Calvin Tilokee 0:08
Hello, welcome to the first episode of the Growth Spot podcast. I’m your host Calvin Tilokee, the CEO of Revpar Media. Some of you may know me as Revparblems on Instagram, and I am very happy to welcome Zana Usher or Zana Devine of ZD hospitality.com to the studio today to talk about ushering in new hospitality attitude. So Zana. Welcome.

Zana Usher 0:32
Hi, thank you so much for having me. How are you?

Calvin Tilokee 0:36
I’m doing well. I am doing well. Still getting accustomed to California. moved here about six weeks ago. I did go to Chicago last weekend. And I remember what he made it he feels like it was 93 degrees and very, very humid. And I remembered, yeah, I don’t like this. Yeah, California is beautiful climate. I No wonder everybody wants to be here. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So I’m very happy to be here and want you to tell the people at home who you are and in what you do your background.

Zana Usher 1:11
Sure. So my name is Zana. I share my company’s called Zana Divine hospitality. I’m in the middle of relaunching my business. So therefore a lot of people might know me by Zd hospitality. I was born and raised in Germany. My dad was Hungarian. My mom was Serbian, they migrated to Germany separately and met there. And I grew up speaking three languages. And then kind of like my husband. tality career really started when I was 14. My very first job was at Burger King. And I was very excited to do what I did, I was the girl that cleans the restaurant, you know, took the little trays and put them away and cleaned the tables. And it was ecstatic that all of my tables are always clean. And then, you know, once I moved up to being a cashier, I think that’s where everything really started for me. And my background is also my dad was a chef, a well known chef in Germany, and my mom used to run a housekeeping department in a fairly medium sized hotel. Okay, so you know, growing up, I was either at the hotel or at the restaurant with my dad. And it was kind of like, I don’t know, I was kind of born into this to be honest with you, like I

Calvin Tilokee 2:22
Been immersed in the business your whole life.

Zana Usher 2:24
I mean, honestly, because I don’t even remember having a conversation with my parents. So what is it that you want to be one? You know, it was no, it was like, I’m gonna be something in that something hospitality. And yeah, and you know, to be honest with you, like my entire career, I worked for Amazing, amazing establishment like the Hilton and intercontinental and four seasons and Donald Trump’s Mar a Lago and Castilla Europe and Keegan, olive and the really amazing places, right? But like, at times, I remember when upper management when I would have interviews for specific higher positions, they would ask me and say, you know, we don’t we see you jump a lot around on your resume, like, not keep a job or, you know, what’s, what’s your deal? And I’m like, you know, I really, it’s really not about that. But to be honest with you, yes, I got bored very fast, and I outgrew my job fast, because I was always into wanting to learn and wanting to accomplish the next goal and wanting to be the best salesperson on the floor. And once I achieved all of that, it kind of got like, yeah, you know, and then I kind of wanted to move on. And besides, you know, like, I use my profession to travel, and see the world of hospitality, which really not a whole lot of people can do in their job, because I feel like a lot of people are unfortunately stucked in one place in one space all the time. And I was very blessed to have this profession that allowed me to see the world and meet fantastic people like you. And, you know, be where I am today.

Calvin Tilokee 3:58
So, yeah, a couple things out of what you just said, you know, say that at first, you know, talking about your first job at Burger King at 14 years old, and you know, taking pride in keeping your tables clean. And that’s that’s something you know, you kind of I wouldn’t say you ghost over you said it very quickly. But I’m not sure that people understand how big of a trait that is, you know, and that’s something that bothers me a lot when I see out there in the in the world, especially in our industry is you know, people that don’t take pride in the job. Well, it’s actually just like a funny story that once I’m at the grocery store, and obviously not something you you know, typically associate with hospitality, per se, right? But it was this young kid, he’s bagging the groceries and stuff like that. He’s you know, putting the bread at the bottom. He stuffs everything into one bag, and I go back to my car, and I fixed it myself. Right But I don’t know if like I felt maybe I should have just told them listen, take pride in job and yeah, you just bagging groceries. I get it. This is not going to be your whole life but do it right You know, take some kind of pride in the work, you know. And another thing you mentioned was people asking you about jumping around, which is what I want to get into. You said that you felt like you kind of learned everything you wanted to learn and, you know, move on. And I consider myself that same kind of person. Actually, after about a year and a half to two years, you figured out the job, you know, okay, what’s, what’s next? Did you feel that there just weren’t opportunities at the places you were at was why you had to leave?

Zana Usher 5:28
Um, you know, at times, yes. And other times, to be honest with you, I was very young. And obviously, I didn’t have the the attitude and the mindset and the specific type of ways of how to go about specific things. Obviously, I learned that with getting older and growing closer with God. And so yes, a lot of times, I did feel like, it didn’t seem like that there was some opportunity for me to really go further. And especially growing up in Europe, you know, Europe is a little bit different than here, because in Europe, you just don’t get so quickly an opportunity to climb up your ladder, like you can sometimes be in one job for years and years and years until you get a tiny mighty promotion. And here in America, it’s so different, you know, it’s beautiful here. Because if people really do see that you have the drive, and they kind of need the person that you represent on the job, for a specific thing, you’ll get the opportunity here, quick, you know, and you don’t get it over there. So quick, you literally have to get a degree, get another degree get from one position into another and maybe even change hotels after a year or two. And then you know, at one hotel, you’re just a shift leader and the next hotel after a year or two or three, you can apply maybe for a system, this and this. It’s such a long driven thing. And I mean, I don’t know if it’s today like that, because you know, I don’t live in Europe anymore since almost 15 years. So it might be different. But when I grew up there, it was very difficult, you know, to get where you want it to go, like, Hey, I noticed I want to get there I have the drive put me in coach like no, you know, it just doesn’t work like that fundamentally, from there. So yeah, I wanted to find more. And I wanted to see different things. And I wanted to execute more things that maybe were in their eyes trusted or something. Right. Yeah. And then I wanted to piggyback on what you said, with the groceries. You know, very interesting, because, you know, I really do feel and understand what you’re saying. And I do agree with that, that each person really has to go into anything like with a full heart and with an open mind, even if it’s just bagging groceries, because you never really know if you’re bagging groceries have an SEO right now. Right, right, right, do with a ton of opportunities, and you get into a little Chitty, chatty or whatever, and you’re sempat You know, you’re like, nice and the person is receptive towards you never know what that might lead you. So it’s always good to really do everything with full heart. Right, exactly. But the other part to that is, which we cannot ignore is management that puts these people in specific positions. Because if our leaders are not taking the lead of saying what you said, this is a typical management matter, right there, you know, the manager of this grocery store should observe his people, and possibly, hopefully, this young kid too, and then pull them to the side privately and say exactly what you were thinking, you know, and if that doesn’t really happen, people really don’t know how to do things better, because nobody tells them. And sometimes that’s being mistaken for they don’t want to do better, versus they don’t know how to do better, right? Because Oh, yeah. And we have to consider that because a lot of times it’s our management, that is really, really, really not doing 100% of their job.

Calvin Tilokee 8:59
Yeah, no, I would totally agree with that. I mean, I’m of the mindset that people come in intending to do a good job. I think people want to come into work and do well. I think human nature also is that if you’re allowed to get away with something, you probably will, right. I mean, in fact, we’ve we’ve all been employed at some point, I would say if I knew I could do no work this week and still get my check up, I might do it. Right. But I don’t think things don’t work like that. Those things tend to catch up with you. Because you know, if you’re not getting the work done, eventually those checks will stop coming because your performance will suffer. But yeah, I completely agree with that. I know this story we shared in our pre show about I went to a coffee place recently here out in California and forgot my mask that morning because I was up at 4am filming another show. And you know I was in the middle of a move. My brain just wasn’t there that day and I grabbed everything except the mask and didn’t realize until I got all the way out to where I was going about a 20 minute drive and oh forgot the Ask them like, Okay, well, most places these days will will give you one, you know, I was at a Costco kind of a place, and they had mass provided for you. So if I’m going to a coffee place, which is in the hospitality world, and I expect at least a decent level of service, right, they would have one. So I walked in with the little thing that you used to wipe your glasses, you know, that comes in the case is the only piece of cloth that I had. And plus, I had my shirt up kind of as well. I’m walking, and the waitress goes, Oh, sir, where are you going? So I’m going inside? Well, you can’t go in without a mask. Like, well, I’m hoping you can give me one in there. Oh, no, we don’t give you no mask, like, oh, okay, so I’ll find another place to have coffee wasn’t a big deal. And I was getting ready to leave it at that. When she turns around to some other customers. And goes, Well, I don’t know what his problem is not like this is new. And it was like, come on, lady. Right. Like, I’ve worked in the industry. We know you have we all know about the quote unquote, Karen’s right. I’m not being one, I’m clearly making an attempt, and I was hopeful you would have one, there’s a lot of different ways to handle that, you know, you can just, you know, there’s a store right down the block that I know that this selling some and if you go get one, then we’ll be happy to serve you. You know what I mean? There’s no one there’s there’s that, you know, it’s especially talking to other customers. That’s when I had a problem. Up until that point, I was like, okay, she can use a little bit of training, but in August, or else because I’m sure somebody else will be happy that my business and give me a mask, because again, haven’t worked in the business. If she forgot her mask and show up showed up to work, her boss isn’t sending her home, I guarantee you that mask in the back that will say you’re going to with this and you’re going to go to work. Right. So don’t tell me you don’t have mask this mask? Building. I know that they are. Yeah. But to your point, and we touched on this before. That’s a reflection of the of the company culture. Right. Yep. And if that individual isn’t addressed if that behavior isn’t addressed, that will continue. I did have some thoughts about this. So we’ll we’ll dive right in. We’ll get heavy early. But I think this kind of ties into the whole hiring crisis that we’re currently having. And yeah, fatality. And it’s a vicious cycle, right? Because you hire an individual like that, because it’s a frontline entry level job, almost anybody can do. Right? And you need them right now. And you need them. Right? So it’s, it’s, it’s an issue of need, on the employer side, and ease on the employee side, it’s an easy job to get, because we just will take anyone who will take a warm body that can do that job right now. Right? Right, we’re not in a position to be too selective, because we’re just not getting the people through. The other side of that is the reason you’re not getting the quality people through is because the money’s not good enough. Right? So not everybody wants to come do that kind of work for the meager wages that these entry level positions, you know, offer, what are your thoughts on on how we can potentially solve this problem?

Zana Usher 13:15
So it’s a very, very, very sensitive subject. And it’s very difficult at the time, right? Because, yes, on one side, business owners are literally in the need to get anybody in the doors to just keep it going. Right? Right. But I just want to remind everybody, and I totally get it, that we all have to pay bills and stuff has to get done. I’m like, I’m with everybody that is in that position, I totally understand. But I do believe that it starts with a general mindset, even of the owner itself, because if you work at something with fear, you will not get anywhere. So it starts up here already that you know, regardless of what’s happening, I will get through this, and I will be finding the right person. And if not, I might, as the owner, have to stand there and serve coffee myself for the next five months. If that’s my business, I have to understand that I as an owner, have the biggest responsibility to me, to my business, but the promise I made to myself, and therefore I maybe have the biggest struggle to but you know, so that’s one aspect that people kind of sometimes forget, because business was going great prior and I’ve never had to stand there as an owner and do it myself. I can just come and pick up the checks and leave and have a fun life. You know, so sometimes we gotta we got to do what we got to do. Right? And yes, when we do have people that we hire, I think the biggest thing right now that we can really put our main focus to is training, education, helping them to execute how we want our business to run. We as owners, have to have a vision if I as an owner, have a vision that Every buddy that works for me, I want them to go the extra mile, I will train everybody the same way. For instance, your example with this girl at the coffee shop, if this would have been my coffee shop, I would try to train my staff to go the extra mile, our complete, perfect solution for you not having your mask would have been, for instance, for her to say, I’m very sorry, we’re not allowed to have anybody with a mask. But what would you like today, I’m happy to bring the coffee out to you.

