Posts Tagged Plans
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.
So last Tuesday was my every other week D&D game night, which I’ve already posted about earlier. During the session I got the table to agree to give Gamma World a try for my next campaign. Generally we just play in the traditional D&D High Fantasy setting, but Gamma World is a complete change, it’s a Science Fiction/Fantasy type world set after a massive global apocalypse has struck the Earth. Now the world is known as Gamma Terra.
So I’ve decided to set my campaign in the blasted and flooded remains of San Francisco, since I’ve lived there and we’re close enough that my players will all have a good idea of the surrounding area as a baseline. Thanks to the apocalypse that has torn apart the world, I’ll get to play with it in all sorts of interesting ways. For starters, I’m going to play with global sea levels, which might actually turn San Francisco in an island. This Map is a lot of fun to play with to get an idea of what raising sea levels could do to the immediate area.
Now I want to do lots of other things. Like the Giant’s baseball stadium might become a bloody gladiatorial arena. Market Street might become the new harbor/docks area. I’ll get to people the city with all sorts of interesting and twisted mutated lifeforms. Massive living plant creatures in Golden Gate Park that hate Meat Bags? I’m picturing a somewhat benevolent dictator that rules the city either from a palace inside the city (maybe convert Civic Center and City Hall?) or from Alcatraz (which might be under water ruling it out) or from Yerba Buena Island, I’m not sure about the details on him yet, but I think his wife might be a giant arachnoid creature a consummate schemer and plotter. I’m thinking I might make Angel Island either the home to some crazy mad scientist, or a penal colony, or both. The Golden Gate Bridge will likely become just two tall towers in the opening of the bay. Maybe inhabited by a tribe of gargoyle like creatures? I think the Muni and BART tunnels will have to possess some sort of dangerous threat in their depths, and maybe from the collision of the worlds, and construction since the Big Mistake, there have been more tunnels dug. Maybe some sort of Frog/Mole hybrid creatures in the depths of the city? Maybe they would be some sort of slave underclass. There could be an Over Town and an Under Town that way. There’ll be some sort of city guard, or enforcers for the ruler of the city, but I’m not sure how I want to twist them, some sort of Zombies or other undead? Also I think the city and area will be somewhat feudal in nature, there will be the ruler (essentially a king) and then an aristocracy of some kind with Lords and Counts and Dukes, Knights, and whatnot, and then a merchant class and peasant class and likely some sort of servant/slave class too, but I haven’t picked a system I want to bastardize or mimic. It’ll kind of be up to the players how much they want to embrace or this system. The nobility will likely have small holdings outside the city core in the surrounding area, a Count of Oakland (gotta give it a Gamma name though) and the Duke of Marrrin and the Duchess of Sand Bruknow. I think you get the idea…. Or maybe you don’t…I’m not sure I do yet.
The potential is really limitless with this setting.
I’m picturing the starting point of my campaign, and I keeping coming back to the first scene being in a bar. That’s a tried and true classic starting point for many RPG Campaigns. But I’ll give it the Gamma World twist. I’ve already pictured much of it, it’s called the Loose Screw, and it’s a brothel/strip club owned and staffed by robots, androids, cyborgs, and other artificial intelligent lifeforms, but open to all. And it’s possible that the campaign won’t start here, but I think it will have to be a location that comes up at the very least in the campaign. I like the idea of starting here though, it keeps popping up in my head.
I need to sit down with a map of San Francisco, probably in Photoshop and really define the boundaries of the remaining city, and what is just dilapidated ruins and wild zone. I’m picturing a massive wall around the main city core built of rubble and debris from the rest of the city. I think there’ll be a fairly high level of Omega Tech (futuristic gadgets) within the city itself.
Anyways, I just wanted to put all these ideas down somewhere for once. Maybe putting them out there will let new ones generate. Also, I’d love to hear suggestions on other tweaks and twists that can be made to the iconic city. Especially from anyone that has maybe already made their own conversion of San Francisco into a Gamma World setting.
Mondays are my Friday here. That is to say my regular “weekend” days are on Tuesday and Wednesday. It’s also the day that I have affectionately named Memo Monday, because I’ve had an entire week in which small and large operational issues or updates might have come up that need to be addressed. Generally over the real world weekend Saturdays and Sundays I don’t have the time to write them up and distribute my sage words of wisdom to my….people (I’m not supposed to call them “minions” anymore).
