Archive for category Career Planning
So in my previous post I mentioned that I had been job interviewing lately. This last Wednesday one of my prospective employers and ask me for my salary requirements. I hate this situation quite frankly. I don’t want to undersell myself, but I also don’t want to spout off some ridiculously big number that’s going to totally turn them off. Put on the spot I gave them a number that was a little bit less than my absolute bottom dollar. They said it was a realistic number and said they would be back in touch later that night or the next day. I figured the one saving grace in this situation is given that the hotel is part of a major management company brand, their corporate HR wouldn’t let them pay me less than what their Standard Operating Procedures say is the “minimum” for the position.
Wednesday crawls by for me as I rehash the 45 second conversation over and over again. My wife and I meet up and drive to dinner with her parents to celebrate her mother’s birthday. Shortly after we arrive (late) my beautiful new Droid RAZR starts to vibrate and the sound of the TARDIS coming in for a landing starts to warble from my phone. I whip my phone out at the table and seeing the caller ID know instantly that it’s my prospective employer. I slide my finger across the screen to answer it and nothing happens. The touch screen has frozen! I start to stab my finger at the screen trying to get a response and verbally threaten to throw the damn thing against the wall as the call continues to ring and finally goes to voicemail. By this time I have committed to restarting the phone and as it reboots I excuse myself from the table to go listen to the message and hopefully return the call.
The call was everything I hoped for and more. I had trouble not bursting into giddy laughter when she told me the salary, because it was substantially more than what I asked for. I officially accepted the position on the spot, and happily so. I knew that the other property I had been interviewing with wouldn’t be able to beat the number, because of their size and location. So she spelled out the “offer” for me over the phone while I did a quiet little happy dance outside the Red Lobster.
Finished with the call, I strode back into the restaurant. As I rounded the corner to my family’s table I put on a mock “defeated” look on my face and slumped my shoulders. Just to fake them out. I didn’t let the charade last long and the dinner turned from a pure birthday party to a partial celebration of my new position.
Today my dear wife and I went clothes shopping. My current property is a big resort, and fairly informal in dress code. All the managers where khaki slacks and polo t-shirts. This just won’t fly at my new employer. I had two suits already hanging in my closet, which I had worn on my two interviews, but I’m going to be wearing a suit every day to work now, and I don’t get supplied with a uniform. And my selection of ties and dress shirts was also woefully inadequate. My wife and I share a philosophy that you don’t dress for the job you have, you dress for the next job you want. We put that philosophy to work on this particular trip. This was an investment in our future.
Thankfully the Men’s Warehouse was having one of their big sales. Went I bought my last two suits it was “Buy One get one 50% off” this time it was “Buy One get One Free”! It was quite the experience, but it’s fun clothe shopping when you’re buying nice stuff, have the money, and you have someone walking you through the whole process. My wife quite enjoys the sight of me in a suit, so despite the final price tag on the excursion, she thoroughly enjoyed herself. She’s also quite looking forward to the prospect of me wearing a suit to work every day.
In the immediate future we’ll need to move. The commute from where we live is just unmanageable for more than a month or so. Even with the strategic use of mass transit, it’ll be horrendous really. However, we were already thinking about moving as we’ve completely outgrown our old place. This new job just changes where we’re looking, and makes it a bit more pressing.
My new hotel besides being fancier, is more than 10 times bigger than my current employer, it’s part of a massive management company. The salary reflects that, my staff is growing tremendously, it’ll be very challenging and exciting. It’ll finally make it worth going off and getting a BS in Hotel Management! And put me on the right track to further advancements. And considering about 3 months every year I’ll be the graveyard manager on duty and this hotel is in a major metropolitan downtown, it should give me plenty of blogging material. So long as I remain discreet.
I’m going to try to not make this another lame post about how I haven’t been posting anything. I meant to write something on Tuesday, but between watching Alcatraz and The Finder, going to lunch with the wife, and the weekly loads of laundry, I just really couldn’t be bothered. Thursday was occupied with other endeavors, I’ll talk about that later.
I have this to say this about Alcatraz. J.J. Abrams is giving us another show with Jorge Garcia, an Island, a narrative tied together with flashback, time travel, AND A GODS DAMNED ISLAND! You’re killing me Smalls! We haven’t seen the big red sphere yet, but just wait it’ll be there. That all being said, I’m enjoying the show quite a bit. Sarah Jones the show’s lead is not only quite attractive.