Calvin Tilokee 15:29
Exactly.

Zana Usher 15:31
That would have been a perfect thing where you would have felt wow, you know, they do that for me kind of thing. And it would have been a perfect opportunity for them to show that regardless of what because everybody has a bad day, everybody is in the weeds. But if we are not working with each other, nothing will happen. We need the employees, just the employees need us. It’s not gonna work with a business owner, not having staff and staff right now, being able for maybe the very first time really to be picky right now can really be like, you know what, I don’t like that, I’m gonna find a different job. I don’t like this, I’m gonna go somewhere else. Because the buffet of jobs is open right now. So we as owners, we have to come out of the gate with something that we maybe never had to write. And there might be a lot of things that might be a better attitude as leaders and might be training for my managers, hey, it might be even training for myself as an owner, let me look up. In fact, let me remember how everybody’s name and my staff is, let me remember when everybody’s birthday is, let me remember that my girl that worked for me two years just had a baby to congratulate her. It’s little details like that. But fundamentally, everybody wants to be acknowledged, and everybody wants to have attention. So if we owners do that for our staff, and the staff in return, because we’re going to draw those type of people to us, because whatever we put out there, regardless, is just installed and dwelling Oh my God, I don’t have staff, I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to get there. I don’t know how to pay this bill I don’t. And all those lower energy thoughts, which is absolutely normal, because it is difficult right now. But if we can just try to just go in here. And remember, the vision that we have, remember why we wanted this coffee shop, just remember why we wanted this restaurant, just remember how it felt when we signed the ownership of a hotel. And when we can just go back there and just pull out that love for the industry. I promise we will draw the right people to us. And there’s people like me, there’s other consulting people that are happy to help. You know, it doesn’t mean just because we have to invest something into something stuff will come back to us. No gamble, no risk, or how do you American say that the American saying there’s no risk? No gamble? No, no, no,

Calvin Tilokee 18:11
no risk? no reward?

Zana Usher 18:13
There you go. Yeah, you know, so we got to risk something. And sometimes it’s scary to be like, Oh, well, you know, I got to invest some money in this in the company that’s going to help them so my people, but in the long run, it will come back to you. Because now is the time to set fundamental structure guidelines, and boundaries. And maybe for the very first time for some owners. Just figure out what you want to represent. Who do you want to eat with your business? What do you want to be? Do you want to be casual, you want to be fine dining, you want to be casual with fine dining service you want? What do you want to be? We can create anything, you know, but if an owner doesn’t really know how they want their business to run, it’s difficult to find people to, to execute that for you. How can they know you don’t know how

Calvin Tilokee 19:06
that is very profound is very profound. And I think that’s one of the major issues is we were too worried as an industry we’re too worried about immediate ROI, right? Everything. The reason, my opinion, the reason I think hospitality so far behind the curve and say something like technology, is because every time this case is presented and it goes up the chain, it’s well, how much is this going to cost? Right? And who can this replace? Right? As opposed to who can this enhance? Right? Who can weed out right? Right now I’m not naive. I don’t expect you know, if we come up with say something that’s great for checking in guests or or upgrade system that Okay, so they you may not need five gsase on a shift, right. But what if as opposed to Eliminating gsase you convert two of those into front office managers. Right. So now, the menial tasks of being a GSA are covered, right check ins checkouts, reports, all of these different things. Now, this person instead of spending 80% of the time on busy work, that it’s necessary, but as opposed to spending time on these type of things, now they can really think about how do I better serve this guest? Right? How do I help create an experience for this person? As opposed to us looking at it? Well, okay, now we know we can cut bodies or we can or if we do invest in this, how soon Am I going to get money back from this? And understanding Yes, this is a business with you know, people don’t own hotels and restaurants and everything, hospitality to not make money. But in the long run, the people that make the money are the ones that provide the best service.

Zana Usher 20:57
Exactly. And you know, I’m so glad that you just said that. Because if people really think that they’re going to go into the world of hospitality owning anything, was not having the heart for wanting to serve other people. If that’s not your number one goal, it’s going to be very difficult. Because you might as well just take your money and invest it in somewhere else. Because running a hotel, owning a hotel or restaurant, a country club, casino, Airbnb, bed and breakfast, even a food truck, regardless of what you’ve got to have the understanding that you are a servant to people, and people are paying for a specific service. So if I enter your hotel, yes, I would love to be greeted already before even walking inside by your doorman, I would love my stuff to be taken out. For me, I would love a little charming conversation at the reception telling me all the beautiful amenities inside and around me to like, I would love to see how people are being knowledgeable within the establishment to you know, even in a restaurant, if I have a conversation with somebody, and I’m not from this town or the city or the state, if you absolutely fantastic to be like yeah, you know, the nearest ATM is there and have you checked out this and you know, you need to be familiar with your surroundings to not only inside, but also around you what’s what’s kind of like happening. And the more you have, you know, the more you have knowledge about the own product that you’re trying trying to sell on the floor or within your establishment and the surroundings, the more guests will look at you as like, Wow, this is great service, I didn’t even have to ask for that. And it’s got answered to me. And I think this is really like going the extra mile thinking out of the box and not this hole. This is what I need to do. This is my job description, I’m only able to fold napkins and nothing else. But just amongst each other to, hey, I can fold napkins Do you need help in your section, no problem, it needs to be more of a team spirit environment where everybody feels like we’re in this together. And this can be trained and it can be implemented and taught. But this whole thing of like, you know, this is my section, and this is my guest and don’t take my table away. And you know, the manager, for instance, not being out there in the weeds when it’s really on fire, like not really picking up plates or not really clearing tables or helping his team out or whatever. It’s honestly like, this is the stuff that we really need to work on. You know, this and it’s imperative right now. And it’s the best time right now. Because whoever is not supposed to be in your team maybe deserves an exit. And whoever is supposed to be in your team, just let them come in, you know, like, let’s let’s create something where everybody feels safe, where they have the tools that they need to work with, where they feel safe coming to work, where they feel safe, that they’re being heard, as a team, you know, because your team is the one that executes the work. So if they tell you, they need new trays, and they need new glasses, and they need more regs and they need anything, please listen to them. Because you are disturbing their craft of not providing the proper tools, right. So just just give them the tools that they really need, and let them do what they’re supposed to be doing, which is money for you. You know, and the more you educate them, and the more you train them and the more you polish, your unpolished diamonds will leave me with time and time and keeping maintaining your training strategies. They will be bleeding really every want to make money, you know, waiters going to make money for themselves more because they’re now learning from, for instance, my company and he or other people that do this, how to upsell, how to talk, how to engage how to be more. I’m not saying more Just engaging with the guest. Right? And then the owner in return will also make more money because they make more money for him.

Calvin Tilokee 25:10
Exactly. It’s really not difficult. And that’s what’s frustrating. It’s a very simple business that we work in, but we overcomplicate it because we forget basics like that. Basically, it’s just, I forget what company but Ladies and gentlemen, serving Ladies and gentlemen, right, right, it the end of the day, this business is very simple. Be nice to people treat them as if you’re welcoming them to your house.

Zana Usher 25:37
Right? You know, and also treat your workplace as it is your own. Don’t break plates on purpose. Be careful, please, when you go inside and out the kitchen, don’t stop while you’re walking, you know, like, at, you know, pretend that those like the cutlery and the plates and the glasses, all of that costs money. And whenever we break it by accident, we’re making our owner a problem. So let’s just Also be aware of that side, that the owners and the investors have burdens that we have no idea about, because we come in, we clock in, we clock out and we go, but they they hang in the office, they have meetings, they have all this stuff to worry about, you know, so it’s got to be more of a mutual respecting each other and respecting the space. And that’s really not nothing, nothing hard to ask. Just

Calvin Tilokee 26:33
Yeah, just have respect for another human being and what they may be going through. But it’s something you touched on earlier is you know, we’re also worried about our thing, and everybody thinks that they’re the most important, I guess, right? Or wait, we’re only focused on our own individual problems A lot of times, and this business is the exact opposite of that, right? Like when these people come through the door, your problems don’t matter. Matter of fact, when you clock in, when you walk into the door, everything that comes with you, your your personal life, your issues, what you may be dealing with, doesn’t actually matter. You’re there to serve the people that are coming in. Right. So I’ve been through a lot of different positions. I’ve done everything from housekeeping, the front desk up to, you know, Director of revenue management. So I’ve kind of been at every phase every level, right? And right, what always frustrated me was you’d hear these people who are, you know, entry level positions and say, Oh, well, you know, that GM doesn’t do any work. I stay in here on my feet all day and cetera, et cetera. And it’s it’s like, I remember being a GSA, right. I remember being a waiter. When you clock out, you’re done. Right? And you don’t have to think about work until the next day when you come in. Right? Once you get to management level. It’s it doesn’t right, there is no such thing as you clock out. And you’re done. Right? Even if the emails aren’t coming in, that you’re still thinking about, am I selling rooms right now is that I closed the extra bed that I you know, my staff performing how they supposed to how they’re supposed to be right? You know, I did I cover everything in stand up today. Did I make sure I gave them all the right information so they can execute? You know, as the revenue managers like, oh, is night out, are going to get it right? Do I have to worry about this in the morning, all the coding and stuff like that. So people have to remember and think about that, like your managers, your supervisors, your GM are dealing with things you you don’t know, because you’ve never been at that level. Right? So when you get there, then you can have a judgment. But, you know, on the opposite side, we more than likely, we’ve done your job already. Mm hmm. Right. So when we’re given a directive, when we’re given advice, or whatever it is, understand that it’s coming from a place of we know already experience. Yeah. But one thing you said and I think is really great. I think we have a huge opportunity here as an industry to hit the reset button. Right. And it’s it’s not it’s not a black and white answer is not i’m not saying it’s simple. But people like the person I mentioned in the story. They have no place in this business anymore. Okay, we have to get out of this, this desperation to just get a warm body. Yeah, and just somebody in there, and then we’re afraid to really coach them, because we’re afraid to lose them. Right? No, I think lose that person. Because the other mindset that I think is, is prevalent out there is that we feel that if we paid that person more, they behaved better. And that’s absolutely wrong. Because the right person will do the job correctly. Even if if the pay is not there, right? Like when you were 14 years old. You weren’t making a ton of money, but you work Right, that’s what the right and doing it.

