Saturday, August 6, 2016

Lessons from the Hotel Staff

Isn't it funny how the lessons we think we will learn are not the ones we actually do?  I just finished my first trip with my new job.  It was local so I didn't have to fly anywhere, but I still stayed overnight at the hotel. After more than 10 years at the same job, doing something different was definitely a learning experience for me.

As I was anticipating it, I thought I would learn lessons in how to be more professional and organized and accommodating.  And I DID learn all of those things (creative ways to say No without saying No made my brain work overtime).  And I have sooooo much more to learn in those areas (if y'all haven't noticed, I'm more comfortable in jeans and my converse than in a blazer and heels).  But I also learned some things I didn't expect.

Hotel banquet staff are some of the hardest workers I've ever seen.  They arrived before me and stayed after me.  And one of my days was a 16 hour one!  They stood all day and didn't show any sign of being tired, while, I, on the other hand, was whining all day about how much my feet and back hurt. 

They served with joy.  Seriously.  Not because they were just getting a paycheck--you could tell they enjoyed what they did.  They smiled at me with every request I had.  As they got to know me, they anticipated what I wanted before I ever even had to ask.  They didn't cut corners.  They did everything with excellence.  And they liked each other. 

The other thing that struck me was how well they were led.  There has been little turnover in an industry that typically has a high one.  As I was talking to the Banquet Manager, I was struck with the similarity of his job and the one I am leaving in the church.  He "gets" it.  Different industry, but still about the people.  He found some amazing banquet captains who lead their teams well and are quick to jump in and serve right along with them. 

Being able to make note of names and know they were getting tips was the highlight of my time.  One of the servers found me after she has received her envelope to hug me and thank me.  I didn't get to see what she received, but I think for her, it was just as important that she was noticed and appreciated. 

Isn't that what most of us want? 

So, the job was good and I learned a ton, but these people who served us touched me in a way that I hope will change me forever.  I pray my path gets to cross with Pedro and Tim and Felix and Theresa and Lucio and Jenny and Paula and Ignacio again.

And even if it doesn't, I get the privilege of being able to pray for them now that I know them.

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