Someone asked me the other day how I got started in this fabulous business, the truth is, I can remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday.
Like so many other people that I have come to know over the many years that I have now spent in the hospitality business, I joined the ranks quite by accident.
I was, an apprentice electrician, working for a small electrical contracting firm, only about 16 people in the whole company, owned by two men who had themselves worked for another company and had chosen to partner up some years before I found them and joined the company.
We did both residential work, repairs, new homes, you name it, as well as bigger jobs, apartment complexes, mixed use, warehouses, the whole spectrum, and I really enjoyed what I did and the people that I worked with. But, this was also at a time when the demand for new projects took a turn for the worse and as one of the lowest men on the good old totem pole, I was laid off as a result of a lack of work.
I had been laid off before, always went out and found another way of making money until business picked up, and that was my plan this time as well.
I scanned the papers and saw that there was a new hotel opening, and I had worked one summer at a VERY small motel, with adjacent restaurant, at the front desk. Easy I figured, so I called and managed to get an appointment.
I showed up early, as usual, met the then Executive Assistant Manager for the hotel, and went through my interview. When we were done, he advised me that I didn’t have enough experience to warrant the front office position, however, he did need one more bellman, and he liked my attitude. Somewhat reluctantly, I accepted, and I was asked to show up a week later.
I showed up as requested and spent the next week in training and orientation, along with all of the other guest service staff, and I didn’t know it yet, but on opening day, when we welcomed our first guests, I would be hooked.
I had no sooner started assisting guests with their bags, welcoming them to the hotel, wishing them well on their departure, and on and on, when I came to the realization that I loved everything about this job and this place, it was love at first sight (well sort of) and I was hooked.
I spent every day after that trying to learn more and more about this amazing business, I shadowed people, I cross-trained; I volunteered to assist in other areas – anything, to soak up more and more of what it would take to learn everything I could about, and to one day be a successful member of, the hotel business.
Over the years, I have quite literally worked in every capacity there is in a hotel, with very few exceptions, where specialized skills are required, and I can honestly say, I love this business as much today as I did in that first week at my first hotel. It is, far and away, the best business to be a part of.
We should all be so lucky as to find the job that ignites and harnesses our passion . . .