Zana Usher 30:02
Absolutely. But you know, this, this brings me also to another point, you know, it’s also a little bit, you know, it can go this way and that way Yeah. Because if you, for instance, have a manager, okay, let’s say you have a restaurant has about 200, ABC pretty busy, you know, you make a good revenue, you have lunch and dinner and you’re pretty busy, okay. And so now you have your GM, and you have your assistant, GM, you have all those hierarchies, and they go all down. So but sometimes people have the expectation of wanting to pay the person that has the most responsibility in this, which is not the owner in the sense that actually is really the person that runs the entire team. In this case, it would be the general manager of the restaurant. Sometimes they’re being offered positions or amounts that are really not okay, any more. Like, listen, I got offered. And this is a while ago, okay, because again, I’m in my business since a little small while and prior to that I’d done some other things to get here. So when I was in my last position I got offered for Assistant General Manager position, I think it was 65,000 a year. Listen, there’s no way nobody is going to do a 12 to 14 hour job for that kind of money leaving their own family at home, sacrificing no time with the kids sacrificing possibly no time with your spouse, sacrificing their own private time with themselves, when not being rewarded financially, and giving their all to you and your business.

Calvin Tilokee 31:39
Right. Right.

Zana Usher 31:40
So you know, sometimes it’s exactly what you said. But sometimes it can also go this way. And we have to just be aware,

Calvin Tilokee 31:49
I’m sure there’s tons of that happening right now, because of the pandemic and dis employees knowing that people are a little a little desperate right now. Right? So. So you put that position out there, somebody will take it. It’s either going to be somebody who’s not qualified for the job, right? Yes, yeah. Not experienced, they’ll jump all over it. Or it might be a qualified person who is just needs to get back out there. But you know, what, are they going to give you their best effort knowing they’re being underpaid? When they come in, you know what I mean? And I think, you know, to that point, I think we need to really take a hard look at the recruitment process, right? Okay, you want somebody to come in, be the general manager, run your operation the way you want it, fine, pay appropriately. But you know, what, you will have to actually recruit and interview a lot of people and find the right person. But take the time now, to do it. It’s like when I used to, I used to play soccer when I was younger, and my defenders I would like midfielder forward. And you know, you’d run down, you know, it goes out for a goal kick. And you have to run back on defense. And our defender would always say, do the work now, as opposed to waiting for the ball to come back in the game didn’t need to see sprinting back to cover you, man, you do the work now. So do the work up front. Right. So that way you get a qualified person who is happy to be compensated, they’re being compensated fairly, and they will give you 100. All right, as opposed to us keep trying to put a bandaid on it. And you know, hey, let’s just get somebody in here really quick. Let’s just get a GSA I don’t care if they have experienced or not, we just need a body. But you know what you have? I mean, if she’s like that, to me, on a random weekday morning, how many other people how she treated like that?

Zana Usher 33:42
Agreed. And this, I agree, I completely agree. And this is exactly why management and any kind of physician right now, regardless of your franchise, or that runs your space, you live in Arizona, you have a cafe here in California, listen, you got to either have cameras in your space, you got to call in, you got to come you got to put your video chat up there and just maneuver or you got to make a sacrifice just be here every day for a specific amount of time. You know, but you cannot expect people to run the show for you, when they don’t have any guidance of how you want them to run stuff. Or you just thinking Oh, they have a great resume. Okay, it said on their resume that they can execute this job. Alright, well, everybody can do you know, come up with a fantastic resume, that don’t mean that they really have the knowledge and you know, the craft to really do that. So how do you really know? right? Especially with like investors or buyers in the hotel industry, a lot of them? A lot of them really don’t, but they’re not from the world of hospitality. They don’t even have anything to do. They just think, Oh, I have a bunch of money. Let me invest it in a hotel. Okay, so but how do you really know who to hire to really run your place efficiently and actually make money for you. So this is kind of awesome. lot of people, or I want to just put the awareness out there to just be aware that if you don’t personally have the knowledge and you want your business to be successful, get with other people that have the knowledge, you know, get with people like myself or other companies that can help you hire people, train people, ask the right questions help you with the whole transitioning of opening up a space, a restaurant or hotel or whatever. So that you are at least starting successfully, I can promise you that you will be successful forever working with me, but I can promise you that I will do my very everything to set you up right now you got it’s up to you to maintain now. You know, I’m not a genie in a bottle. You know, I’m gonna come in, I’m gonna set it all straight. And I’m gonna put in the right structures and find help you find the right people. But then again, it’s up to you. If this is your life dream, to maintain, and to check in and trying to do you know what, it’s really required? Because Listen, hospitality is of very, very, very challenging industry. You know, and it’s not for everybody. It’s really not for everybody. You know, like, I mean, I remember when I was running a specific restaurant in Hollywood, I would always tell my team at the beginning, you know, I know everybody’s an actor. Everybody is a, you know, a model. But let’s just act it. We’re all our waiters today.

Calvin Tilokee 36:22
Right? This is your role for tonight? Right?

Zana Usher 36:25
Because they think you know, people think they come in and I’m gonna make a quick buck and this land. Yes, you can. Absolutely. You can make ton of money. ton. I personally seen cocktail, waitresses in one shift five hours walk with almost $900 in their pocket. If I see you tomorrow

Unknown Speaker 36:46
and

Calvin Tilokee 36:48
doing the job, right?

Zana Usher 36:49
It’s totally possible, of course. But you like you said you got to do the job. Right. And you have to be there. And you want to have to have this internal not this. Let me put on a nice smile. Let me add no people will feel that people feel if it’s really genuine, or if it’s not, and you can have a beautiful smile. People will get your energy.

Calvin Tilokee 37:16
Of course, of course, it’s very easy. You can’t You can’t fake that you can’t fake authentic with Pete right. You know, I mean, you know, right off the bat if the if this person is is with it or not. I mean, I went to a restaurant since I’ve been out here in California, and this guy approached the table. And he’d like, he’d never really looked at us. He was just looking at the iPad the whole time. It wasn’t like a engaging and engaging, warm greeting. And I was like, he’s not here, right now. He’s not checked in, you know, and that will affect your tip, I’m just gonna be real, you know, I I’m one of the people, I’m not going to give you any fluff. Right? If you’ve got people like that they won’t get it. Right, you’re not going to get tipped well, right. And that as well as somebody who comes in and is like, Hey, you know what, this is my favorite thing on the menu. Where you guys from? Exactly. It’s a little thing. I always told this story in my hotels. And it was tough once you get to the, you know, Director of revenue manager, because people, people typically don’t know what we do. Number one, and then it’s like the other revenue guy. What do you know about service? Right? All right. You know, I’m a hotel you I consider myself a hotel. I’ve been involved in this industry. For half my life. I’ve been interested in it since the same age as you were, you know, my parents and I, you know what, I would travel with my parents and we stayed at different resorts. And I remember we are at a resort in St. Maarten. And I was at old enough to where I had to babysit my brother. Right? So my parents were off to the casino like, okay, watch your brother. We’ll be back in a couple hours and like, Okay, well, what do we do? And I remember telling my parents, there’s nothing to do here. And I started thinking about, and what my dad said to be, well, if this was your place, what would you do differently? And from that age, I started thinking about how you would build a resort that would keep a family happy, right? From the kids perspective, too. So that was about that age. So when I say these things, it’s not the numbers guy just spouting. Right? spelling some stuff. It’s, it’s, I’m invested in this. And I went to Paris a few years ago. I’ll be honest, I wanted this then the small percentage of people I didn’t like it. Paris is just not my vibe. You know what I mean? I know people love it. It’s very pretty. I will say it’s probably the most picturesque city I’ve ever been to. Everybody can look like a professional photographer in Paris. But it’s not a very warm embrace. City. To me, at least my experience wasn’t one of some of the most eye opening service I got was there was at the Renaissance Trocadero square. We got there on a Friday evening. We had a tour booked to where we had maybe a couple hours from the time we checked in to go for this tour. Right? We were able to make a reservation on their website for dinner before the kitchen actually opened. So we showed up to the restaurant, they weren’t open. And we were like, well, we made this on your website. So then they realized that there was some kind of error, as opposed to, you know, some alternatives. They said, You know what, hold on for a second. Why don’t you go join the Platinum reception in the concierge lounge, we got free drinks. They opened the restaurant early. They went and asked the kitchen, if they can handle at the table of three. They said sure. They opened up early and they serve this. Wow. Right, which

Zana Usher 40:42
Lee taking responsibility for their clinch on the right side?

Calvin Tilokee 40:47
Exactly. Now, a lot of places most places you go to would have probably said, Sorry, when an open carry, and then we’ll have to find someplace else to eat at the last minute. And now we’re stressed out because we’ve got a tour this tour coming, because they will mess up at the hotel. Then this car comes and it was one of the coolest tours I’ve ever done. It was like a little those little punch buggy cars with no top. So you drive out around Paris at night, and you see everything lit up and you take pictures. It was amazing. But it’s this little car and I’m trying to take a selfie of all of us in the car. Right? And it was that was struggling. And the Bellman saw it, he runs he literally ran at the front of the hotel, grabs my phone takes a picture of all of us and goes back, no expectation of a tip or anything like that. But he’s like, Hey, you know what this guy is trying to capture this memory. Let me help him out. And I have I’ve never forgotten it. And if I ever go back to Paris, that’s where I would want to stay because these people get it. That doesn’t cost nothing. They did cause money, except maybe a couple free drinks at the concierge lounge. But you didn’t have to comp at night. You know, it’s it’s it’s nothing major. It’s just a simple, genuine hospitality. And I don’t know where we forgot that. It’s a mindset. It’s absolutely a mindset of how you want your business to run. You know, like, and this is what I mentioned at the beginning, going the extra mile, because I remember when I was in school, for hospitality, hotel management, one of my mentors back then always told me you never, ever say no, ever, right? You will find a way whatever it is that they’re asking you. Whatever it is, you know, whatever it might be. Now I could already hear I could already hear the audience saying, Well, what if it’s somebody they want the Presidential Suite, but it’s not available?

Zana Usher 42:43
Okay, well, I’m talking about realistic things that go from a mission statement that every company should have of what they’re representing. And when I say with extra mile, I’m talking about examples like what you just gave, that was a perfect example. The Bellman having nothing to do with you guys or your anything that was happening. And yet he took it upon himself to go and give you your picture, because he simply saw that it was quite difficult to capture this moment you wanted to capture that’s going the extra mile, or the restaurant that opened up their doors only for the three of you and not to be disrespectful, but really Who were you three at that moment? Right? Nobody?

Calvin Tilokee 43:31
In my family, you know, you expect like celebrities get that that kind of treatment, right? We’re just people.

Zana Usher 43:36
And this is exactly what this is all about. Everybody should feel like a celebrity when they go on vacation when they enter a hotel when they enter a restaurant because number one, our guests can pick and choose where they go. Again, today more than ever, and if they come to your place, please acknowledge them. Please be friendly on purpose. Please try to go the extra mile. Because Listen, everybody is there for a purpose. We don’t know what behind everybody scene is happening. If somebody comes into a restaurant, and they just need to zone down, they don’t need a waiter to chatting all night to them in their ear. If you already can tell from their body language back off, do what you’re supposed to do and just leave them alone. You know, if you see a couple of getting into something and you feel that why can I drop the job to make it a little lighter? Great, because they will remember Oh honey, you remember when you went on my nerves and then the waiter dropped that joke and she was so funny. She was so cute. And then what do you associate that cute girl that gave you fantastic service with an evening that started awful. You know, and this is really what what hospitality to me. It’s about it’s about being warm and welcoming and right Not wanting our guests to feel like, okay, I can drop my bags, I can drop my worries, I just want to have a fantastic cocktail at the pool. And I just want to enjoy myself and everything is being catered to me. I don’t want to deal with, I don’t have enough towels. The shampoos are too tiny, can I have more? Can I please have more water while I’m having my dinner? That’s all stuff that our guests don’t need to be bothered with? This is why we are here. We need to do that, you know, we need to see that we need to learn through communication nonverbal? No, no verbal communication should be actually needed.

