| Complex Art Essay
I recently completed a fascinating internship at a Korean hotel. During my time of employment I worked in a range of different positions and learned a lot about different aspects of the hotel’s management and corporate culture. I also got to see the delivery of services in person (and indeed participate in them). I had a ground level view of the delivery of services and the expression of the hotel’s management culture. I saw how the institution was constructed and what underlying assumptions and prejudices kept the structure in place.
I’m a big believer that management is a complex art. I think it involves a lot of angles relating to competition, performance and commitment. Certainly, in my experience at the hotel I discovered that managers had to deal with a lot of competition. We were hardly the only hotel on the beach and we were constantly monitoring our competition to see how they were performing. Our prices and services would change depending on the successes and failures of our competition. I really think that the quality of the hotel’s services and its reputation reflect the type of management a company has. Good managers have to be committed to the success of their company or hotel. They have to come to work with a sense of pride in the work they do. If they don’t, then everything will simply fall apart. And the “troops,” people like my self on the frontlines simply won’t be loyal.
This is an important point. In the case of my hotel, my managers knew that the loyalty and morale of employees was key to the success of the whole operation. If people felt they weren’t treated with a basic sense of respect, they would pass that on to the |ers. That would be disastrous. In order to establish a sense of family and reward, employees were given big discounts at the restaurant and at other hotels at the same chain. Managers were open and honest with employees about how things were going in a business sense. Voices were rarely raised and people were told when they were doing a good job. There was even an employee of the month program that gave rewards to people who had done an exception job that month. These things kept people motivated and moral high. You could say that the managers constructed the employees.
Our |ers appreciated the high morale of the employees and the work managers did to maintain this. Our clientele was mostly young Korean couples on their honeymoons. They enjoyed getting a good deal on packaged activities and socializing with people like themselves. They wanted to go on vacation but they didn’t want something too remote or alien. They still wanted to eat kimchee in the restaurant, for example. And who can blame them? Kimchee is a nutritious and delicious meal. The clientele was young, professional, but not especially wealthy. They also were not too demanding and rarely complained. Most would come in the summer to stay for five or six days. On average they would spend about $500. They received many discounts and most of the deals were arranged through travel agencies.
During my time at the hotel I worked in three particular divisions. The first was at the coffee shop where it was not easy to get respect. People think of baristas as little more than machines; they are used to coffee machines. The shop was in the foyer of the hotel and was usually quite busy. I worked six hours a day, five days a week making coffee for |ers. There was one other employee, an older lady who smoked a lot. She often didn’t work very hard, so unfortunately I had to pick up her slack quite frequently. This aspect of the job was especially pleasant. We were permitted a 10 minute break every three hours. There were a lot less |ers in the late afternoon. At this time I was known as a coffee shop employee. Later, as I had been fairly successful in the position I was promoted to work as a Front Desk Officer. This was because I was told I had good people skills. This work was longereight hours a daybut a bit more pleasant. There were more opportunities to do problem solving which is something I enjoy and hadn’t really experienced while working at the coffee shop. I worked usually besides three other employees. For this job I was given two new suits which I was to wear. I was also trained to perform some personal hygiene activities which I hadn’t known about before. This not only improved my confidence but led to better job performance in the long run. This I felt was my most productive time in the hotel.
Following a stint at the front desk I asked to be moved to the banquet hall where there was a girl I liked. The banquet hall was a step down from the front desk, but a step up from the coffee shop. The hotel occasionally catered to conferences by Japanese dentists and during the conferences food had to be provided. In this capacity I worked as a waiter for the hotel. Once again my uniform changed; however, I was still on point and had to be very friendly and respectful towards all the |ers. Since I am generally this kind of person it came pretty naturally to me.
To many people simply working in the industry is a way to pay the bills but have no real appreciation for the pleasures of the business. I often think about it this way: what kind of job is better than one in which you help happy people make good memories. Our hotel in particular catered to honeymooners. A honeymoon is a very important and memorable moment in many people livesits not just another vacation. If we do a bad job, it is almost the same as the marriage getting off on the wrong foot. This is definitely something to avoid.
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