My staff as a whole has a love/hate relationship with my memos. That is to say, some of them love memos, and some of them hate them. When I first got here, I tried a more face-to-face approach. That being the first time I had information that needed to be conveyed to all of them, I went around and talked to them all in small huddles. And it took forever! So I quickly changed over to sending out memos, a practice my predecessor used sparingly. In my first 6 months here I sent out more memos than she sent out in 2 years.
I enjoy writing memos oddly enough. I put a little bit of my personality in them. Sometimes throw in a little joke or word play. I once even put out a memo right before I left on a week long vacation to let them know there would be no memos that week. That one still tickles me a little. Memos are also the easiest way I have to convey a message to all 14ish of my staff rapidly and ensure that the same message is transmitted to all of them (sometimes the same message isn’t always received by all of them though). We don’t have the ability to have daily, weekly or even monthly staff meetings. Usually a departmental meeting happens every 2 or 3 months, but it’s kind of a big deal to schedule and since people come in on their days off or outside of their normal 8 hour shift, it involves a lot of expensive over time.
Sometimes my memos are just updates for everyone, sometimes they’re policy changes or reminders, sometimes they’re scolding (when the entire department needs a scolding) and sometimes they’re encouraging (when the entire department has earned it). And considering that when I got here we didn’t have a consolidated binder of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) my memo binder has become the closest thing we have sometimes. SOPs for the entire department will be my project this winter I believe. Proper procedures and policies are essential for smooth operations, and my goal is that if my entire department dropped dead tomorrow someone could come in, read our SOP binder and be able to run this department and train replacements.
Aside from memos, I love writing and designing new operational procedures and systems. In my first 2 weeks here I created an excel spreadsheet the revolutionized the way they balanced their cash and credit card transactions each evening. Using a 10-key adding machine? Really? In 2010? Have you ever heard of Excel? And despite initial resistance, my people shudder at the thought of doing it the old way again, and my newbies can’t even imagine it. I’m confident that it will be my longest lasting legacy on this property. Today, I got to roll out an entirely new procedure to hopefully revolutionize the way we handle our lost and found, and I’m super excited about it. It’s quite a bit more involved than our old procedure, but I hope it will be far more efficient and effective than the old system (otherwise what’s the point?). I used Google Docs for the first time for this project, but I think it will fit exactly the roll I need it to. I’m not one of those people who thinks every problem can be solved by technology. I try to keep things low-tech whenever appropriate. For example, even if each and every member of my team had a corporate email account, I probably wouldn’t send out my memos via email. I’d probably still print them out and post them. But there’s a reason that we’ve developed all this technology that exists in 2011. It makes our lives easier and solves problems or makes lower tech solutions are less efficient at.
I enjoy this process of streamlining systems and procedures or designing new systems and procedures so much that I’ve often considered the possibility of leaving daily operations and becoming some sort of “hired gun” type consultant for hotels, that comes in and builds effective operational procedures and systems. It would just make my Venn diagram of Nerd and Hospitality overlap that much more I think. And when you think “consultant” you just think money too, and less weekend work.
So I already posted one of the campaign ideas I’m working on for my next bout as the DM at my weekly D&D table. D&D is traditionally set in a genre that’s called “High Fantasy” like Lord of the Rings, but that’s not the only genre available with this game. Gamma World has been around for a long time, but I haven’t ever really been aware of it until recently when they updated it and released the latest version for the 4e rules set. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic future in which Earth, now known as Gamma Terra has been torn apart by a global catastrophe, the genre is called “Science Fantasy”. Instead of having a well crafted mace and shield, you might be using a mangled parking-meter and a hammered stop sign strapped to your arm. You could be sporting a good old cross-bow, or you could also be holding a futuristic laser gun, just depending on what you’ve been able to salvage from the blasted waste land. Instead of playing different races, elves, dwarves, halflings, humans, etc…. you play weird and twisted mutants. You could be a mutated sentient tree with a computer for a brain, or and alien cockroach, or someone who looks mostly human but shoots fire from his hands. All sorts of crazy fun mutations await the characters, cause that’s not even touching on Alpha Mutations and Omega Tech! That’s just the reader’s digest version, here’s a link to the Wikipedia Gamma World article.