Calvin Tilokee 45:42
Right. Right. It reminds me of back in Westchester, New York, where I lived most of my life. Before coming to California. There’s a restaurant chain called fortina. And the the chef or the owner is a Christian patrone is he was award winning chef. He’s been a water steward, and I’ve chopped and things like that, right. And we were lucky enough because our hotel was was pretty close to his place. We got a tour. And on the tour, he said to his attitude. He’s like, Listen, it’s a menu. Anybody can read it, I can teach you how to punch in the right menu item. He’s like, I don’t need somebody who’s got 15 years of experience in f&b to, you know, to be a waiter. I want somebody who is friendly, engaging, and has the right attitude. This is another great story that just this past weekend, I was at the premiere of follow me and I will be behind you, which is the documentary by Kyle Allison at hospitality MD. And it’s about Craig Poole, who turned around the Doubletree in Redding, Pennsylvania from one of the worst in the in the country to number seven within a short period of time. But they talked about when they were hiring people for the for the reopening of this hotel, there were lines of people, they there’s a stadium across the street, and people were literally lined up down the block to get in and apply for jobs. The owner, which is an older gentleman, he just walked in, he just walked around outside and started talking to people, the people that engage with him and would be willing to have a conversation with the stranger. He pulled them out of line and hired them. He said, I don’t know what they can do. But they’ve got the right attitude to find a spot. What a fantastic strategy. Yeah. You know, and this is what I mean with with the recruiters it’s like we we overthink it that people are so into, do they tick every single box? Yeah, I agree. And then that, do they have the right experience? Have they worked at this type of hotel? Have they worked in this market? It’s like, do they get the business or not? You know, are they somebody that will represent you? Well, you can teach? Or my the worst one I hate is uh oh, you know, have they ever used this system before? Because systems are hard to learn.

Zana Usher 48:01
mean, yeah. And then if you if you would bring the question back for the person that asked the question, did you learn it? How, right by somebody teaching, you know, somebody

Calvin Tilokee 48:11
teaching you and trial and error and just getting in there and doing it? we’ve all learned I mean, if you’ve worked at two hotels, you’ve probably learned two different systems, right? Because you had to, I mean, give me a break, does this person know that somebody is going to have to learn something in getting a job whether even if it’s just as simple as I need to learn this particular hotel, this market? Or how would I would behave? I mean, speaking from a revenue standpoint, it will take you at least three months to figure out any hotel, okay, how much experience you have, every hotel has has its own personality and the way it behaves. You know, that and that one always gets me it’s like, oh, this Do they know the system? You kidding me? It’s a system. These are kids, most of these people you hire, and they’ve got 18,000 apps on their phone, all of which do different things, and you don’t know how to use that you think they can’t learn the system? They can teach you the system next week.

Unknown Speaker 49:06
You know,

Zana Usher 49:08
but I think it’s really about two really fundamental things. You know, it’s a willingness, wanting to learn wanting to have a teachable heart, and be wanting to offer the knowledge and and to, you know, because you know, my dad always used to teach me so this is one of the things and both of my parents are not here anymore, but I always like to remember this what my dad Teach me and he always told me, he said, Look, the more the people that work for you know, the better it’s going to be for you. Because you know why everybody’s gonna do the same way you would do it. So don’t hold back with your knowledge. Embrace the knowledge with the people that work for you. Because number one, they’re going to feel that they are a part of you and your team and your dream and your vision and all of that. And number two, they go on to execute however you executed great Yeah, you know, so so a lot of people really are so because, you know, I at one point, I tried to go into real estate and, you know, it was sometimes difficult because a lot of people really didn’t want to share what I needed to learn so badly if if this industry would be even something for me and I met this amazing mentor that I worked for, she was amazing. And she was so gracious with her knowledge that’s through her. I learned so many things about the industry, just by being her assistant. And she was not shy with sharing anything, because it gave me the opportunity as a newbie to decide right then and there. Is this something that I think can be working for me or not, and had she not been so transparent and open and not afraid to share what she knows, because I could have taken it and ran away with it or

Unknown Speaker 50:53
whatever, you know,

Zana Usher 50:55
I would have never figured out that actually what I’m doing right now, this is my calling, you know, so just embrace, just embrace whatever, you know, share it with others and just work together to brains better than one. Four is better than two. Right? Two hands, four hands better than two. You know, so why not? I mean, that’s at least how I run my business with people that work with me, for me along next to me that I’m working with. And like, I truly believe in that the more we all know how things work, the better we can execute.

Calvin Tilokee 51:34
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, every reminds me of how I even got into revenue. I mean, my first, my first boss out of college, I was a reservations manager, we put it right into the director of revenue. And he’s, he was just a stick in the mud, right didn’t teach me anything. And, you know, the way I learned was by absorbing, you know, he, every now and then he’d get overwhelmed, and he’d throw something at me. You know, they were there were two properties he was responsible for one was a lot smaller. And he just kind of had just just forecast that, like, do you want to check it Do not just run with it? It was kind of like, just, I don’t care. Just do it. Right. And I could have, but I, you know, I took it as an opportunity to learn, but this guy was always stressed out, always. And I said, you know what I don’t, I don’t think I want to do that job. I thought at that point in my life, I was there’s no way I’ll do revenue management, this guy just doesn’t he just always look stressed out. He just, no, I don’t wanna be that guy. Right. Couple jobs later, ended up same type of position reporting to the director of revenue, but this this lady was very, she was a teacher, she shared the knowledge. And then from learning with her, I realized, this is interesting. He kind of taught it as a strategy. You know, I was like, Okay, I can do this, I’m actually good at this. This is actually interesting and enjoyable. And it’s just the, you know, the example of having two completely different approaches to a situation. And turns out, okay, it’s just personality, everybody has their own personality, right. But this guy, he wasn’t about imparting his knowledge. He wasn’t about sharing, it was just about me, my job. I’m out of here, at the end of the day. And that’s just the kind of show the type of impact a person can have how the right attitude towards being a mentor, or even just a decent boss, right? Not everybody turns out to be a mentor, but just saying, Hey, you know, this is, this is how it’s done. So what I did when I was in your position, or, you know, whatever, just understanding, and I’m so sorry, but it also creates somewhat of a relationship amongst each other, even if a boss or regular staff, it does. And that’s the whole purpose of wanting to be where you are working, because we got to remember the people that work for us, they are building our dream, they’re not building their own. They’re here with us all the time. They’re more with us than what they are actually at home. So yes, they do deserve to know everything, what there is, especially if it can help them to jump forward and to be better and to be anything that can help you fundamentally to, you know, right. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we’re, we’re still friends to this day, mean, that particular door, you know, and we work together in a couple other places. And it doesn’t always work out like that, you know, but when somebody takes the time to teach you, you know, on the flip side, being the employee, appreciate that because not not everybody would do it. And quite frankly, most people won’t and most people are, like you explained in the beginning is everybody’s worried about their table, their section, and most people just come in to worry about their job, and they’re worried about if you learn anything are not so people that do take the time and reach out, reach out a hand to help you. Appreciate those people hold on to those people as best you can. Because the few and far between unfortunately,

Zana Usher 55:12
yeah, or vice versa, even if you think you don’t want to do this job forever and ever still take the opportunity to learn because you never know what life might throws at you. And then that knowledge that you refuse to take the teaching that you refuse to take, actually maybe help. Yeah, yeah, no, yeah.

Calvin Tilokee 55:32
You know, countless times. I mean, I had a VP who encouraged me to basically just kind of take it whatever kind of hotel they would throw at you ticket. She said, because she was promoted to VP a lot faster than her colleagues, because she had a very diverse background, all different types of hotels and all different types of markets, whereas her counterparts only had CV experience. So now, when the company absorbs hotels that are in these middle or smaller markets, who are they going to look to the person who has the experience doing these? You know, and as much as it’s great to have big city experience, yeah, but that’s very less a lot of hotel companies and a lot of hotel owners that don’t own hotels in big cities. You know, there’s a big stretch of country between New York and LA, that are in big metropolitan areas, and they have hotels in them. You know, so you want to be open to learning everything. You never know, when it’s gonna come in handy. You never know what experience you pull from like, Yeah, I did that before. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Being open minded is everything, you know, just really being open minded, and just letting anything, enter that one center and not be afraid, like fear is the biggest thing right now, through this whole COVID thing. If I think if anything, if we all learn something is that fear is not a good thing, you know, it’s not from above, it’s no need to have that. And, you know, just keep moving forward. Just keep believing, and just just just have faith, you know, just keep going. Yes. Okay. till here. Somehow everything always works. Right. Well, you know, what I will? I’ll slightly disagree with that. I don’t think it was okay. Until he I think our I think our industry has been on a downslide for a long time. I think service has gotten progressively worse and worse. in a lot of places. I think I think the focus has been too much on ROI, as opposed to guest experience. And again, sounds weird coming from a guy who did revenue management for, you know, most of my career. But I understand that if the service isn’t there, they’re not coming back. And they’re not, they’re not going to pay extra. I know that when the service is right. The ADR goes up, because they’re going to be willing to pay more for that room.

Zana Usher 57:55
Mm hmm. You know, with that part, I totally agree. I meant, you know, with being okay, that people are getting out of their head of like, I gotta hire this person, or I got to do this more of like letting fear go, have in general just embrace whatever it is. So we can just make things

Calvin Tilokee 58:11
Oh, yeah, yeah, I totally get you. I totally get what you’re saying. Yeah, I hear you. I think this is an opportunity, you know, the entire industry has been forced to take stock at this point of where we are. And you know what, we didn’t want to wipe the slate clean, but it got wiped, right. So now, why don’t we rebuild it properly, get the right people in place, get the right attitude in place. And that goes, like you said, from ownership all the way down to the GSA housekeeping, whatever entry level position, you want to think of the whole mindset needs to change. I think we as the employers need to look at it from a perspective of let’s focus on the right things. We’re focused on hospitality on guests experience, we have tried to create memories for these people that are booking rooms with us. So now how do we get the right people to fill those roles and execute that vision? Like what you said before, if you don’t know what, what your vision is, should be? How can you hire the right person for that? Make them execute what execute what I don’t know. Exactly, exactly. It’s and then that’s when you end the thing is people want to come in, they want to know what they’re doing. They want to know what they are part of. And you could have a good person who’s ready, willing to do all those things, but you bring them in, there’s barely any training. They don’t have the right you know, there’s not enough staff. So there then they are overworked and in two weeks, they’re like, okay, whatever. I just come in, I get a check at the end of the week. I’m not invested in in doing the right things. I’m not invested in hospitality. I invested in how this guest feels. I don’t care. Just do you know All right, well, I’m gonna wrap it up with this. You may have answered this already during the show. But what was your aha moment? Like, when did you realize this industry was for you? starting your business was the right thing to do? When did it click? When everything fell apart? Okay, so you started, you started your business during the pandemic?

