Rear View Mirror

A Look Back

3 years have come and gone since I was laid off by my former employer. An employer that never laid off people because they were considered family. Not even after 911 did this happen. But that was with the old owners and the new owners did not share this same sentiment.

It has been 3 years since I have set foot in a theme park.

However, this past weekend, my family gathered to celebrate my sisters birthday. It was a strange feeling. Old instincts kicked in. Always go to the furthest gate on the left or right to enter because the lines are usually shorter. Watch the crowd flow to find the bubble to get through the people.

I was also made aware of what I had lost. The discounts on food. Free admission. The family bond of working an area. You and your team versus the masses.


Work can be tedious. I sat in front of the computer and entered line after line of data. Then I heard the office door open and some scratching came from the hallway. I looked up but saw no one. I looked back at the spread sheet and then at my paperwork.

I want to finish this so I can leave on time today. Please! Please whomever this is do not bother me!

More shuffling. Then I noticed something swing by my open door. Like an old, brown palm frond. Now I had to get up.

As I approached the door way, I saw a long brown object move towards the door then swing around. I peered out and saw my friend Ashley. Ashley and one large South American anteater. I bent down and it came up to me and I began to stroke his head.

I smiled and Ashley and I joked around for a few minutes.


birdyNow I really know what I miss.

Sure my job had some awful times. Boring meetings. Politics. Decisions that made me apprehensive.

But it was not like most places of employment.

I was given the ambiguous mission of making things perfect.

It was very fast paced and then long periods of time that I had to be my own boss and decide what needed to be done and then to carry it out. So I could work on my computer and then just stop and interact with the animals.

puppyOn the Road

To be honest, I do not think I will ever find any place of employment like before. I doubt I will feel the biting cold on my face and see the outline of the stumpy, tiny men in the darkened room. I will probably never see their heads turn and against the light make out the outlines of their beaks. See them slowly waddle out of my way. Yes, I doubt that anytime soon I will be making my way through a room of Emperor Penguins. But at least now I know what working for a good company feels like and how it feels to be part of a team. To see people so engaged that they want to do extra to make the customers day better.

I will get there again.




About 1stpeaksteve

Welcome to The Side Wedge! The Side Wedge is a product of the journey through life of Steve Zima. Former professional surfer, a writer, surf coach, and hospitality manager. This is a collection of travel tips, motivation, and stories from my past. Finally, I offer surf coaching through The Side Wedge. Please feel free to contact me with questions if you want to improve your performance today! Thanks for reading!
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11 Responses to Rear View Mirror

  1. Jessica says:

    Yes, you will! What a cool job, Steve!

  2. Jess says:

    I feel like you wrote this for me. As of Feb. 6th, I’m laid off of my job. I’m sorry to leave the people I work with, but the place is so toxic that I can’t be too upset about leaving and seeing what life has in store for me.
    Thanks, Steve!

    • 1stpeaksteve says:

      That blows Jess. It is sad when you love the people but the job environment goes south.

      My new job is not so grand by any means. The bad thing is that I was hired by my friend to help him out so I feel stuck in a losing battle.

      Well, I wish you luck and for an improved work environment.

  3. Hello Steve! I’m so sorry you got laid off from such a cool job. I hope you do get an even better job very soon. I loved the pictures. You look so happy with the animals. Good Luck and all the best! 😀 xx

    • 1stpeaksteve says:

      Thanks and thanks for replying to a newbie on your site. I do not know how you work, write, and then interact with people on your sites.

      Maybe you have a clone helping you out! Ha ha!

      Enjoy your weekend…I am sure it is like here. Very windy and temps are dropping. A cool few days a head for the Sunshine State.

  4. What job would you ideally like to be doing Steve?

    • 1stpeaksteve says:

      Good question!

      I am split these days. I love writing and the hospitality industry. I also like coaching surfers.

      I have done a very wide variety of tasks. Today I was thinking of how I was one of a few that investigated accidents at the park. I did safety, I trained people, solved guest relation problems, and even evacuated roller coasters.

      Maybe I need to combine them!

      Safety and Creative Writing Manager/Operations & Quality Control.

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