I bought the starting box set, and just enjoyed looking through that an picturing a campaign so much that I went out and bought the two currently available expansions. After drooling over the core book for a couple of weeks, I passed it off to our Main DM to see what he thought of the system. Mainly, will the table be interested in playing it, and what does he think of this modified system. I really think MainDM is one of the smartest guys I know, he just hasn’t done a whole lot with that smarts. That said, he’s really good at looking at a game, any game and picking it apart down to the skeleton, really good at understand the mechanics of a game just by reading the manual. He gave me a tentative nod that Gamma World is something that the table might have fun with, so I’m likely going to run with this campaign idea before any others. We’ll probably at least give it a good test drive. If it’s a hit then I might just run with it for a while. And if we don’t end up using Gamma World for a long haul, I think I might still find some interesting ways to integrate aspects of the game into my next campaign.
Campaign Name: Gamma World: San Francisco
Setting Synopsis: It’s been 153 years since “The Great Mistake” and much of the world is still a blasted wasteland where civilization is all but unheard of. You’ve all grown up in this world of radiation, savagery, hideous mutations, and strange technologies. You’ve all grown up and lived most of your lives in FranizCo, a small city owned and run by a mostly benevolent dictator the Highlord Protector & Proprietor Arminger whose family has ruled the area with an iron fist from the island fortress Traz since the days immediately after the Great Mistake. FranizCo and the immediate surrounding area exists in relative peace, the one glimmering light of civilization in thousands of miles. Every day is still a struggle against the chaos that rules just past the city’s rough walls and polluted shores. Adventureres are needed to gather supplies and recover hidden treasures of technology of the many worlds. Darkness gathers in the east where barbarous tribes of mutants have heard stories of the glimmering jewel that FranizCo has become and they’ve started to become organized under a new and mysterious charismatic leader.
Now, I’m still relatively new to the Gamma World setting, so I haven’t even started to pick out monsters or really get into the nitty-gritty details of my campaign, the monsters they’ll face, the NPCs they’ll encounter, but that’s the broad stroke of what I have in mind. I’m also considering raising the global water level (global warming on steroids? Or something even more insane?), which I would likely take the water level high enough to turn San Francisco into an island. In which case Alcatraz might no longer be the seat of High Lord Protector & Proprietor Arminger, because Alcatraz would be under water, but Angel Island would still be poking out…. Also the name is up for changing, I just stole a name for the time being from “Dies the Fire” so that I would have an easy reminder of the type of character I’m envisioning the bastard to be.
I also think it might be fun to mix in other elements from other Sci-Fi fiction into Gamma World. What happens when the TARDIS lands on Gamma Terra? Will the Doctor help or burn the planet so it can start again?
Also MainDM and I have some concerns about the CCG element of the game. Part of the 4e rules involves the use of Alpha Mutation and Omega Tech cards, which are hard to really explain. Basically on top of dice and figures and a character sheet, you also have a small deck of cards which represent some crazy genetic mutations your character has and some awesome futuristic technology that you’ve scavenged from the wasteland. The main set comes with a deck of cards that your entire table can use, but none of us really want to make this a heavy investment, but at the same time, we dislike not having all the cards available to us to give us the full range of customization available for the game. MainDM and I have talked about some proxy options, but surprisingly, there aren’t a lot of pirated or disreputable sources available for the game that would let us accomplish this easily. It could be the ultimate turn off for us on Gamma World, but it might not, none of us really want to make a couple $100 investment in the game quite yet. It would have to be really fraking awesome for that to happen.
The other day I horrified my fiance with a Nerdom overload at lunch as I elaborated on what should be our Zombie Apocalypse plan. I think it’s only responsible for us to have one, just like an earthquake plan or what to do in the event of pod-people. First of all, I want to know that if I get infected and become a Zombie that she’ll love me enough to shoot me twice in the head. I would do the same for her if it came to that. Because I love her that much! Being a Zombie is just no way to…unlive.