Zana Usher 1:00:26
You know, I know. So I started my business officially at the beginning of 2017. Okay, and I was pregnant at the time with my son. And so then, you know, I went through a whole lot of stuff there. And you know, the idea for this business, I had a long time and the execution would I now do on my own for people I’ve done for all of the people that I worked for, right. So always done what I’m doing today, the differences I’m doing for myself now. And, you know, but then shortly after that, I had a very difficult time adjusting to being a new mom. And then very shortly after that, my mom passed away. So I’ve had a very, very, very difficult last couple of years, to two and a half, three years were very difficult for me, because I obviously have to get myself emotionally back together, I had a lot of conversations and fights with God, I, you know, I at times really did not know what and who and where. And I was literally in a not good position at all. And so that’s when I really, you know, started to really hone in with on my own self, and really remember how that feeling was when I used to work in Burger King, or when I used to work at hotels, or when I used to have this amazing team environment at Cafe Europe, for instance, where we were, everybody was just family, everybody help everybody out. Everybody made money for everybody. You know, like the busboy would go by my section? Oh, you would like another bottle of wine, no problem, I will pay my I will tell your waitress and he would, you know, and there’s no, it was just beautiful how people really work with each other for each other. And by reminiscing and by praying, and by just going back, and those old memories, I something enlighted in me and I was like, you know, I can do this, I’m meant to do this. This is my life, like, hospitality is my first love. I got to do this. And that’s how everything started. Really, I honed in, I wrote a business plan 100 times and I rewrote it again, and I threw it away and I made business cards, threw them away to create a website, deleted the website, then you won, and oh, my God. And so here we are with my fifth website. With the fifth time you business cards with a complete brand new concept, I’m still extremely proud from what what it is right now going through the struggles that I had to go through to actually come here. And I really, truly believe that I had to go through everything for me to be here mentally settled and strong and connected and just being cool with me in me with me. And right. Yeah, I think that kind of like, sorry, it was a long, long answer. But

Calvin Tilokee 1:03:11
wait, that’s no problem. No problem. But you know what? That’s, it’s an honest answer. And that’s what we’re looking for here on this show we’re looking for, you know, you can get a lot of fluff out there in the in the podcast space and in the hospitality space, the LinkedIn space. And you know, we’re here to give you give you the real deal. You know, this is we’re not going to pull any punches on this show. And I think that was a great answer. You know, it’s not, it’s not always going to be pretty. It’s not, you know, those of you out there who may look at people like the two of us or other people that you follow on LinkedIn and run their own businesses and think that they’ve always got it all together. And this thing was just, you know, yeah, let me just do this. Yeah, let’s just let’s just start a business today. Sure. You know, I’ll buy the Mercedes next week. Yeah. Yeah. And I will be traveling the world and people give me free hotel rooms it No, it’s Yes. You know, there’s a lot of grinding that that goes on. And, you know, as I like to say, you’re gonna have to eat some shit, just like you did in your career. bucket. bucket. bucket. Right. You know, so no, I appreciate that that answer and I hope I’m sure it will resonate with the audience. All right. So we’re gonna wrap up that was a great conversation. Thank you so much for for joining me here today. I think we had a great talk. We just so the audience knows I asked one pre scripted question. The rest of that was just two people talking about industry that passionate about

Zana Usher 1:04:48
that. Yeah. And you know, I really appreciate you inviting me and it was an absolute honor to share and just have a talk with you and thank you so much for just you know, having me on your show, and just Thinking that I’m interesting to you and my business and clicking you know, just being honest, like you said, I really appreciate it that today it is

Calvin Tilokee 1:05:08
fantastic. Absolutely. You know, this is what it’s all about. And this is what we’ve been talking about. I think it’s just genuine, you know interest in another person’s story. So yeah, let the people know where they where they can find you.

Zana Usher 1:05:23
So you can find me on my own website. It’s Jana divine hospitality.com is z a divine hospitality.com. You can find me with Zhanna divine hospitality also on Instagram. My name is john Asher, you can find me on LinkedIn. You can give me a call a text an email, if you need any help. Or if you’re looking for anything that you found maybe interesting, this conversation, give me a call. I’m always open for a consultation. And if not make go make it work. You know, go back to your original dream and your vision and just don’t stop. Just keep going to do it.

Calvin Tilokee 1:06:05
Absolutely. All right. So we’re wrapping up episode one here of the grill spot podcast. Follow us on Instagram at the G spot and we’ll see you on the next show.

Calvin Tilokee 0:02
Hello and welcome to the midlife crisis podcast. I’m your host Calvin, also known as Revparblems on Instagram. I’m excited to do this talk show with my best friends from high school and college. Steven Mikko, what can you expect on this podcast? Well, I like to call it a talk show for Men of a Certain Age. We’re not quite old. But we’re the kind of guys that have to make sure we don’t miss our alcohol on a night out, you know, we’ll chat about current events, trending topics, and things that we just need to get on our soapbox about knowing us. We’ll be laughing the whole time. And ladies, don’t worry. If you ever wanted to know what your husband or boyfriend talks about in the man cave. Stick around. And now keep in mind, we’re old enough to remember when Parental Advisory stickers went on CDs. We don’t know what CDs are. You’re too young for this podcast. Speaking of which, make sure you have your headphones in. It’s NSFW as these kids say. We’ll be bringing that flavor to your weekly on your way to work while you’re shaving, or just sitting around wondering why you’re backwards. But let’s get this show on the road. Hello, and welcome to the midlife crisis podcast. I’m your host Calvin. Here as always with my boy Steven Mikko, bringing that flavor to you here on a weekly basis. We have a special treat for you this week. As we’ve uncovered and remastered our first ever podcast episode, you’ll hear us discuss our upbringing, how we propose to our wives, and the first ever get off my lawn. This show begins mid conversation with me talking about getting my ass whipped by my mom. Please enjoy. Oh, man. Yeah, that’s crazy. Yeah, I remember once getting hit with a pain stir. Because I had told you before we moved from Brooklyn to to Westchester. So needless to say life was life is a little different in those two situations, right. So Brooklyn, we had the shower is like the shower doors that are on tracks. Yeah. So you get in the shower, or you close the door so you don’t have to think about it. We moved to Westchester, there’s curtains, the shower curtains. Were sometimes a curtain outside of the tub. Yeah, I’m like, Whoa, you know, I don’t know what to do with this. So I jump in the shower. But that plastic curtain was outside the tub. Hmm.

Steve 2:08
So what are on the floor?

Calvin Tilokee 2:10
Exactly? Yeah. I didn’t know why no. exit plan again.

I’m 12 I’m not exactly responsible for these type of things happening. Like now if that were to happen, like I have those shower curtains in my apartment now. But I know if I forget to do that. I’m had to clean it up afterwards.

Mikko Miller 2:27
Right. Right. Right, right.

Calvin Tilokee 2:29
So you start to remember these things. Also, the asked weapon I got for having the floral wet is probably what makes me Never forget to do that again, at this stage of life. But yeah, that was the paints 30 we got a lot of belts. You got a belt. I remember one time getting hit with a belt or trying to get hit. And it was like, I was jumping on my bed to try to get away. So my daddy was like that. Yeah. And I’m jumping it away. It was like, oh, Western. Jump. Right. Get out of the way. But a smack. So. Yeah, yeah, you know, but listen, we all turned out fine, I think. Yeah. Yes, we did. Yes, we did. So, you know, shout out to all our parents. For the tough love. Tough Love. It was all love.

Steve 3:15
It was love you my parents were never my friends.

Mikko Miller 3:19
I mean, we’re friends.

Steve 3:21
Until I was grown up. Exactly. Thank God. There were parents, not the kind of parents that want to be your friend. Yeah, they’ll be friends with a kid. Yeah.

Calvin Tilokee 3:33
Michael Jackson. That’s about it. Exactly.

Go have to edit a lot of shit.

Mikko Miller 3:45
If you if your daughter calls you, Mama, Mama, Mama. Pam. She goes. Why are you at the club? It’s Wednesday. Is it your birthday? Is it your birthday? Go home and take care of them. Kids. 20 robbed me in 10 years.

Calvin Tilokee 4:09
Oh, good. So, Steve, you mentioned that you live overseas for a while Mikko knows at some part of your upbringing. You grew up overseas as well.

Mikko Miller 4:18
Yeah, I’m born in the Philippines. Stayed so I was five. My dad joined the military at a later age in his life, stationed in Germany, lived there for seven years. Went back to the Philippines for a year. Went back to Germany for another three and then the rest of my life. I lived in Maryland where I went for high school and college. So that’s army brat. army brat been all over traveled all over Europe. He took advantage of it. And yeah, Maryland is kind of like my, my formative years was in Germany, but a lot of things that I remember was from Maryland, obviously middle school, high school, college. That’s what really like you know, grew went up in the military environment, you’re sheltered on if you guys know we’re in the army base, like, months and days at a time, we don’t venture out as much into the community. So we live with a lot of army brat and a lot of people in the military. But once we came to Maryland, it was like free for all you know, it’s like public school letting go to private school went to public school and it’s like, awesome. This is what it’s like, you know, not everyone’s so well behaved in in the military, your kids misbehave, the parents get punished, the soldier gets punished. Oh, good. So you don’t behave you know, if you’re out past curfew, you don’t get punished. Your dad gets punished and you know, your IDs could be revoked. Lose rank, there’s a lot of things that can happen to you don’t do that shit. You know, so when in Maryland, it was like, Oh, it’s like a free for all. Like, that’s my newfound freedom. And that’s kind of like what I do. I did a lot of growing up in Maryland.

Calvin Tilokee 5:51
Wow. That’s cool. That’s interesting. Interesting. And that’s one of the things I’d say about college and like those years, you know, that’s where you do least for me, that’s where I did my growing up. Really? It’s where you want to become an adult. Yeah, you got to take care of yourself. Clean a bank account?

Mikko Miller 6:13
Yep. Spending you got to spend budget, you know, 2999 for a week, nothing in the last few months, but you might ramen and you know, dollar hams and juices and you know, you don’t buy a mountain dew you buy a What’s that? A lion? mountain lion? What?

Calvin Tilokee 6:31
Cuz Yeah, the local supermarket was called food line. So they’re, they’re at home brand or whatever you want to call it. Their their white label brand was called mountain lion. Yeah. Yeah, it was a tiger and again.

Oh, man, those are good ties. Yeah, good time. So where did you live in Germany?

Mikko Miller 7:02
I lived in a place called schweinfurth. For the first tour duty. I mean, actually, no. freeburg was the first tour of duty. And then the second one was schweinfurth feet, but it was about two hours away from Frankfurt. schweinfurth was about an hour away from Frankfurt. It’s, it’s close to like the worst Berg I don’t know if you guys know that. But if you know Dirk Novitsky I think he’s coming to worse Burg area. So it’s close to where he grew up.

Calvin Tilokee 7:26
Okay. Yeah, I’ve been to Germany one time, went to Boston, Boston. Yes, as I showed where I got engaged. And then we went to Frankfurt for a few days, I think I was there for a week until it I think three or four days in Boston, Boston, then a couple in Frankfurt. And then back home.

Mikko Miller 7:45
Did you guys do those public baths in Boston, Boston, that’s what they’re known for. Right?

