Today I did something I have been praying about and struggling over for months (since January really). I put in my two weeks notice at work. I began working here November 21, 2011 and immediately fell in love with my job. I worked my butt off to learn everything I could about the industry and specifically the brand I was employed by. I took online classes on my own time, studied every bit of information I could get my hands on, made sure my guests needs were met and that they knew I valued their business.
Within three months I was made Front Desk Manager. I got my own office, and a ton of responsibilities…but no raise. I was told the raise would come when the numbers came. As I was already doing most of the managerial duties at that time, the money wasn’t an issue. Money was never the issue. The issue was being able to make decisions for the hotel and the staff to ensure a positive experience for the guests.
The numbers not only came, they flooded in. Sales doubled over the previous year and continued to skyrocket. At the end of October 2012 there were some major wildland fires in the area. We now had state and federal teams in the local area. At first the teams were dispersed amongst all the local hotels and motels, spreading the wealth, if you will.
Within 10 days of the start of the fire I had everybody they could fit in our hotel staying here. They completely moved out of three of the four other hotels and had as many as they could based out of here. I ended up with 94 firefighters, FEMA employees, state employees, etc. staying here. I worked my ass off for this group. I knew who was in what rooms at all times, who was working on which fire (up to five separate fire incidents), the status of each fire, and several other above and beyond tidbits. It was an ongoing joke that they got their REAL briefing from me before heading to the Incident Command Center where they were often quizzed on what I had already told them. lol
The over head team LOVED me. I developed a spreadsheet of the personnel staying here and kept it up-to-date. The Logistics Section Chief called me from his next assignment and asked if I could email him the spreadsheet template to use…he was now working Hurricane Sandy.
I still talk to several of them on a regular basis. They made it known to my boss that I was the ONLY reason they were at this property and that the above and beyond service I provided them was second to none. My boss hated the fact that the front lobby looked like a funeral home due to the number of flower arrangements that showed up several times a week.
I often would do laundry for several of the firefighters in the evenings. They spent 12 hours each day on the fire line…throwing a few loads of laundry into the hotel washer/drier a couple times a week while I was working was no skin off my back. They LOVED it and because I wouldn’t take their money they would buy me flowers and chocolate. I never asked for or expected payment, I saw it as a gift I gave to them. These men and women put their lives on the line, spent weeks at a time away from their families and friends…all I did was wash clothes and fold socks. Our property had an increase of more than $70,000 in room revenue for the month of October alone.
Not long after the fires were out, the pipeline crews moved in. Many of them spend the summers living in campgrounds and move in to the hotels when the weather gets cold. They had heard from others about the personal service provided and the great management (me).
In January we had an issue with a guest not wanting to pay his bill (over $1500) and he decided to use me as a pawn to get out of paying his bill. He used information from another source as well as completely lied about issues he ‘had’ while at the hotel and sent them to my boss in an email. Well, in arguing his case with his credit card company our boss had to provide proof of his stay, etc. On the registration card, whomever had checked this particular guest in did not have him sign the payment agreement, nor was his credit card preauthorized.
When this come to light I was taken in to the office and told that if he got out of paying his bill due to these oversights I was out of a job completely. Well…this princess don’t take shit laying down. I said that while I understood the implications of this man getting a free room for the length of his stay, it was not me who checked him in therefor it should not be me that was punished.
Well, let me tell you…this did not make the boss happy one bit. We looked up the records and there was the proof that I had not officially dealt with this man on ANY level except to take his initial reservation over the phone. The only other time I had any contact with him was off the clock (a few times a week I would sit in the bar and visit with various guests).
Within a week I was again taken into the office and told that ‘the owners’ (there are four owners, one of whom is the General Manager here) had decided that I wouldn’t be the Front Desk Manager anymore. While it upset me initially, I quickly realized that I was the one who came out ahead in this deal.
I did not loose any pay, I only lost the weight of the hotel resting on my shoulders. I no longer spent my days agonizing over ways to improve our steadily increasing customer service scores, responding to requests from guests past and future about concerns or questions, developing and implementing staff training, hiring and firing, scheduling, and the millions of other little things I did. I now clocked in at 7:00am and clocked out at 3:00pm and refused to take after hours calls.
The issues began nearly immediately when my boss realized that he had no idea how I spent my days. He had no idea the time, effort, and dedication I put in to my job which was now for him to worry about it. Several of my ‘regulars this summer were beyond shocked that I was no longer management but they made it clear that several things now made sense (lack of staff training, why I wasn’t available when they had an issue, and things of that nature).
As the complaints rolled in my boss knew he had bit the hand that fed him. He also knew that there was no way he could apologize and make things right with me. My heart was no longer here. I stayed much longer than I should have. I should have left immediately. Instead, I stayed because I love the flexibility, I love the interaction with my guests, and for the amount of ‘actual’ work I now did, the pay wasn’t bad.
The lack of appreciation has gotten to me. I have begun my job search but have found myself not very enthusiastically looking; probably because I have this one already and there is no panic. So today I put in my two week notice.
With tomorrow’s paycheck I will have all of my bills paid through October. I will also have one full paycheck and one paycheck for one week still coming. My next full paycheck will pay my November rent (my largest expense) and I am confident that I will find employment long before December. The recession missed this area of the country completely and right now it is an employees market up here. The cost of living is low and the wages are good.
I can get a job working at McDonald’s and start at the same wage I make right now. I’m not worried, nor am I above a fast food job. I will do what it takes to pay my bills (anybody looking to book a public speaker in the near future) and I will do so with a smile on my face.
I will blog more on the leap of faith this is for me on another post as well as a few more details of my current game plan.
Stay tuned boys and girls…we’re going on a ride, I just hope it doesn’t get too bumpy.