Nobu No More

So, I forgot to mention that I no longer moonlight as a part-time hostess at Nobu. I might have forgotten to mention that I ever did moonlight as a part-time hostess at Nobu. In any case I no longer work there. However, I feel I should share some thoughts about my experience while working there; rather, I should share some thoughts about a transitional period of my life while working there. To begin...

In the Spring of 2006 I graduated from the School of Visual Arts with an MFA in Computer Art. During the summer, I started looking for full-time work mostly in web design and the video editing sphere. I was having a really difficult time finding work that would pay enough to cover the cost of living in New York City and provide additional funding to my medical-school-sized student loan (just to clarify, I did not go to medical school). Every once in a while a freelance web/graphic design project would fall into my lap, so I decided I would hold off on looking for full-time work (since I wasn't successful at finding anything anyway) and decided to actually try to be a freelance designer. Well, the grace period of my student loan was quickly approaching so I needed to earn some quick cash, even if that meant taking a temporary job.

Well along came an opportunity to work at night as a hostess at Nobu. I thought, this will be a good job to have for a month to pay off my student loans plus I can still work in the day. Well, one month turned into ten. I could have had a baby in the span of my "temporary" job - Yowzaas! Anyway, after my first trimester, some time in December, I was honestly depressed. I had Pre Partum depression...and I wasn't even pregnant! Depression is the only word to describe my situation, though. I was working at a job that was not at all related to what I wanted to do, not to mention I didn't know what it was that I wanted to do, and worse I was no longer freelancing. Hostessing became my main source of income. I had spent $120,000 in educational debt to become a hostess. I could have easily held the title "Hostess with the Mostest...debt."

I decided that in order for my situation to change, I had to first change my attitude. So late one cold December night, after walking home from work, I made a list of the things I was learning while working at Nobu. It helped me understand that while I wasn't working as a designer, I was still moving forward in ways that I hadn't seen, and that I was still improving, growing, and gaining skills that I could use in any future job no matter what the title. Here is that very list:
"What I'm Learning @ Nobu"
1. When I become wealthy, I'll be generous with my money - I'll tip the coat check and hostesses $20 - they really need it (some have $100,000 student loans).
2. Be honest and fair with money and work. Example: splitting up the tip jar - if someone else isn't honest about dividing it fairly, then I won't get my share (and likewise, if I'm not honest, I'll be cheating someone else out of money).
3. It's important to be humble. No job is below you and you're not above any job. All parts of a company are crucial - whether it's the bus boy, chef, or owner. It's important to serve others (and serving is a humbling experience - especially when you seat a boy you once dated and his new girlfriend).
4. People are generally nice. Coworkers try to make a bad day manageable, customers say "thank you" most of the time, and bus boys always hit on the hostesses.
5. Celebrities are almost always shorter in real life. [I'm not quite sure how that one will help me in the future, but it was something I learned].
6. Sometimes we need to do things we don't want to do like walk across town in the cold to get to work, take a job that doesn't pay enough, answer the phones, and deal with questions we don't know the answers to.
7. If you're standing behind a podium, people think you know what's going on - that you're in charge in some way.
8. I know how to button and unbutton any kind of coat - whether it's your traditional plastic buttons, metal latches, leather ties, multiple zippers, snaps, or velcro. I love velcro! Also, when my future kids get cold, I'll have them warm in no time.
9. The impossible is possible! If you don't have a reservation, sometimes you can still get in.
10. Babies, toddlers, and kids always bring joy into a room.
11. King Crab Tempura with Honey Truffle Sauce is food of the Gods and is worth every 3,400 pennies -that's a whopping $34!)
12. Trust Heavenly Father. You may not know what you're doing, why you're doing it, or when it will end, but as long as you're doing your best and striving to live the commandments, he's there helping you, even when you're uncertain and your vision becomes cloudy. He's there to make sure we feel satisfied at an unfulfilling job, that we make ends meet despite our low pay, that we're learning, growing, and improving even when we feel like we're not.
13. When work is over and I get home late, it's a comforting routine of mine to read the scriptures and speak to God through prayer about all my concerns, worries, frustrations, and to give thanks for the blessings I have and the people I'm surrounded by. Scripture study and regular prayer are two peaceful ways to conclude a hectic day. They have the same calming effect on me as the King Crab Tempura.

While I may not be learning a computer skill or adding a job to my resume, I'm still learning invaluable lessons that are more closely linked to my happiness - perhaps more so than if I were to be drawing vector graphics or logging and capturing film.
I went on to work there many more months and met some really great people (and I don't mean the celebrities). It's funny because one year later I find myself back in the very same situation: looking for work in the summertime, doing freelance web/graphic design, still unsure about what I want to do, only this time I've had a little more success. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I still don't know if it's time for me to say good-bye to New York. There are many things I don't know, but there is one thing I do know - Heavenly Father has managed to take care of me when I couldn't take care of myself (and he continues to do so even when I haven't a clue what I'm doing).

One last thing. People frequently ask me which celebrities I've seen since working at Nobu, so I tried to compile a list of those that I "seated" I'm so disappointed that I never got to see Jimmy Fallon or Johnny Depp. Those are the only two famous people I would have gotten super excited about seeing. Instead I saw these people:

Heather Graham
Molly Shannon (she was absolutely nice)
Seth Meyers
Magic Johnson
George Lucas
Billy Crystal
Renee Zellweger
Kate Winslet
Axel Rose
Val Kilmer
Lenny Kravitz
Joaquin Phoenix
Ziyi Zhang (Memoirs of a Geisha)
the singer from Jane's Addiction
John Mayer
Seann William Scott (he was surprisingly cute in person and really friendly)
Tommy Hilfiger's daughter (she looked exactly like her dad)
Blythe Danner
Fisher Stevens (every time I saw him I had night terrors, he was in Short Circuit)
Russel Simmons
Adrianne Brody
Matty Damon
Richard Gere and wife (she was the prettiest celebrity)
Harvey Weinstien
Jake Gilenhaal
Henry Fonda
Charlotte Gainsbourg (Sara, she's in the 1996 version of Jane Eyre)
Mos Def
Justin Timberlake
Zach Braff
Chris Rock
Famke Janssen
John Krazinsky (Okay, I got a little excited about seeing him. Although, I would rather have seen Steve Carell)
and a myriad of models, CEOs, producers, directors, athletes, etc.

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Blogger Jacki said...

Couple of things. This is a really nice post! It made me feel good. I would have passed out if I saw Jake Gilenhaal (I love him!) and it seems like you are on the right track Lex!

October 08, 2007 11:54 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

This is a great and thoughtful post, Lex. I especially like numbers 1, 4, 5, and 10. You make-a me laugh.

Also, number 11 is a good example of your creative thinking that I love. Who converts dollars into pennies? But you do it because you know that converting the dollar amount to pennies makes a bolder statement. You could develop advertisements for sure!!!

October 09, 2007 12:14 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I think you should post this for each of these celebreties to see!
I would definitely send one to Jake Hoffman and any others you feel the need to send to. You would probably get an assistance to the celebrities job, for sure! Nice Post,Love MOM

October 15, 2007 5:30 PM  
Blogger Bilaeva said...

You are a wise woman, my dear Lexia

October 17, 2007 5:50 PM  
Blogger Rebecca the Smitten Kitten said...

I really like your post however you left out a part on how you found/got the job.

I'm interested in working there. Perhaps you could share a little insight :) thanks!

March 04, 2009 12:02 AM  

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