Calvin Tilokee 7:50
Well, the hotel we stayed at, had some of that water at the hotel. So the hotel pool and the hot tub had this water. So Boston, Boston is known for these natural thermal bats that just come out of the earth. Similar to I think we have some similar things in Yellowstone here in this country, and Canada has places like that. So that whole town is known for that. And it’s Historically, the kaisers are the kings of Germany would go to this area for vacation to relax and this was their, you know, vacations button or the better way to say it, but like a spa destination, basically. And they have these big public houses where you go in and all the water in the pools and everything is this natural thermal mineral water that’s supposed to be really good for you, you can drink it and it’s supposed to have a lot of health benefits. But mostly you swim in it and just it’s good for your skin and to seep into your pores and all that stuff. So that’s what Mikko is talking about. But this hotel we stayed at which is now a Radisson It was called the what’s called a bottle shut off. That’s that was so sick doesn’t take man

Mikko Miller 9:01
that silly me? Yeah.

Calvin Tilokee 9:06
Yeah, this hotel had that running right into the into the property. So they had one of these pools where you could swim from inside outside user of the park. They had a nice little park behind it. So obviously you don’t forget that because that’s that’s where I got engaged that that was a good memories there.

Mikko Miller 9:24
How’d you do it?

Calvin Tilokee 9:27
Oh, that’s it. I have that question on the list. So we Yeah, we will go through that. That was as most things with my relationship as you probably would expect. If anybody he already knows me, it didn’t go according to plan. You know, this. There’s we Anna and I joke that we, you know, we don’t do anything romantic like this traditional romance. It’s just when we try to do things like that things. It just doesn’t work out. It’s and it started from the beginning, I would say so. I went and my wife Parents are Russian. So I needed I went I was very traditional. I wrote a letter to her sister who was bilingual. So she translated the letter for me to give to her parents and get permission, and which I did. So then I went to propose, but that night, we all we all went out to dinner. And my father in law ruin the surprise, because he starts grilling me at dinner, about like, why do you want to marry her and listen, and he doesn’t speak English. So he’s really me through her younger sister, who was maybe about 17 at the time.

Mikko Miller 10:35
Oh, damn.

Calvin Tilokee 10:37
So he starts asking me, so obviously, my wife couldn’t understand that the translation and everything and he sounds good to me like, Well, why do you love her and listen, and why do you want to get married to her? I’m like, how do you answer that question? Like, seriously? How do you answer why do you love this person? Oh, I love her because she’s five foot seven. And I love it cuz I love her. Like who she is. Right? Like, how do you explain something like that? And, anyway, the worst mistake, as if that wasn’t bad enough. I must have been nervous. not thinking straight. Whatever. My dumb ass decides to order curry.

Unknown Speaker 11:12
In German.

Calvin Tilokee 11:15
Oh, not not London. Yeah. Not India. Not even New York City. I’m in Germany. I’m in Barton, Barton, Germany, and I was like, the curry shrimp. Sounds good. So I get this curry shrimp. We go back to the hotel. And I’m like,

Unknown Speaker 11:36
running right through you.

Calvin Tilokee 11:37
Yes. Like, this is gonna be a long night. But I decide. That’s the night like the mood is right? to propose to my girl. That one that night. I figured, yeah, this is the time to do it. All the stars are aligning.

Mikko Miller 11:56
I just couldn’t wait. Oh, my God is talking to me. But

Calvin Tilokee 11:59
like, baby, something my gut was just talking to me just spoke to me that night and said, now’s the time to do it. But in all seriousness, I just couldn’t wait any more. Like I was excited to do it. So my vision was to slip it on her finger while we were sleeping. And then She’d wake up in the morning. And it’d be like the movies where she’s like, oh, teary eyed and I get down on one knee and belay Baby, you know, you want this for the rest of your life. You know, and all that stuff. I like how you put your shoulders into that one. Oh, yeah, you got to you got. You got to romance it

Mikko Miller 12:39
yet.

Calvin Tilokee 12:40
So I got the ring in the in the box under the bed. I grab it. And I’m trying to move like real quiet and slow. So I grab it, got it in my hand. She’s not moving. And I finally like slip it on her finger and then like, turn around. And I wait. And wait. Maybe 30 seconds goes by. And then all of a sudden she says you want to say something. And this is when I discovered my wife is a light sleeper. Because I kept getting up and out of bed. And then she felt me put it on her finger. She’s like, you’re gonna say something. So nice. I’m sure I stutter. I’m like, I wasn’t expecting this, right? Oh, yeah, baby, you want to? I love you and you want to like, marry me? I honestly can’t remember what I said. I can’t remember it for the life of me What? What came out after that? But she said yes. And we’re still married after 13 years. So that’s most important.

Mikko Miller 13:44
The rest is history. The rest is history.

Calvin Tilokee 13:45
That’s it. But that pretty much set the tone for our relationship. Anytime we try to do some romantic. That’s pretty much how it goes. So that’s me, I’ll get used to see.

Steve 13:59
That’s a fantastic story. Oh my god, I can just hear her saying that. So. So when. So when I asked Maria to marry me. I did the same thing. I was very traditional asked Marie’s Dad, you know, talk to her mom. I didn’t talk to her sister. And then Marie was taken me to Niagara Falls for my birthday. And so like a day before we leave, she comes down with mana. She’s like, you know, I still want to do it. I still want to take you you’ll drive most of the way. But I’ll, I’ll take it. So um, so we’re going up there and I didn’t want to propose to her on my birthday. So I waited until like, 11 o’clock. We’re both kind of up still. She’s getting kind of tired. I go, hey, what if we went for a walk? And I’m dragging this poor woman around until it’s like after just after midnight. So I don’t propose on my birthday.

Mikko Miller 15:00
Yeah,

Steve 15:02
exactly. And walking around the falls and we’re heading over towards the falls. And as we’re walking, I’m like, I’m holding her tight. And I noticed that there’s a couple ahead of us and they’re full on banging it out on the park that I’m passing them to what I have proposed to my wife, but this romantic, romantic moment. And so

Calvin Tilokee 15:28
romantic butts on the planet.

Steve 15:29
These guys, they they were full on boning. There’s, I mean, in to this day, she’ll say,

Mikko Miller 15:36
I never noticed I never noticed. I don’t either.

Steve 15:40
I don’t either. And so, you know, right when we got there, I looked at my watch was about five past or so. And I dropped to one knee. I asked her I held my hand up and I remember the face she made still to this day. And she her ass was up after that. It was she was calling everybody probably went probably went to bed at like two or three in the morning that night. Yeah, yeah. Had to i, whoever those two people are there forever etched in my memory as you know, as whatever, whatever was going on. It was very passionate. And there was a mon, so pretty clear. What was shaken.

Calvin Tilokee 16:20
You know, you know, we all go to Niagara Falls for for different reasons. So how long have you guys been married now?

Steve 16:28
16 years. 16 years this past July? 13.

Calvin Tilokee 16:32
Nice. Yeah. Wow. I have a feeling those three people to light there.

Mikko Miller 16:38
Yeah. This is good.

Calvin Tilokee 16:43
Yeah, yeah, we’ll make sure that edited. Because as long as you got the gift on the third. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I did that for the first few years of my marriage. Sure. Like I forgot exactly what date you got married. You think it’s a seven but I used to say the sixth? All the time. And then she she’d be looking because people would ask and she’d look at me. I’m like, What? At least I remember. We got anniversary. I mean, I’m doing remember they married.

Mikko Miller 17:13
Exactly. Anyway. Exactly.

Calvin Tilokee 17:16
So but you Mikko you gotta you gotta top those stories.

Mikko Miller 17:20
Unfortunately, I can’t. Mine’s just boring compared to you guys. I don’t have any interesting stories like you guys. We first off, I got laid off at work as I saved up for a ring. And as I saved up for the trip, you know, we live in California. We planned on a three week trip back east. She’s never been so I was gonna take it to like DC, Baltimore, and then up to New York health care pros in New York Times Square. But then I got laid off, but we still went on with a trip. You know, I took my money. We went onto the trip. You go to Times Square. Where you go eat lunch with my mom. My mom brought her sisters along because they all knew cat didn’t know. And just in the middle of Times Square, you know, I try to time it where the camera was right on us, you know, in that big O screen and dropped to one knee? I timed it perfectly. I dropped to one knee. Everyone’s looking and she said yes. I had my aunt, you know with a camera to record a moment. And she was so caught up by the moment. The proposal wasn’t even what I remembered. My aunt was supposed to be recording. And she got so caught up in the moment you put the camera down and got people’s feet. Oh, I love you. If you hear this, sorry.

Calvin Tilokee 18:34
Oh, man, you know what was so And how long have you been married now?

Mikko Miller 18:39
Only five years guys. So I started started kind of late.

Calvin Tilokee 18:43
Dude, that’s that’s that’s still a long time for most people. And I think what would I tell people once you get past the five years, you said like the warranty is expired? Yeah, neither one of you could return it at this point. So you Good.

Mikko Miller 18:57
Good. And as far as anniversaries go, I keep it to the month. It’s June. So that’s the you guys

Calvin Tilokee 19:06
that I see. Yeah, that’s a Yeah, I got set up the same way. Because our our anniversary is April 7, seven. Yeah. My wife’s birthday is the 27th Okay, okay, so April is just shot for me Gosh, like for life like so. It’s the same April I could just get a gift to gifts in the mid week of April and probably be good. There you go. Probably not. I’m probably gonna have to edit that out. But I don’t think that I don’t think it’s gonna work. So she Oh, she got me to early birthday guess but misty and crispy.

Mikko Miller 19:43
Lovely Anna.

Calvin Tilokee 19:45
It was funny. It was funny is that none of us has a normal proposal story.

Mikko Miller 19:50
No,

Calvin Tilokee 19:51
you know, nothing goes the way you expected in the movies.

Mikko Miller 19:56
I wish it did. You know like I said like I had planned out the timing, you know? thing, but it just, it just didn’t work out that way. Like I think more people will either focused on the big screen or on us to actually be recording. So now when I’m like wanting to view how I did it, whatever is like I have to go off a memory like with everyone else. Yeah.

Calvin Tilokee 20:16
That’s probably for the best. Probably maybe. I mean, we were just talking about this recently, because the hotel where we met, just closed for good. Because of Yeah, because of COVID. You know, I guess they’ve been they’ve been closed for some time and financially realized that it just wasn’t going to make sense. So they’ve closed for good. And that hotel, which is the the Hilton writedown, or the Hilton Westchester is it later became known was Yeah, it’s completely, completely closed. They just closed it last week.

Mikko Miller 20:49
And

Calvin Tilokee 20:50
on top of that, where we got married, we got married in Hawaii, on Molokai, which is the smallest Hawaiian island. They won’t keep going, right? Yeah, it was called the Molokai ranch that that hotel closed down about a year after we got married. So we were joking the other days, like, you know, if we ever want to go back to our monumental places, like they just don’t exist. I’m not sure if that’s what that’s supposed to mean. But we can’t go back to where we got married. And we can’t go back to where we got met. Neither one of these places exist anymore. It’s not money, right?

Mikko Miller 21:28
That’s small, apocalyptic. Sheer. Yeah.

Steve 21:31
I got to monetize that somehow.

Mikko Miller 21:34
You got it. Right. Exactly.

Calvin Tilokee 21:37
Exactly. So speaking of COVID, since that’s kind of come up in you know, the impact on that particular hotel? How is how has that been for you guys? and I, we didn’t even touch on what we all do for a living at this point. Not that it necessarily matters. But if you want people to know, but how has it impacted? your work life? Have you developed any new habits during this time? What’s up?

