Monday, June 25, 2007

Afroditi - Venus Hotel

So I am still in Santorini. This is my seventh day in my new job as a receptionist in the hotel Afroditi - Venus. It's not nearly as luxurious as Mystique but it's more of my kind of hotel.

I work from 15:00 to 23:00 (without any exceptions) and so far things are ok. The difference (apart from the paycheck) is that things are more relaxed. Nobody expects me to know everything and the customers are more understanding.

There are the usual problems that occur in every hotel (mainly power shortages) but the way people responds to them is very different. For example:

Reception:
I'm sorry for the inconvenience but the power shortage is general in Santorini.
Guest of Afroditi:
It's because of the oveload of the system right? Oh well it will pass ...
Guest of Mystique:
What do you mean that the island has no powe? What are you doing about it? Where is your generator? I'm paying a lot of money to have a stress free vacation and this is not stress free. I want to speak with the manager, I want free nights, I'm sending a complain to Starwoods, Your service sucks.

Reception:
What can I do for you?
Guest of Afroditi:
I would like a taxi please.
Receptionist:
I'm afraid nothing is available at the moment. Would you like me to try again later?
Guest of Afroditi:
Yes please.

Reception:
What can I do for you?
Guest of Mystique:
I would like a taxi.
Receptionist:
I'm afraid nothing is available at the moment. Would you like me to try again later?
Guest of Mystique:
What do you mean that nothing is available? There arte dozens of taxis on the island, Surely you can get me one. This has never happened to me before. Your attitude is not up to Starwood standarts. Where is the manager? I wish to file a complain. I am not satisfied at all.

Of course they are right. Mystique is charging outrageous amounts of money. The salary is better and there are tips and commisions that might double your paycheck but I can't do what's required of me. At least not yet. Things are simplier in Afrodity - Venus. It's just a typical reception (exactly what I was looking for).

The most major screw up (that the reception is responsible) was the loss or more likely the missplacement of a guest's passport. It was a joint mistake and not something I did all by myself and the guest's reaction was the following:

At first when he realised that the passport was missing he was upset. He wanted to talk to the manager who told us to "Look for the damned thing. It's there somewhere" and then when we did discover where it went (some other guest had taken it by accident) and took it to his room he was relieved and said that things like that happen (!?!?). We also called his rep who said "Don't panic, if the passport is actually lost, we'll just inform the authorities and he will get a new one" (?!?!?)

If something like that had happened to Mystique, the manager would have cut me to pieces and threw me at the volcano. I don't know if the guest will let things pass (he probably doen't think of the world for Afroditi's service right now) but nothing very dramatic happened. So everything is ok for now.
I will post more news soon.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Good news + Bad news

I got laid of work in Mystique at 18/6/2007 and haven't been near an internet connection ever since then. I was completely stressed and unhappy at my previous job because it required experience that I didn't have. Let me explain. Mystique is a high profile resort. You can tell by the prices of the rooms (500, 700, 1500 per night!). When people pay that kind of money they expect service the likes of which you can only imagine. They expect to cought and everything will magically happen like plane tickets 3 hours before take off and dinner reservations at the coolest hippest place in Santorini on a Saturday night with only 30 minutes prior notice!

Other people (more experienced who have done this job for years) have managed to do that or if they fail they manage to cover things up in such a way as not to make the guests mad. These people don't accept "No" as an answer. I am not good at this. I can't cover things up and I have the tendency of being too honest and not able to deal with pissed off people. As a result I made mistakes. Small mistakes to be sure but in such a hight profile hotel they are unacceptable.

For example I forgot to notify the porter and the guest waited for his luggage 30 minutes, or I failed to book a certain cruise for another guest (because the cruise ship was overbooked) and then didn't notify him the same day so he assumed that it was my fault that he didn't go.

The thing is once a make a mistake I can't put it behind me. I think about it all the times and I worry so much on not repeating it that I don't concetrate on the job at hand and as a result I do something else wrong. I noticed that on my "good days" everything goes on fine and on my "bad days" I don't just do one thing wrong but many.

The manager (a very nice woman whom I would like to have as a friend by the way) got yelled at by the guests and then I got yelled at by her. I don't blame her at all. Like I said I didn't go anywhere (thinking that maybe if I got rested I would do better next day) and I didn't have any friends here to talk to and I was feeling really lousy.

I tried to keep it from my parents (my dad can't handle anxiety either. He had rocks in his kidneys because of it and had to be operated) but they figured it out. I was always the serious and composed child in my family and my parents (and myself) had expectations from me that I felt I couldn't meet. You are right that there is a time that you don't know what you wanna do with your life and you look for what is appropriate for you but that time is usually 18 not 28 like me. I feel that I am slow and left behind. My parents support me all the way and I mean both financially (I don't have the means to live by myself) and emotionally. Once my dad was feeling better he came to Santorini to cheer me up and take me home.

The thing is I really like Santorini. And I reaaly like working in the reception and if that particular position wasn't so demanding (it wasn't a simple receptionist they were looking for. They wanted someone who could be conciers, front office manager and guest relation personell and to be really really good at it) I would have been just fine. At least that's what I like to believe.

This new job I got is a hotel receptionist but it's just that. My duties will be to check the guests (register their passports in the system), check them out and give them their keys. Occasionally I will have to deliver messages from their travel agencies or call them or call them a cab or giver them a wake up call but basically that is that. No more running around. Today is my third day at this job. So far I haven't done a whole shift by myself because I am still a trainee but I will be on my own soon. My shift will be from 15:00 to 23:00 every day (no more working late because the day is too busy). I thought about this hard. On one hand I might not be cut out for this job but on the other I really like it here and I don't feel comfortable going home. I don't want this experience to be "one more thing that I tried and wasn't good at" so I quit. I have a clear mind thought. If I really suck at this as well then it's not the end of the world. I will simply come home. So in the spirit of "getting back on the horse once you fall" I decided to give it another try. It helped that the other woman who works there used to have my old job at Mystique's sister hotel "Vedema" and knew what I was going through and why I left (she did the same thing about a year ago).

To all the people I should have phoned: I'm sorry. I promise I will make it up to you. Lately I have been feeling really depressed and wouldn't know what to say if I picked up the phone.
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