There are other rules to consider. If the Zombie Apocalypse comes, we don’t go looking for friends and family in the midst of a hot zone. At least wait until the initial out break dies down and until you’re well armed. If they can’t last that long, it won’t do them any good if you get infected trying to save them. First order of business, get supplies and fort up at a suitable rendezvous location. Home Depot and/or Costco are good choices. Even better if you can find them in the same shopping complex.
Weapons are essential. Most people think a gun, and I won’t deny that a good boom stick is going to be helpful, but ammo is going to get scarce fast in the post Zombie outbreak world. Same pretty much goes for chainsaws, you’re gonna run out of gas eventually. You need to be prepared for when you run out, even better conserve the consumable resources and use what don’t run out. A good sword or axe is important, but remember to get a face guard of some kind, splatter is dangerous when fighting Zombies. And remember, you light a Zombie on fire, it isn’t going to die right away, it’ll be still be mobile until the flames destroy the muscles, so while it might seem tempting, the blow torch is not a good device in the midst of an attack. That’s a much better defensive weapon. Vehicles are good, but you run into the consumable resources issue again, and they need to be rugged, most civilian vehicles aren’t designed for running down human bodies repeatedly, and remember that often stealth is your friend.
Anyways….there’s an entire book dedicated to this “The Zombie Survival Guide” by Max Brooks if this is an area that concerns you as much as me, I highly recommend it. Don’t bother with the stupid CDC Report, that thing will just get you killed. I’m pretty sure they just want all of our lesser people to die so that it’s easier to save themselves. Also, I love AMC’s “The Walking Dead” TV series. Even if you’re not a big “zombie fiction” fan, I highly recommend it as a gripping drama….that just happens to have Zombies.
So my every other week D&D game was on Tuesday night. Had a great time, the troublesome DM has moved back to being a player and our tried and true main DM for the table has taken back over with a campaign that we had been taking a break from while we played Troublesome’s game. It was a great night, especially because coming back from the break, our DM had a special twist in mind for us. We had all started out this campaign playing 2 teams of characters that were fighting against an oppressive urban regime. We had all been complaining that having the 2 characters was a little tedious because we ended up only playing one of them exclusively for long stretches of time without the option to rotate characters. Our DM brought us back to the session and lead us into some sort of mad magical experiment, now our characters have crazy split personalities, only when one of the personalities takes over we do a full polymorph effect including gear changing. We get to control which character comes out after each extended rest, but there are also circumstances that can force the change, like character death. And we’ve been told there might be more personalities pumping around in our heads too! I think it’ll be very fun. The night lead up to us picking a fight with a clan of Orcs in the tunnels far beneath our city. When we realized that we had just taken out the gate guards and the entire clan was now on its way after us, it was time to bail. We knew that we couldn’t go back (there was a cave in behind us), and none of us took time to search for secret doors (my fault, I was the Rogue), so we just jumped in the underground river and all crossed our fingers that we wouldn’t drown! Anyways, it was a great return to form for game night, and very happy we made it.
I’m working on my own new campaign and I wanted to post my brief idea in progress up here. A lot of my campaign ideas borrow heavily from what I read and watch on TV, and I will give a lot of credit for this one to S.M. Stirling’s series of novels in the Emberverse, the first book being “Dies the Fire”. Anyways, here it is…
Campaign Name: Shattered Earth
Setting Synopsis: In the year 2012 the planet Earth was shattered by an event known simply as “the Collision” when in one blistering second this world collided with countless other parallel worlds. Through the Collision these parallel worlds merged with our own in unpredictable ways, bringing life forms both beautiful and terrible, and in many cases overwriting the existing geography that they collided with. In that same instant this Earth’s technology and science simply stopped working, anything that ran on electricity or combustion simply ceased to function. Planes fell out of the air, cars were left abandoned on the road, guns stopped working, and all the other marvels of the modern world became so much useless junk. In the place of this once powerful technology, came new gifts however, the power of the gods and the world bending might of arcane and primordial magic. The world was in pieces, even the portions that weren’t wiped away by startling new otherworld chunks, were left in shambles. Chaos swept the globe as alien peoples and monsters clashed with the stricken survivors of humanity. In the first year 90% of the Earth’s original population was wiped away either through the Collision itself or the chaos that followed. Now, 50 years later (The year 50 AC), some semblance of order has been restored to the world. Civilization is slowly taking root once more and an entirely new generation of people has grown up in this new world only knowing stories of the world left behind by the Collision. Humans have banded together with many of the peaceful races that came into the world with the collision, elves, dwarves, Halflings, and many more exist in this world, and in many cases live side by side with the remnants of humanity. However, much of the world is still wild and unclaimed, monsters roam the lands freely outside of the protection of fledgling civilizations. Some of the “Shard Lands”, the lands that came from other worlds and merged with this one are mostly unexplored, who knows what wealth and treasures might lie there. And of course, the ultimate cause of the Collision is still unknown.
