Worlds & Time

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Why Work for a Hotel?

The last few months of not having a job has been really . . . damaging, catastrophic, miserable? One of those. Perhaps all of them.

It's given me an awful lot of time to just sit around and think though, and I've come to the problematic conclusion that I really don't seem to want to do any of the things that I'm applying for.

There really isn't an alternative here. I haven't had a divine flash of inspiration about what I do want to do but I've come to realize that I'd probably be miserable in the things that I am applying for.

This is creepy because I've been working for hotels for years, ever since summer jobs in high schools and I've usually had a fairly good time with them. I work with people well, I'm usually very organized and I tend to contribute a lot.

I know, that sounds like a line off my resume. I'll have to attribute it to the dozens and dozens of applications that I've filled out in the past few months.

I have to try to remember why I went to work for hotels in the first place and right now I'm drawing a blank. Maybe because I always sort of glamorized hotels as an industry. You cater to the rich and the famous after all, you get to meet a lot of interesting people, you get to travel.

Well, I was dead wrong about that last one. The only people that travel are the sales staff: the people that understand running a hotel least. In fact, that seems to be where all of the things that could make our profession interesting go to die a miserable and painful death. Bonuses, incentives, vacation time and the ability to speak authoritatively about the hotel's occupancy.

The only people that I hate more than sales are those sad members of the HR department: may they burn in hell. This is partially an affect of my arrival and departure experience at all of the hotels that I've worked for, so I'm sure in this dry spell this is accentuated. However, where I can at least see the services provided to a hotel by a Sales staff (however small those services might be compared to their soul deadening costs to the hotel) I can't quite see the net positive benefit to the HR departments that I've seen run.

For people that are supposed to be finding the best and the brightest workers for the hotel they do their job amazingly poorly.

Right now I'm taking a fair slew of personality inventories (I've also just been informed that I've been showing too much empathy on them; apparently the hospitality industry is looking for people that won't care if you come to them with a problem) and they've been a complete waste of time.

I'm sure half the people that fill them out do what I used to do: put in the answers that they expect that you want instead of what they really feel and now you've already set the precedent of them lying to you during the interview process and you haven't even met them yet.

I suppose it does stand to reason that most people in HR departments do so poorly because don't really understand the jobs that they're filling. Managerial or front line, they have a very limited idea of what the job entails and what the qualifications should be.

I suppose that this leads me to suspect what my main problems will be if I ever am in charge of a hotel: I'm barely going to respect my Sales staff and any HR department working under me is going to find itself doing real work.

But I'm not there yet. I'm still looking for jobs at the bottom of the barrel. The sort where I smile politely and never say anything bad about a boss that I never see or can barely stand and try to convince people that the reason that I zone out is that I find most front desk work about as challenging as watching paint dry.

So I'm still looking for a job. Still looking and trying to convince myself that it's worth it.

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