate, and post something to show that I am still committed to this medium.

Perhaps, in the following posts I’ll update readers on my experience completing my MBA, growing at work, building a house, and starting a family. It’s been a crazy, but rewarding couple of years and there’s a lot that I’ve learned that I’m excited to share in hopes that it may be relatable or helpful to even one person reading this. Until next time…

“People come in and out of our lives, and the true test of friendship is whether you can pick back up right where you left off the last time you saw each other.”

Lisa See