Everything has some advantages and disadvantages. When you just in the process of choosing what you want to do you need to consider both to avoid disappointment in the future. I have already listed my 10 favorite things about working in hospitality. Today, I will share the challenges we face.
Working long shifts.
There are many industries where you work 8-17 and enjoy your weekend off. When you decide to join hospitality – forget about it! Regardless of department you will have to work weekends and long hours. Yes-yes, even in administration.
When you work in hotel operational departments like Food & Beverage, Front Office or Housekeeping, you have crazy shift. In the Emirates I would start at 7.20-7.40am and finish at 9-10pm while working in restaurants. My New Year’s night shift was from 8am to 11am and then 12pm to 4am next day, working for breakfast at 7am.
Prepare yourself that in a hotel you are no longer male or female – if guys carry a table, you go and carry another one too. No one cares that you legs are about to fall off after 12 hours of running, you need to keep going.
So, to conclude, you need to expect long hours, lots of physical work and constant tiredness.
When you don’t work, you still work.
You must be accessible on the phone / Wechat / Whatsapp 24/7. No one really cares if you are on vacation. There might be a moment when you’ll be called up at 4am for a question that no one can answer but you.
There was a countless number of times when in the middle of the night I was called to go to a hospital or to handle a situation with Russian speakers involved. It is impossible to just turn your phone off for the vacation time, because at some you will feel bad.
When you work in a hotel, you need to be ready to come out to work any time of day or night, still check your emails and chats during vacation and forget about hassle-free weekends.
I remember times when I told my best friend that our job is pretty great as we don’t have that many responsibilities as, for instance, doctors. The worst we could do is serve cappuccino instead of latte or French fries instead of mashed. But then, working more and more in hotels, I realized that I was wrong. So, just imagine, latte is actually seafood served instead of chicken to an allergic person. By a little lack of attention to details, sometimes you might even kill a person. I saw so many times, where a guest could have forgotten to inform us about allergies, or there was a tiny bit of the product and what happened later.
Working in hotels is all about people. It is natural that you like not every single person you meet in your life. Likewise, not every single person will like you. However, imagine that you have to see to deal with it every single day. Complaints, disrespectful talk and shouting can happen. It can upset you quite a bit, sometimes even demotivate.
In hotels you deal with a lot of pressure from not only the guest side but also colleagues. In order to make a guest experience happen, there are so many departments and people involved. You need to coordinate and pay a closer attention to details. This is stressful.
However, if something fails, the guest experience is also failed, which leads to guest dissatisfaction, complaints and stress again.
Expect to handle a lot of stress and pressure when accepting an employment within a hotel. Learn how to deal with it and best ways to handle or avoid in advance.
You can’t settle down.
At some point of time you look around (with social media making it simple) and see that you high school classmates have all settled down, married with kids. They live in their own apartments, driving cars, go for a vacation somewhere in Turkey or Greece. And then, you look at you life and think why you can’t have the same. The answer is hotel people cannot. You get addicted to traveling and exploring. Settling in one country can seem like a failure for you.
You live in a rented apartment or a hotel room, ride a bicycle or metro as it does not make sense for you to buy a car for a year. You vacation is actually visiting your home country in make cases.
But you eager for new discovery and emotions, every move that you make seems to be just a step in your career. You just are never ready to come back home or settle down anywhere.
Hotel industry is a great place to meet people and enlarge your community. But honestly speaking, usually those friendships will not be long term. All expats come and go. Within two years you can see that everyone you met on arrival is gone. You hang out with people for the time being but as soon as you move to another step, you find a new community and the previous friendships slowly fade away. First, you don’t feel good about it and even get upset, but after some time you easily let it go.
The same thing happens to relationships. It is extremely difficult to keep a relationship when you work in a hotel. Firstly, due to the long working hours, unlimited shifts and inconsistent schedule, you simply can’t arrange time to spend together.
Secondly, moving around the world together is also quite challenging. Many companies avoid hiring people in a relationship to avoid conflict of interest. Finding a job in the same location is also difficult as the chances are not high that both can find what they want. In this case, one of the people either has to compromise and give up their career or break up is on the way. Some try to handle long distance relationships but this does not work out quite often.
As a result, I have seen quite a few single people in mature age, who are completely focused on their careers.
Hospitality is a highly competitive industry. Right now in Beijing there are 97 luxury hotels. Imagine, how tough it is to work… You have to really differentiate yourself to be make sure you are known. You might say, why should I care about success of the hotel as long as I am employed and paid. Well, I can tell that it is all about pressure. In Sales you will be pressured to get more business in, in F&B and Front Office you will be forced to do upsell, make sure the standards are high and service is impressive.
Good thing is you will probably always be able to find a job…
Keep in mind – hotel industry is not well paid until Head of Department level. Do not expect amazing salary (unless you work in Switzerland). Depending on the country it might be a little higher in some places and a little lower in other places.
I worked in Indonesia, where the standard salary was around $250, plus service charge which differed month to month from $100 to $200. Well, you get benefits, which might compensate for part of the salary. However, if your only goal is to earn as much money as possible then probably hotel industry will be disappointment for quite a long time.
It is similar to the friendship part, but I look at it though the working perspective. In hotels people come and go really fast. In two months, I watched a team being fully changed – four people resigned within a month, and now 7 new people joined. Can you imagine that?
New people means a lot of investment in training. And I am not talking money… It is time, effort and lastly money. You train them for a year and they go, which means you just wasted it all.
In the beginning you can deal with it, but at some point it becomes really annoying and you just stop putting that many efforts into it.
You will not believe it but your health is highly influenced by being constantly on move. As soon as your body gets used to one climate and you move to another place, it gets stressed out. Weak hair and nails, depression and some pains can be the result of your moves. So you need to carefully consider destinations.
Apart from that, if you are a person like me who grew up in a place with four seasons, having only one summer season throughout the year might be challenging –both physically and mentally. Obviously, you adapt after some time, but to start it is not easy.
Some of the places, can be challenging for people who have dietary restrictions. As I have quite a sensitive stomach, I had quite a few issues in Indonesia, where everything was spicy. Even non-spicy food was spicy!
As I said everything has a good side and challenging side. Depending on how much you love your job, you might just ignore all disadvantages and be happy. However, this post was just about sharing some real life stuff to not get your hopes too high. I have not got a great experience in hotels yet, but I can already see how many people leave after certain time, just because their expectations were too high.
How do you feel? Would you like to work in hotels? What challenges do you face in your jobs?