The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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I interviewed Govind at my house in North Jersey. He seemed very excited to tell me the story of his first managing job, as he had learned a lot of the skills that he still uses to this day in his career. He also showed a shed of sadness as his family was no longer close together. I could tell that even though he was in a rough position then, he really enjoyed his life back then.

Finally, after 10 years, Govind could finally call a place home.

After he coming to America, Govind had gone all over the northeast region working at different hotels. As he worked, slowly but surely, his boss noticed how hard Govind worked and saw his latent management abilities.

“All right Govind-bhai, you’ve shown great improvement in the past 10 years, I think I’ve got the perfect opportunity for you. I have a small hotel called Knights Inn and you’re just the guy to manage it.”, said Govind’s boss.

“Thank You for this chance sir, I won’t fail you!”, replied an optimistic Govind.

The hotel was a relatively small one, consisting of about 40 rooms split over two floors. Elizabeth, NJ wasn't really that good of an area, with crimes happening not too far from the property. But in Govind's eyes, this was a worthy challenge. He knew that he would be able to improve the condition of the hotel, which in turn would boost sales. But it wouldn't be easy. As he walked into the cramped office for the first time. he saw papers upon papers strewn about the room. The ceiling consisted of cracked drop ceiling tiles which were stained with dried up watermarks. Worst of all, he saw a quartet of cockroaches making their way around the floor.

"Oh man, this isn't looking good, but I know I can do this", thought Govind. 

Although he had this daunting task ahead of him, he wasn't alone. He had most of his family with him when he was handed the title of manager. His wife, four sisters, three brother in-laws were all there to help him. They all switched between positions working at the front desk and housekeeping. They all willingly lived in one room in order to maximize performance. With many people in such a small room, living was tough most had to sleep on the floor. The kids got to sleep on the bed while some of Govind’s sisters slept on the couch. While it definitely wasn’t ideal, they had to make it work for the sake of business.

With their cooperation and hard work, Govind was able to turn in the hotel from a rotting business into a sustainable one that attracted customers from all around. A business that he and his family could finally call home.

A Chance to Rise

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Elizabeth, NJ

I interviewed Govind at my house in North Jersey. He seemed very excited to tell me the story of his first managing job, as he had learned a lot of the skills that he still uses to this day in his career. He also showed a shed of sadness as his family was no longer close together. I could tell that even though he was in a rough position then, he really enjoyed his life back then.

Decade: 1990s
Rating:
Recorded by Damodhar Thota on June 4, 2019
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