33) Faith, Courage and Extreme Enthusiasm on Nob Hill

In the last post you read about my surreal life in The Marina District of San Francisco, where I was able to live on a modest salary in one of the richest zip codes on the planet. In this post you will read about my consuming drive to live on Nob Hill – and what I had to do to achieve this goal.

Nob Hill, in San Francisco is the kind of place where, if you have a decent set of clothes and have had a shower within the last week, you can be mistaken for a billionaire. With age and radiant energetic health in my favor, I fit the mold, I suppose. The corner of California Street at Powell, where the cable-car tracks intersect, might represent the Lions Den of Nob Hill. CC Image Courtesy of Anthony Stone on Flickr.

Stanford Court Hotel

New ImageHaving already illuminated two well-known fitness clubs (and getting nearly thrown out of both of them) in the city and in need of a steady paycheck, I answered an ad in the San Francisco Chronicle for a banquet houseman at the very prominent Stanford Court Hotel at California and Powell Street. They hired me pretty quickly, I recall at an hourly rate of about $6. For those who haven’t worked in a 4-Star hotel, the best way to describe an experience like this is that the hierarchy of the working staff represents a very rigid caste system, where hotel management is top and housekeepers and banquet houseman are at the bottom. CC Image Courtesy of Angela Cunningham on Flickr.

There are two ways to keep a job like this: 1) to believe someone granted you a gift and hired you in spite of the fact that you didn’t deserve the job (this makes you grateful) or 2) to truly know you are better than nearly everyone with whom you come in contact, and that they are lucky to have known you at this point in your life, because you were on your way up (this isolates you). I chose the second and threw myself into my job.

A banquet houseman at The Stanford Court Hotel was responsible for making sure every restaurant and business function hotel room was supported with proper tables, chairs and audio-visual equipment that was anticipated. Our crew of 3-5 reported to a certain east European Banquet Manager had a hot temper and handled a significant amount of cash, very little of which found its way into the hands of the hotel staff who support the activities and who were low in the hierarchy.

I worked at The Stanford Court Hotel for about 6 months, until I was “discovered”. There are a few stories I could share, but the time I worked for 37 days straight is best because earned enough to go across the street to the bank and deposit $1000 into a savings account. I felt great that I had worked really hard to earn the money and better that I hadn’t spent it.

Did you ever work in a hotel?

Next: Buying My First Car in California

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