Mikko Miller 22:02
I’ll tackle it on let’s see, well, I work for a large HMO health care provider. So we never shut down. My department that I have have 51 people that I’m in charge of, we never shut down. So as the whole country went into lockdown, we stayed open, obviously, we handle like medical records and things like that. So we were considered essential employees. Yeah, so we stayed open, and we’re still open. Now, as certain departments and certain facilities have are shut down and go through like, you know, intermittent shutdowns and intermittent closings, we remained open. We try to stay diligent with, you know, social distancing, and wearing masks and gloves and try to, you know, space each other out as much as we can. But it’s rough because you don’t know what these people do. Even me, they don’t know what I do outside of work at work, we try to be safe, you know, but outside of work, people can take off mask and go wherever the heck they want to do but at work to have this. You know, like a policy where you keep your mask on you stay away, you don’t sneeze in front of other people. But it doesn’t mean you’re not bringing it in. So, but as far as habits that I’ve developed, doing COVID my wife and I, I think you’ve developed the habit of enjoying Uber Eats. food delivery is like, awesome. It’s like, I don’t know why it wasn’t invented before. But that’s kind of like a habit. Not necessarily a good habit that we develop. But you know, we love Postmates Uber Eats us want to sponsor us. Let’s definitely use your services like every day, almost every day. Yeah.

Calvin Tilokee 23:45
Hey, nothing wrong with that, man.

Mikko Miller 23:46
Got he

Calvin Tilokee 23:47
got restaurants gotta make money.

Mikko Miller 23:50
That’s true. That’s true. Everything’s takeout nowadays, so.

Calvin Tilokee 23:53
Yeah. Yeah.

Steve 23:56
So, I, so I worked for a software company, and I work with, you know, pretty large. I consultants, so that software to pretty large companies, and I’ve always worked out in my house. So you know, when COVID hit, it wasn’t, it wasn’t a big deal for me. workwise um, you know, from my day to day, I mean, it disrupted a lot of my customers and I’ve had to work through that but the only thing that the only thing that’s changed for me from a work life balances. Now I have my daughter and my wife with me all the time. And prior to us moving in to this house where we are now we were doing this out of you know, small to small two bedroom and it was got hairy a couple times but you know, all in all, now that we’re in this house, it’s it’s a lot easier that we can just kind of spread out. Yeah. But from a you know, how it’s you know, a funny way in which it’s in which it’s impacting us is that we are, you’re more, you’re a lot more careful about who you go with, who you see, you know, you’re very upfront about asking them what they do, you know, what they, you know, what do you do? What do you not what you do, but what you what I meant to say was? Um, have you come in contact with or are you wearing a mask? You know, we’re much more diligent about that stuff. And we’ve, you know, a few times we’ve invited some people over then they’ve been they’ve had to back out because they, you know, came in contact with someone, nom and, and we’ve even said, hey, look, I I saw my, you know, I saw so and so yesterday, I’m not, you know, I don’t know what their situation is. Enough. So I’m going to kind of keep to myself for the next two weeks. And I will say I Well, we don’t do a micos food delivery. We do. I have. I have come to really enjoy wine from Costco. And I have zero shaman in in in saying that I really enjoy it.

Calvin Tilokee 26:13
Nice.

Steve 26:13
So, you know, you know, shoot every, you know, every other night. It’s what kind of wine from Costco Do you want to pop? And that’s, that’s what’s changed with us right now. What

Calvin Tilokee 26:25
kind of wine Do you get at Costco?

Steve 26:27
So, if I, if I point the camera off to my right, you’ll see that there is a name of a vo ha no walbeck and Alexander Valley cab, and I’ll tell you what. It’s so damn good. I mean, it’s just, it’s crazy. Nice. And, and I’ve actually I mean, I like wine I’ve had. I’ve had very, very good wine. I just I know what I like and I know what I’m willing to pay for it. And for the price it’s can’t be

Calvin Tilokee 27:05
Yeah, yeah. I know. A big thing out here is people go to Trader Joe’s for wine. Apparently they have they have cheap wine. It’s supposed to be pretty good. That’s that’s a spot for the for the young kids. Yeah, I don’t do wine anymore. I’ve discovered that me and wine do not agree. How come? I think is the sulfites. Okay, I believe that’s what it is. That messes me up. And Funny enough, I discovered this. When we went to Napa Valley went to wine country last year. And you going around and doing different tastings all day. And I just realized by the end of the day, like I just felt really rundown and weird every single day. And then so I thought I’d have more water, like do a little tasting have more water and I read Okay, maybe with wine, I just need to hydrate more than I do when I drink other types of alcohol. But it’s still, I just wouldn’t feel right. So I think it was our anniversary last year. So we went with the Napa Valley in March. And again, April is our anniversary. So then for our anniversary, we went out and we went to john George, which is like fancy, you know, fine dining. And it was my wife and I think we split two bottles of wine. So I didn’t feel drunk. I just felt very full, like a balloon just like completely, like I was about to pop. And I get home and I’m like, Oh man, I just got to take a shower. I’ll go straight to bed. And I lay there for a while and then realize you know, something got happening. Something is this is not going to work out well. And the best way I could describe it is if you took a full stuff that burrito like from Chipotle, I like to ask and fill it as packet as tight as possible. And then just squeeze it in the middle. It was coming out. That’s Yeah, yeah. And so we’re gonna call episode one. cow’s gastrointestinal issues.

I thought maybe it was something I ate. Yeah, so Oh, man. You know, I had fog rot at night. And I was like, maybe the food was just too rich because I just feel really, really heavy. until October of last year, we went to Barcelona and I had a couple of glasses of Kava, it really wasn’t a lot. And the exact same thing happened. And I said it’s wine. It has to be wine like it just doesn’t agree with me. Now I could drink whiskey all night and be fun. I can drink a lot of different types of alcohol but wine for some reason. It just doesn’t. Doesn’t vibe anymore. So there’s that okay. It’s nothing to do with Coke. By just as far as me with COVID, as you guys know, I’ve worked in hospitality and have for almost 20 years, spent most of that time doing revenue management for hotels. And my the hotel I was at around mid March started to feel the impact of COVID. And you could see people starting to really cancel. And eventually, at first, it was just, Hey, you guys can start working from home because, you know, it’s safer. So we started working from home from about the middle of March, and then late April, my hotel closed. And then it hasn’t reopened to my knowledge. And this is since April. And I don’t know what the impact of that’s going to be market wise and everything. But as far as us haven’t been home since mid March, and just in an apartment for you know, four plus months, we’ve learned to appreciate getting outside. I think that’s been the most important thing. Yeah, what we would do is just kind of end our day with with a walk around the neighborhood. And eventually, it’s all in all is about three miles, but we’d make sure five 530 end of the day, hey, let’s pack up, go for a walk, come back, if we have to work we have to work when we come back, because it was really crazy in the beginning for both of us. But yeah, we really got into walking and we’ve started hiking on the weekends. Now, I had to pay a fresh Tim’s that I never wore, because I go to work like Well, you can’t wait Tim’s to work, right. So now they’re hiking boots, I wear those to go hiking, you know, we’ve done quite a few trails around and discovered things that we didn’t even know, existed around here. So that’s been really good. And I think it really started to appreciate getting out in nature and how much better you feel when you do that. Yeah, just just being out around the trees and fresh air and just walking around for an hour or so every day really, really helps. And that’s been I think the main thing that made them for us is exercise. And I’ve finally got consistent with exercising my gym has been doing virtual classes throughout the whole time. So I’ve been my working out, throw a little yoga mat down in my bedroom and knock out some high intensity workout for you know, 45 minutes. And it’s it’s been the mental effects of that that have had been more most important. You know, I’ve not really changing or losing weight or anything like that. But mentally I realized very early on, if I didn’t work out or go for a walk, I was in a foul mood. I just didn’t feel good. So I’ve realized now the importance people talk about the endorphins and working out makes you feel good and gives you energy now I know what they’re actually talking about, because it really is helped change their mindset. So I’d say that’s the biggest thing for me.

Steve 32:50
That’s fantastic. You know, one of the upsides for me being here is, you know, our daughter’s not going to daycare. And so I get to snipe, you know, a ton of time with her. And and it’s it’s one of the bright spots of the whole thing for me at least.

Calvin Tilokee 33:06
Yeah, well, that’s good. I mean, you get to spend a lot of time with her. Yeah, time you may not otherwise have been able to get.

Steve 33:13
And it’s time that she spends with a stranger who, you know, really spends more time, you know, with her than I do. You know, when when she would go to daycare, right? I hear walking around upstairs, I think she’s going to be a surprise.

Calvin Tilokee 33:30
Surprise, surprise.

Steve 33:33
Yeah. Whenever she surprises me at work, I always just refer refer to her as my intern.

Mikko Miller 33:39
So,

Steve 33:40
I have found that, you know, people have been a lot more accommodating, not accommodating, but just

Mikko Miller 33:47
were something maybe what’s that receptive, now

Steve 33:51
receptive and understanding their overall just more understanding that you know, you’re working from home. So if the dogs barking in the background or some kid, you know, if your interns got to have sliced bananas, you know, you just got to do with

Calvin Tilokee 34:08
the peanut butter.

Mikko Miller 34:09
Yeah, and that’s what I tried some a wife, my wife works from home. She’s a nurse. She used to work in floors, but now she’s working from home. And so it’s a big adjustment for her. So for the first I think four months of COVID I think she went out once and you know, I still go out to work. I still you know, outside so like I don’t feel the effects the same way she does, but she did say the same thing. It’s like going out exactly what Calvin said. Being able to just go out and walk around catch them. sunrays, actually like elevates her mood and the fact that you know, just to be able to just catch fresh air I guess I take advantage of I didn’t realize how much of a disadvantage It was hard to work from home because I mean, you got it easy. You wake up, you know, go straight to work. But just the simple fact of being able to go outside and catch some fresh air and you know see other people and talk to other people intermingle with other people. Like, I just failed to realize that early on that, you know, she probably misses that stuff because you know, she was a bedside nurse for like damn near 20 years. And then now she’s working in it’s like, they do like a telehealth. So it’s all, you know, telephonic. So she does that from home. 24 seven, pretty much.

Steve 35:22
Seven.

Mikko Miller 35:23
I’m not really but you know, her shifts are long, but you know, he gets up early to prepare and then afterwards he does like the notes and stuff. So she’s just home all day. Then I come home and it’s like, dinner. big piece of chicken, you know. Give me a lot of Chris Rock references. Oh, yeah. Great. Yeah.

Steve 35:45
It’s fair to reference that.

Calvin Tilokee 35:46
That one that was a good one. Yeah, that’s it. They didn’t kiss me who’s Chris Rock? Is he like, Kevin Hart? Doesn’t? You know what?

Mikko Miller 35:54
Let’s not start that discussion, man.

Calvin Tilokee 35:55
What do I know? We got a couple minutes left.

Steve 36:00
If you don’t know who Chris Rock is crawl out from under your rock and go see anything by Chris Rock.

Mikko Miller 36:08
Bigger, blacker bringing the pain what’s the new one? What’s the newest? tambourine? tambourine there’s one more before that though. The one that you saw one. Did you watch one carbon?

