By Jane Bokun
After years of watching exciting hotel related sitcoms, I decided that maybe I’d missed out on all the goings on in the hospitality industry. It is thought to be an excellent career for those who are over 50. Not only that, it might be fun.
I became a Holiday Inn hotel desk clerk a few years ago and here’s how it went for those thinking it’s easy and contemplating the work.
I arrived and was immediately given the night shift. I was slightly afraid, because there were no security guards or police, but I wanted to try it. I thought surely it was fun.
As a hotel front desk clerk, I checked in guests and served breakfast. What I didn’t know was that I did the bookkeeping for the day. If I were negotiating my contract, I would say that is a deal breaker. Me and math? No comprendo. Did I mention the pay was $9 per hour?
The job also requires you take calls from guests and book them, distribute room keys, collect payments and learn to work a really complicated hotel software package.
“All of this and making breakfast?” you say. “Yes,” you will believe you died and went to hospitality heaven.”
Hotel front desk clerk positions typically require at least a high school diploma or an equivalent. They also have a period of on-the-job training upon hiring to become familiar with the specifics of the hotel they’re working in. How much time did I have to learn everything before I was pronounced ready to work alone? Two weeks. Then there was a huge craft beer convention in town and that was my first night alone.
I’m not going to lie, I made many mistakes that night, not the smallest of which was agreeing to taste shark semen craft beer.
The next day my supervisor approached me with a manila envelope saying she needed to see me. Needless to say, I quit.