A Disturbance in the Force…

The past two months have been hell at work, I would argue some of the worst months in my whole career. The hours have been crazy long, the people have been horrible, being bothered on my days off, having my days split because no staff, working 8 days straight takes a toll on a person. I am mentally and physically exhausted, I am beyond burnt out. My New Director of Front Office didn’t last 3 weeks, the Director of Housekeeping who has been there 7 years put his notice in and my front desk supervisor (senior desk clerk) put her notice in. Why? Because working in a hotel right now sucks, I get yelled at for 8-12 hours straight for every thing. Last weekend it was because of the rain and not knowing if a private event venue would have their ADA entrance opened for wedding guests.

The lack of staff is the big issue at any hotel right now. Many people have left the industry because the lack of support. The restaurant industry has been in the spotlight during COVID, hotels have been forgotten about. I can’t even begin to tell you how bad it is. I have worked 12-14 hour days, standing the whole time, no breaks (not even to use the restroom, I have had 2 UTIs because of this). I have made beds, cleaned rooms, cleaned up coffee slips, crap (actually crap both human and dog) from the lobby, I have been threatened, swung at, spit at, and get screamed at from the time I walk in until the time I leave. I was told when I agreed to the front desk position in August, it would be only until March and I would be back at the concierge desk full time. Had I known what I know now, I would have never agreed to this. I know they are trying but when you get a reputation that a higher up is not that great to work for, people aren’t going to put in their application, (especially in a big, small town like Savannah). The other thing is why would you take a job that pays crap $10-$12 an hour, crazy hours and stress, when you can get $15 sitting at home doing nothing. I don’t blame anyone for doing this, I wish I had done this a little longer. I do wish if your job was offered back to you and you turned it down, you could no longer get unemployment benefits. Everyone says they should get paid a living wage, absolutely. I have always thought housekeepers should make at least $15 an hour. Cleaning a room in under an hour is hard and those ladies bust their asses. Savannah in general is on the low side of wages for hospitality. I was looking at wages recently and it hasn’t increased all that much in 20 years. For example when I started at my first hotel job 23 years ago I made $8.75. I then moved to a higher end property I started at $9.25 with benefits. The rate for a front desk agent is $9-$13 an hour, so the pay hasn’t increased very much at all. The hotels have increased, as well as the demand but the wages haven’t gone up in 23 years. With that being said the talent pool isn’t here, most have moved on and have no desire to come back to an industry that left them to fend for themselves. There were no huge fundraisers for hotels, hell we are barely acknowledged when people talk about COVID ramifications. I have been on the front lines since last May, hotels got shafted and are still getting shafted because all the restaurants are getting the publicity. No one cares if a hotel doesn’t have staff, oh they should not have booked so many rooms, just clean them. It isn’t that easy, you still need people to do this and we don’t have people. It makes me mad they aren’t trying to keep those employees who are leaving. They think people like them grow on trees, if they did I would be back at the concierge desk full time.

Which brings me to this past week at work. When my partner in crime put her two weeks in. I was devastated and still am because I feel like I am the only person who sees what trouble we are in with her leaving. She knows how to do everything and with her leaving that will be left to me to do. I will also be senior desk clerk which terrifies me because I want to go back to the concierge desk so bad with this, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I am tired and I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel anymore. I have put in applications not in hospitality and for entry level positions because I am so burnt out.

Yesterday, I got a call from a fellow concierge in Charleston. He always manages to call when I am at my low point. After this week I was there. Apparently it is bad but not this bad up there. Where we don’t have anyone coming in to interview, they get people who show up 25 minutes late and then say they need a coffee before they can do the interview. He told me I sounded defeated and depressed. I told him yes on both counts. I told him I want to go to a desert island, with my easel and only human contact would be the cabana boy who brings me an endless supply of Mai Tais. He thought that was really funny. It gave me hope, and the much needed pep talk I desperately needed. I joked with my husband, he felt a disturbance in the force and needed to pull me back from the edge.

Today, my second day off in a row (shocking for sure). I treated myself to a pedicure and a haircut. I wish I could buy one of those pedicure chairs, I would never leave it. I am still pondering what I am going to do, whether to stay on the sinking ship that is hotels or get off on a life boat and restore my sanity. I guess what I really want it to be appreciated, I want compensation for busting my ass. I am also going to start saying no. No, I am not going to work through my break. No, I am definitely not working the night shift, especially since I will be senior desk clerk soon. Hopefully, my petty rebellion will get results.

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