Character Generation Rules:
- Ability Generation: 3d6. 3 qualifying sets. +1 qualifies. Or point buy.
I have another one in the works that is more Dark Sun/Dune/Stargate, but I want to polish that turd some more first….
Anyways, have a good day. Time for me to get ready for work!
I’ve been contemplating this endeavor off and on for a while now. The idea seemed just a little daunting, and there was always this question “How do I do that?” I understood full well the technical side of starting a blog. I decided to take a page from Chris Hardwick at The Nerdist and just start doing it.
So here’s the long and short of it people. I’m a nerd, a huge nerd, and damn proud of it. I’m of the opinion that almost everyone is a nerd about something. My boss is kind of a nerd about construction and design. I’m more of a nerd in the classical sense, I love Sci-Fi and fantasy, I have a regular D&D game, I play video games, and love techno gizmos and dodads. I can be shy and a bit of an introvert, especially in new social situations. On the flip side of this coin (I’m the coin) I work in a very public and social industry that most of “my people” aren’t usually drawn to. I work in the hospitality industry (specifically Hotel operations) and oddly enough I love it. I got my B.S. in Hospitality Management after working in the industry for almost 7 years and having grown up in that environment (my family owns a small B&B/Inn). At work, I’m confident, sociable, and outgoing with guests and co-workers. I find all of those things come easily at work, when they don’t in my personal social life, because my role in that environment is pretty set and quantified. I know what I’m supposed to be doing there and where I belong in this social environment.
So why did I start this blog? Well first of all, and I’m sure I’m not the first to express this opinion on the internet, but there are a lot of aspects to the Travel/Hospitality/Hotel Industry that lay people take for granted or are totally ignorant of (yes, using your debit card at a hotel or to rent a car might not be the best idea). Sometimes I want this to be a forum for educating the public, so that their expectations are more in line with reality. Sometimes I want this to be a forum for a mad and wild rant about some crazy thing that happened or the massive idiocy I perceive around me. And sometimes, I just want a fun place to come and write about nerdy things that I’m passionate about (like I’m dying to watch the newest episode of Doctor Who “Day of the Moon” right now, but my fiance made me promise to wait for her!). And occasionally the Venn diagram of “nerd” and “hotel” will warrant some commenting on, like how I can be totally stoked about a new spreadsheet I put together for my staff to use.
Now, you might be wondering who I am…in some cases you might know who I am because I shared this blog with you to get input and feedback…but I hope that I might attract a larger audience that doesn’t know who I am right off the bat. I’m going to try to remain anonymous through this process for a variety of reasons. The biggest of which is that I think I might be more honest with my audience if the majority of my audience doesn’t know who I am. So the names of people and places are going to be changed to protect the innocent and the guilty (and sometimes the wildly stupid).
Also I’ll go so far as to say that not every hotel (be they a big brand or small owner/operator) does 2 things the same way. However, I’ve worked at a variety of different sized properties at a variety of different levels of service, and I did major in this field. And I have friends that work at all different part of the industry, and I sometimes nerd-out over how policies and procedures work at other hotels. This is all to say, that I’m by no means the definitive word on my industry, I just want to express what I hope is my somewhat unique perspective. I hope to be able to offer “guest bloggers” eventually with their own perspectives, answer questions and comments from readers that might be either in the industry or consumers of it (we call them “guests”). I really don’t know where this is going long-term. Right now I’m just taking it one post at a time.
And this is one.