But is quite a great actress so far too. The show has called for a good amount of range from her so far and she’s pulled it all off as far as I’m concerned. I also love that they’ve taken pains to set the show in San Francisco which has a very iconic look and feel to it, and they’ve done their best to match that. I hate it when shows are set in places I’m familiar with and are quite obviously filmed nowhere near that place, usually on a sound stage for “generic city block”. I’m looking at you Charmed! THAT IS NOT SAN FRANCISCO! Not only that but I don’t think anyone involved in your set design has ever even been to San Francisco! Aside from the fact that I thought Journeyman would have been an awesome show, I loved it for all the great location work too. I know San Francisco probably isn’t a cheap city to shoot in, but if Nash Bridges could make it work, then I don’t see why others can’t.
The show also has a much heavier procedural element to tie it together than a lot of J.J.’s other shows, except maybe Fringe. Yet the mythology is thick enough that I think it can really grow some legs.
I don’t have too much to say about The Finder yet. It’s a nice twist on your typical crime procedural. I was intrigued after hearing Hart Hanson talk on the Nerdist Writer’s Panel about it and Bones. It hasn’t evoked a visceral response from me like Alcatraz has though. It certainly has its share of sexy in the show, which helps. Come to think of it, I actually found myself watching more of The Finder than Alcatraz, but I think that’s because, kind of like Bones it’s a light little jolly rancher of entertainment and I can watch it while doing other things. Alcatraz like Lost makes me feel like I really need to be paying attention to what’s going on to catch everything. Sometimes that’s just too much work in my entertainment. Like Hart Hanson said on the panel you gotta try and sum up the show like a little old lady living in a trailer, and “I’m gonna watch that show about the guy that finds stuff.” If I’m not feeling like being intellectually challenged.
Work has been a little nuts. 2 days before I was supposed to leave for 11 days for the wedding and honeymoon, one of the property owners walks in and says “We’re breaking ground on the new pool on Thursday.” It was Monday as he was saying this. And not even early Monday, like Monday afternoon. What ensued was a mad dash for me to get the ball rolling on my staff making all the necessary calls to notify our guests that would be affected by a fairly major endeavor. This is supposed to be a 3 month project. That’s a lot of phone calls people. Not only that, but update the announcements on our website, confirmation letters, Facebook, and send out massive email blasts to our guests as well. Guess who found out that our email server can only send out 500 messages in an hour before crapping out? That’s right, the hotelnerd. Suffice it to say I was still coordinating stuff on Friday morning as I was also at the venue prepping for the wedding.
For this and a variety of reasons, I’m glad that I had already started quietly looking for new employment within the industry. I actually just had my second interviews for two different properties yesterday. I’ve got my fingers and toes firmly crossed that one of them pans out….and also that I don’t break my streak. I’ve never had a second interview for a job and not gotten at least an offer. My wife has been working double time to make sure I don’t get my hopes up too high. Guess what? They’re freaking high.
I still love most of the aspects of my job, my staff (generally), the property (gorgeous), my fellow managers, my immediate boss, and the guests I get to work with (even the crazy ones, they give me blogging material after all), but the strain of working for a complete an utter madman (the property owner not my GM) has finally gotten to me. It’s kind of scary how common jokes about hiring a hit man have become around the office. All of the managers have been suffering together. The pool project is just the easiest to explain example of the madness this man puts us through. Oh, and let’s not forget that shortly after my return he made the 6-year-old daughter of a guest cry. True Story. I’m not the first manager to be jumping ship either, so I don’t feel that bad.
So even if these two prospects don’t pan out, I’ll still be out there looking. Time to get while the getting is good. Besides a new hotel will bring all sorts of new material for all of you reading this. And isn’t that what it’s all about?
This isn’t exactly a new revelation for me, but I don’t want to be a Front Desk Manager the rest of my life. Only recently though, I’ve started to actively contemplate the myriad of possibilities arrayed before me. Given the climate of today’s job market, I figure I need to have a pretty good idea of what my goals are now and be looking for the next move. I’m still quite happy at my job, I’m not in a position where I’m dying to leave or hate coming to work every day. I still regularly learn new things in my position. However, if I wait to be restless and miserable in my current position, the act of trying to find the next move will be even more torturous, it would also make it much more tempting to leap at the first opportunity and not the best one.
