Working In A Hotel Story
A Hotel Story
At the age of thirty-nine in the year 2008 I applied to a banquet server job at a Long Island hotel. Having twenty-seven years of experience in the restaurant business I felt if I got a job at a local hotel that would give me job security with benefits. I got my foot in the door, went through the training and fifteen weeks later had to walk away. It was the worst hospitality job I ever had.
Before I share details of my experience I can say that I did meet a FEW awesome people who were excellent workers and while I worked there watched two of those excellent workers receive praise for ten years of hard work, received a new title and received their ten year bonus. Being a dedicated worker and working your ass off does pay off.
The higher up management were great. They interviewed me, treated me with respect and would sometimes walk through the banquet kitchen area to say hello and touch base with ALL kitchen employees. In my opinion an old school mindset treating people with respect, keeping moral up and verbally voicing appreciation. They never made me feel as if I was below them or ever got the vibe as if they felt they were above me. That is probably why they held the position that they did.
There are so many different levels of management in the hotel business.
The second week I worked as a banquet server, the banquet manager who hired me announced he was leaving to work another job. The banquet staff fell apart. I knew that moment I missed an opportunity to work under an awesome guy. The banquet managers and assistant managers hired to fill the position were not qualified for the job. They held no personal touch. They acted as if they were above the banquet staff. Because they were not qualified their attitudes toward staff was not very nice. The negative body language like rolling of the eyes or calling you by the name "missy" just did not sit right with me and others. The managers would speak with banquet staff about other staff members. Talking shit with staff about other staff is a big no no and creates a losing team. Just because you have a college degree does not make you the best person for the job.
Another level of management are Captains. Captains are assigned a conference, party or special event and they delegate responsibilities to staff and they are the go to person for the person who booked the event. I would have to believe that there are honest Captains out there but the Captains I worked under were dishonest and stole from staff daily. I worked a handful of huge events and each event had dozens of staff members working the room. I would see the person who booked and paid for the event speak with the Captain and give the Captain hundreds of dollars to be split among all the staff members. This one dirt-bag Captain would give a few selective staff members a few dollars and keep all the rest for himself. The staff he tipped out would tell the other staff members and the staff members would be hurt and get angry. The staff that were lucky enough to get a $20.00 side tip were not happy either becuase they knew that the Captain received hundreds of dollars to split among the team but instead of splitting the money he would pocket it. He was such a *&%^$*# dirt-bag. I'm sure he got his due justice when the economy crashed. Just like all businesses hotels were hit very hard too. Up until five years ago hotels always needed to hire staff. That is not the case anymore. Of course you hear things through the grapevines and the last I heard was the hotel banquet staff were begging for jobs. When I worked there the hotel hired outside help almost daily because they could not hire enough staff to cover all the shifts.
Back to stealing and being a thief.
I could not believe the stealing that went on in the corners of the banquet stock-room. There was a dry stock-room filled with condiments. Jelly, sugar, ketchup, sauces, salt, pepper and the like. Some weeks the hotel would get a delivery of granola bars, rice crispy treats and individual bags of chips and pretzels. Usually packaged food would be used for seminar breakfast and lunch tables. At the end of a shift the banquet staff would break down the tables and the food individually packaged were put back into the dry stock-room. When the staff would leave most of the staff would grab handfuls of the packaged food and place it in their coat or pant pockets. All staff had to leave the building through the security office and that required pressing a button to be let out just like all staff had to be rung in through the security office. It amazed me how oblivious management was but then management didn't really care either. All they cared about was getting through their shift and looking good.
Getting Paid Was A Hassle
I gave it a go. If I did not try I'd still be uncertain about working in the hotel business. Working at the Long Island hotel was not for me so I gave notice but I gave notice for two reason. The second reason was not getting paid for the jobs I worked. I asked to speak with management and when I did I gave two weeks notice. They asked why I decided to leave and I told them that this field was not for me but I also told them that I was not being paid the hours I put in. They disagreed and told me that I did not know how to read my pay stub and they were giving all the jobs they could to keep me happy. I then said if I am getting paid for the work I do, I'm working way to hard for very little money and it's not for me. The management wasn't happy and I was told by other staff members that they were talking about me with them but by that point it made no difference to me because I was leaving anyway.
OK, time passes, I move on and in February 2009 I receive in the mail a check for one-thousand dollars. WOW! I forget the exact amount but I do remember it was almost one-thousand dollars. Again, WOW! I now wonder if I were getting paid properly would I had stayed and moved up the ladder. People say things happen for a reason so I guess it was not meant for me to stay working at the hotel.
Outside Help Suck
On the weekends the hotel would hire outside help. They would hire servers from companies to work huge events. The hotel needed to hire extra help but the hotel was paying for crappy workers who did not care about the quality of work they did. Of course not all treated the job like a joke, but I'd say at least 75% of them did.
My experience with most of the outside help was not very good. Most were not United States citizens. I'm a team player but not the outside help. Most showed a pathetic example of being a quality worker. I lost count how many times the non-citizens would tell me I had it made and I get everything handed to me. These people were the same age as I with the same opportunities but for some reason they felt because I was caucasian and female that I had it easy. I write this because that is exactly what many of the MEN would say to me. Why waste energy with an answer or reaction? I would just walk away and they got more mad. I could not wait until the outside help would get back on their bus to go home.
The Little People
I had a friend ask me why I did not step up to the plate to inform management about the money stealing and the food stealing. Because of me being new to the job I felt my words would not been taken seriously. I felt I would had been looked at as a trouble-maker. One thing I've learned in life is that in many situations people don't like being told the truth. I don't know why but I've learned speaking the truth can also direct a lot of negative your way unless you are out of the way. Like now, I finally have an outlet to share this story and if someone from that hotel sees this, I don't give a rats ass. If I was asked now what I saw or heard behind the scene, I would have no problem speaking my mind. It would it be a pleasure to tell the high ups who hired me exactly went on with different levels of management and all the stealing I witnessed.
I decided not to use the name of the hotel because writing this content took time and effort and I don't want to be forced to take it down. I don't care if someone puts the pieces together and figures out who I am, so I'll write who I am below. I've wanted to share the experience of working in the hotel for a long time and felt now was a good time.
My name is Michelle Cesare, I live in Long Island, New York. Please feel free to comment below. Thanks for reading.