Calvin Tilokee 36:23
Chris I saw him live he would think he was filming tambourine.

Mikko Miller 36:27
What was the tambourine? Yeah,

Calvin Tilokee 36:28
yeah, that’s what he was doing that with he was funny still funny as hell man. He’s he’s not bring the pain funny, like back in those days. I mean, that is to me is the ultimate like Chris Rock is my favorite. He’s my favorite comedian. I don’t think he’s the best right now. I think Chappelle is by far the best comedian

Chappelle is the best to his his jokes and the way he brings socio economic things together and does it in a way where it’s not really offensive unless you’re just one of those people who gets offended by things. But level he does it Yeah, he does it in such a smooth way that he’s he’s a next level genius. But Chris Rock is just my favorite. This is somebody his delivery and his type of jokes that had always jive with me like he’s always been hilarious.

Mikko Miller 37:17
Yeah, it’s his face. It’s his hands is ready can tell his jokes. Sorry, Chris.

Calvin Tilokee 37:25
I seem you should have killed it. But

Steve 37:31
I like jelly.

Mikko Miller 37:34
Prefer syrup.

Steve 37:35
I don’t think I need to go much more into that one.

Calvin Tilokee 37:42
That was a good segue into our final segment. For tonight. We’re going to start off with something called Get off my lawn. When you young whippersnappers think you got everything figured out. And y’all just need to get off my lawn with that stuff. Oh, so I want to start I’ll start this one. Because I just get tired of people today. Especially these kids that think they invented everything. They think that what they like, has to be the best, like nothing existed before. They started paying attention to stuff. You know, like Drake is the greatest rapper of all time. Don’t get me started. Don’t get me started because we’re going to lose all day for another day.

Mikko Miller 38:23
Because no, yeah. No,

Calvin Tilokee 38:26
you know, LeBron James, best basketball player to ever have existed. Really?

Mikko Miller 38:31
Oh, touchy subject right there. touchy? Oh, no.

Calvin Tilokee 38:36
I mean, we got we got somebody from Ohio on eso. Oh, man, you may have something to say. But

Steve 38:43
you can’t compare their different players they had. It’s just different. It’s like saying Tiger Woods. And jack Nicklaus. You know, from a golf standpoint, you know, there’s just more technology available now that that makes them better athletes, but I think putting the two of them up against each other in their prime.

Mikko Miller 39:01
I don’t know.

Steve 39:04
I’d say Jordan would take him in his prime in his like, UNC days. I think he would he would take LeBron.

Calvin Tilokee 39:11
Let’s see the thing with that is I don’t think it’s not. It’s not a one on one type of thing. Because I know, I know. It’s, well, yeah, I mean, it’s their greatness as to what they’ve accomplished in the game. But, I mean, LeBron is what six nine, like 280, or whatever. I mean, he’s a linebacker, I mean, physically, yes, he’s way more gifted than Jordan. If this was any other player you were talking about who was Jordan sighs you’d say LeBron to take them. But just because of Jordans mentality. I think that’s what separates him from everyone else who’s ever played that sport, and probably most other sports, if you’ve watched the last dance, and you still think LeBron is better. And it’s not even a discussion to you that we can have a conversation like we I mean, as committed As Jordan was to being the best basketball player ever, that’s all he was focused on. Yeah, you know, he did. I just didn’t think about anything else. By comparison, LeBron is involved in a lot of different things, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I’m not saying it’s bad. But Jordan never focus on anything else. But basketball, which is what made him so damn good. And he elevated teams to levels that have never been been seen before. You know, LeBron talks about, you know, people talk about LeBron playing with, you know, boobie Gibson and those guys and bring it up to the finals, which is a ridiculous accomplishment. Yeah, when you think about it, but he never created a Pippin. like nobody thinks Scottie Pippen was going to be top 50 player of all time without Jordan, right? Like, that would have never happened. You know, LeBron hasn’t done that. For anybody, the guys he’s won with have already been stars. Good point, you know, true, true, true. But that’s me, I’m out. I’m gonna go back into house and I let these kids do what they got doing wrong, because my other one

Mikko Miller 41:06
I’m just gonna chime in on that real quick, just real quick chime in on that. I think the closest and this is, I think me and not just because I live in LA, the closest that someone has ever come to that type of killer mentality, in my opinion has always been Kobe Bryant. He may not have been as gifted, he may not have elevated his teams to the level that Michael did, but that mentality of I’m just gonna kill you every single night. I think Kobe had that Kobe had that in them. And, you know, LeBron, Kobe, Mike, I wish I would have a shirt where they’re all three of them were like on like holding each other. I wish it would have wore that shirt. But mentality wise, I think Michael Colby were like, a&b, in my opinion, that’s just, you know,

Calvin Tilokee 41:50
I agree. And I’ll just jump on that point real quick. There’s a book I listened to a couple years ago called relentless by Tim Grover, who was the trainer for he also trained Coby and Wade, and if you listen to that book, he talks about the mentalities of all of these different guys, and how there’s, there’s different levels to it. And he he specifically says that lebrons not quite there. He’s not quite on that level. This is not an insult. Right. I think that’s what people get, get. get it twisted resale. He’s not the greatest of all time, then they get offended. Like you’re somehow insulting LeBron James, to say that he’s not the greatest human being to ever be good in that profession is not an insult. He’s in the conversation. Right? But isn’t we’re not saying Brian is garbage by any means. But to Mikko point about the mentality like that thing, where Jordan was just not going to lose six and o in the finals. He just was not having it. He just was not having any any slack in front from from his teammates, and take take with LeBron and that famous meme now when jr Smith, right with J. Smith wasn’t paying attention to the clock or whatever, that would have never been allowed to do that. That’s not going to happen. You know, you get into a fistfight, like you did with Steve Kerr. But listen to that book, if I would suggest anybody, it’s there’s a great book period for, for your mentality and just how to go about being great at anything. But this is somebody who’s trained some of the greatest basketball players we’ve known. And I think you should take his word for it. Yet, I’ll leave it at that. But yeah, back back to back to you.

Mikko Miller 43:37
on mine, as far as this generation goes, and, you know, I’ve grown accustomed to a lot of millennials living in California and having that type of mindset and that sense of entitlement. I think it kind of piggybacks off of your point, a lot of the millennials that I come across have this sense of entitlement where they just, they felt like everything is deserving. For them, they deserve everything. And, you know, we’ve gone through, I’m pretty sure all three of us, you know, hard work being beat our parent, not beat but you know, being disciplined by our parents, and having to work for what we’ve got and not been given everything that we’ve had. And these people just expect, you know, the whole world of people that come across in the workplace that feel like, Oh, my sick time is my time. You know, it’s for me whenever I want to use it, you know, I’m going to call out and not come to work and give you a call five minutes before my shift and think it’s okay. Because it’s, you know, it’s my right, it’s my time off and it’s like, how do you grew up with that mentality of just thinking everything was meant for you and you’re supposed to take advantage of everything because it’s there. In I think that’s just one of the things that I just can’t stand from millennials and people consider us moving because we’re like, kinda like in between that town that border. Yeah. Yeah, but do you Young uns that come across and just feel like everything is should be there and it belongs to them. And all these rights are for them, and they have to take advantage of it just like, if you can see me just just to see that it’s not work, work for it, show me some respect work for and respect you, but don’t expect things to be given to you.

Calvin Tilokee 45:19
Right? I hear that man.

Steve 45:23
So, you know, in what I prepared for this was was, you know, something similar to what Mikko saying, you know, I work with a lot of younger people who are coming into my profession. And you, it’s easy to say, Oh, he’s, you know, he does, he does this for a living, it’s, it’s, it looks super easy. And then, you know, he, he gets a lot of accolades, or, you know, someone gets accolades, not saying I get accolades, but someone gets accolades. And then oh, I want to go do that. That That just seems, seems easy.

Mikko Miller 46:02
And,

Steve 46:04
you know, I’ve had, I’ve had a couple of people contact me about jobs, and they’re asking me all these questions about these jobs. And I’m like, dude, you are not qualified whatsoever to do this job. Why are you trying to skip steps? A, B, C, D, E, F, go right down the alphabet. You know, to everyone’s point here, you need to put in work. And yeah, that’s so I’m, I’m, I’m really over that. It’s something I would like to see. Just more. Yeah, just more hard work, work put in and then you can always tell when someone’s coming at you. Who has some bike by by, you know, luck or whatever. They’re in a, somewhat of a position similar to you. And they’re like, you didn’t put in any work? Man, you just you just got here. Rather you bump you up in fire you. I’m going to get off my soapbox. I can go on a pretty long tangent of that one. But I see that enough. And it’s a Yeah.

Calvin Tilokee 47:06
Yeah, yeah. Well, yeah, we definitely sound like, you know, middle aged men. So yeah, I think I think we’ve, we’ve hit home, the theme of the podcast and Episode One was definitely, yeah, I’m sure we’ll we’ll touch on that topic as we move forward, because that’s something I’ve seen quite a bit of. And I’ve also seen it from people older than us. And that’s the thing. So we’re not here to bash millennials. You know, I think that I think that they get a bad rap. I think and I’ll say this story really quick, as we’re wrapping up, but I went to a conference a few years ago, and they talk about how the millennials are really broken up into two different categories. And the older ones like us, like we’re kind of on the very tail end, depending on what study you look at. But like the the 30, fives and up, Millennials have more of older school mentality of you still need to work for it. It’s the younger half. And of course, this is generalizations, that doesn’t mean anybody under 35 doesn’t work for stuff, but they’re the ones that more had this mentality of Hey, just show up and do it. But I remember a hotel I was working at was taken over a change management companies. And this woman who was 40 at the time, and this is seven years ago, woman’s gonna be close to 50. Now what and she had two kids at the time, was complaining because the new management company made a mistake, and she lost half an hour of PTO time. Half an hour. She went on a rant about this. I was like, are you? Are you serious right now? Oh, and the new companies are giving us Presidents Day Off. We used to have presidents they really would have fuck celebrates Presidents Day,

Mikko Miller 48:48
what do you do? Buy a mattress? What are you so excited by Presidents Day for?

Calvin Tilokee 48:53
Give me a break?

Mikko Miller 48:55
Yeah.

Calvin Tilokee 48:56
So you do see that? Kind of across the board with, you know, the age brackets, but I’m sure we’ll talk about that a lot, because I think we have that in common. And that’s going to be something that we discuss. So I think that’s a great place to wrap up for episode one. Thank you for taking that trip down memory lane with us. We can’t believe it’s been over six months since we recorded that episode. And as you can tell, we were pretty amazing right out of the gate. Since then, we’ve seen over 2000 downloads and that’s thanks to all of you guys. So thank you for your support. And there’s lots more where that came from. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please leave us a review on iTunes and you make it a shout out live on air. Speaking of being on air, you can become part of the show by supporting us on Patreon. You’re gotcha highlights members, you got your mid-life members and you got your low-life members. For as little as $5 a month you can get early access to episodes, extended cuts featuring behind-the-scenes content, and the ability to send in your own audio for get off my lawn. Hit the link in our show notes to get a life keep up with us in between shows on Instagram at midlife crisis podcast, show notes for this, and all episodes are available on midlife crisis podcast comm where you can sign up for our mailing list and get a discount off the merchandise. Thanks for tuning in, and we’ll catch you on the next one.

Mikko Miller 50:16
Let’s go

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