The next logical step for me is a position as Assistant General Manager or a Director position at a property of at least equal, but preferably larger size to the one I’m at currently. I’d be fine with a Director of Rooms or Director of Operations type position, I think those would be a good next step. Also I’d love to get some experience in Revenue Management as that’s becoming an increasingly important position in the hotel world. The ultimate goal there is to end up as a General Manager somewhere. At the moment I prefer working at an independent (non-brand) property, but that could certainly change as advancement opportunities tend to be a bit more obvious if you get in good on the corporate ladder. The goal for me is to stay in high-end resort type properties as I just prefer the atmosphere at destination/vacation properties over city, business or convention hotels.
I’ve already started looking, somewhat passively, for this next move. It started because I took a guest complaint at my current job one day, resolved the issue for the guest, gave him my business card, and the next Monday I had a voice mail from the guest wanting to discuss a GM position with me. He was on the board for another local property that was looking for their next GM and was so impressed by his brief interaction with me that he wanted to see my resume. I got as far as the phone interview. Several weeks later I heard that the property had a new GM which was a bit crushing at the time. The entire scenario had gotten me excited to think I could skip straight off to a GM position from my current position. I knew at the time that it would be a giant leap forward, but the possibility provokes all sorts of dreams for me. I’ve since kept an eye out for other positions. My fiancée and I have discussed relocating to get out of the area that we both grew up in, so I’ve cast my net as far off as Seattle and San Diego at this point. I was briefly being considered for an Assistant GM job in San Diego, but such a massive relocation is somewhat of a deterrent to employers in this job market if they have enough local qualified candidates that can potentially start much sooner with less hassle. It’s still good practice at interviewing (just on the phone) and I feel like my resume is pretty well tuned too.
Beyond looking for my next job, it starts getting a little murkier when looking at the big picture of my career path. There are several options none of them necessarily being mutually exclusive to one another. I could theoretically go after one, two, or all three in some capacity.
I haven’t discussed this a lot here, but my family has a small Inn in the local area that my dad currently runs. My grandpa built and opened the place, and it’s always been a distinct possibility that I could succeed my dad when he’s ready to retire and be the 3rd generation Innkeeper. It’s not a sure thing because my family isn’t the sole owner of the property, but I think by the time that opportunity presents itself my resume and my family will make me a near shoe in. This possibility is fairly distant on the horizon (10 to 15 years) so I have to actively pursue other opportunities in the mean time.
My fiancée and I have already started discussing investment plans for the future, so that hopefully we can reach a point where we have sources of income other than our own labor. Right now the feeling is that we would like to own actual businesses instead of just investing in the stock market. One of the possibilities we’ve discussed is buying a small lodging property of our own, one that I could theoretically go and run if need be, but our first preference would be to hire management staff to handle day-to-day operations while we focus on other investments, our own jobs, or whatever. This is a little pie in the sky at the moment, as we need to develop some capital and likely other investments first, but I think could be a great plan for our long-term future. This could prove to be a really great asset if down the line I end up running my family’s lodging establishment as well, especially since it might allow us to invest in the family property and not just wait on what inheritance I might receive even further down the line.
Another possibility that I’ve been actively considering is developing my own business as a hired consultant for hotel development and management. We’re in the midst of rather hectic expansion plans at my current property, and after sitting in on a number of expansion planning meetings, I’ve realized that this could be a viable path for me. It’s a scary path though. It would at some point leave me being my own boss, which is nice. It would also mean less security and having to really develop my social networking skills and self marketing which I haven’t always been the best at. It could be really fun an exciting though. And to be realistic this could also become a pretty descent side business if I end up running my own property and/or take over at my family property. I know my dad has done some consulting for people and companies, and I could probably turn that into a nice little side business for myself. I like the idea of being able to go to a place and just focus in on particular issues or a particular problem, solve it or finish the project, and then move on to the next challenge.
It feels good to put all these thoughts out into the universe. My fiancée and I have discussed them all quite a bit. I don’t expect the universe to fulfill my hopes and dreams just by putting them out there, I know there’s a lot of hard work ahead. No one is going to make any of these things happen except me. I feel like the more I talk about it, and think about it, and work on it all though, the more likely I am to be prepared when an opportunity presents itself to move forward.