We had the good fortune of connecting with Aaron Halbmaier and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Aaron, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Work life balance. In the industry I work in, hospitality, typically work life balance was achieved through late night hangouts and sleeping late to account for those late nights. Allowing yourself to release from your mental connection to your job was much easier before taking the jump to a salaried employee over an hourly.
The ability to walk out of a building and have no further consequences of that businesses success on my shoulders made it easy to separate and have more time to have out-of-work rest and relaxation.
As my professional career has evolved along with my family, finding the time and ability to disconnect from work has become an added stress.
What I can say with overwhelming certainty is: having a family has begun to teach me how much more important it is to have that work life balance, and that I need to actively pursue the changes in my routines to allocate time away from work (mentally and physically) to my family and equally important, myself.
As I have begun the process of redirecting my priorities to have a better balance, it is becoming more apparent that my job will still function without me being actively engaged at all times and the idea that I am what makes the cogs move was a mere illusion I created to help myself feel more validated and needed. The area in which I was really needed and is important to the health and functionality of my family, is with them and for myself on a personal time level.
I have always been appreciative of what my employers have given me on a experience level and opportunity level, but I can see more clearly now that those “personal and mental perks” I get from the raises, bonuses, promotions can’t outweigh my home and family life. Those opportunities must be more thoroughly thought out with a heavier weight on the out-of-work, to make sure I am not just a good father and husband, but a great one.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The life of a Restaurant Manager is not always considered one that is of high regard or sought after. Long shifts, late nights, constant employee and guest engagement that can be demeaning and even demoralizing. Despite the negative aspects in which you get to work against each and every day, there is one underlying aspect that keeps me where I am and striving to continue doing what I do: People. I love people. I have made amazing friends, both life long and short term. I get to use my time at work to make others enjoy their time and experience by opening their eyes and minds to what we provide. I get to see people’s behaviors and attitudes change for the better on a daily basis. I see and work to increase peoples’ joy in their day.
I have moved through the restaurant system from a busser all the way to a General Manager, and have done it with a drive to make things better for both my coworkers/employees and guests. Though I cannot say that it was not without some help. My wife has always been supportive of my career as long as it was still something I enjoyed and made me happy, as well as some select individuals that I had worked with previously and knew my work ethic and character and sought me out for bigger opportunities later in life.
My path to where I am today was definitely not an easy one. I dealt with the lowest of lows when I was fired, to the one of the highest you can be on a restaurant level. For as much as I love people, I have become wise to those who are not there for your benefit, but their own and are easily and quick to turn the tide against you. This is not a one time learning aspect, I am still learning each day and every person is different. What I can say is that if you don’t put too much stock in someone else’s opinion of you and are true to what is real and accurate, you will come out better in each encounter. Your personal mindset and ability to see the positivity in everything and every interaction is paramount to being continually successful.
Even though there are those that will create obstacles for you without you being able to foresee them, they pale in comparison to those that are truly grateful for you efforts and keep that Love for people at the forefront of what makes this industry a great place to work.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend was coming to town, I would have to take them to Urban Putt. Urban Putt is relatively new to the Denver scene, but adds a great bar and restaurant with an 18 hole putt putt course inside. While you think of putt putt and food/drinks, quality is always a question, but what makes Urban Putt special would be the ingenuity of the course in its’ design that implements’ things from around Colorado as well as some fun imaginative holes as well. The bar program far exceeds what one would expect as well. We would be drinking barrel-aged old fashions and playing some mini golf. Urban Putt would be a day in itself. The other time would be jumping around to a few local breweries and hitting a golf course for a full 18. Can you tell I enjoy golf? Outside of these, which would take some energy, we would be just relaxing around at a Rockies game (if there was one in town) or taking the opportunity to get some time with them and my family, low key.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My story of personal and professional growth has to be dedicated to my Wife. After dedicating my work life to one company for over 13 years, I was let go, completely devastated. Though my expulsion came from my own error, I felt very much like I should be reevaluating what I was going to do and if I would be successful or prepared for anything else should I change course. My wife, then girlfriend, supported me and was the most promoting person of my value as an employee and human being. She helped with my finances as well as constant encouragement and at some points, tough love. Even when things didn’t seem to be opening up for me, she continued to show me love and support on levels I couldn’t have then imagined. I can say with ultimate certainty that I would not be where I am today without her by my side.