In 1984 I was working at the Hard Rock Café at Times Square as the Assistant General Manager. Imagine that! Here I was just a 25 year old kid running the Hard Rock in the heart of New York City every single night.
The Hard Rock was the hottest place at the time and one of the busiest restaurant locations I have ever seen. There were never less than 200 people waiting on line from three o’clock in the afternoon to two o’clock in the morning.
This job was all day, every day; just absolutely packed. As a whole, this experience was a defining moment in my career. I knew I was in the middle of something special and there was so much to learn from this it.
To give you a little history, this was Isaac Tigret's first Hard Rock opening since London and first since he and his business partner Peter Morton split up the rights to various world locations. So, this meant being busy and I was usually working five or six nights a week from around two o’clock in the afternoon until about five o’clock in the morning.
I was so busy with my day-to-day duties that I had very little time to realize that this concept, the whole Hard Rock experience, was far bigger than even one of the most happening places in all of Manhattan. I didn’t see the future national chain and a chain of hotels. I could have been a part of that!
I wonder what would have happened had I just taken a few minutes to think. I could have talked to my boss about the future. I could have gained a mentor. I could have had someone to help guide me through the early part of my career.
Now, we all know the premise of Breaking Bad. Walter White is one of the founders of Gray Mather Technologies, but he sells his stake in the company for $5,000 before it eventually becomes a billion-dollar conglomerate.
Then, of course, there’s also Larry David and his movie, Clear History. His character, Nathan, offends his business partner and agrees to have his shares bought out from their company that was about to release a new electric chair. A couple of days later, the company becomes a huge success and Nathan becomes the subject of public ridicule when he misses out on $1 billion.
What’s my point? In my situation, just liked Walter White and Larry David, I became too concerned with just working hard and looking at how the next job opportunity could get me a higher salary in the short-term. I didn’t think about the situation and how I could be a part of that future growth; higher salary, stock options, etc…the whole package! Yes, things worked out for me when I moved on to sports, but looking back, as a young person, wow- what a miss!
Always stop to think about the big picture!