Thursday, March 31, 2005

Hotel Restaurants-The Reliable(un) Worker

I was just reading a blog from someone who had just gotten fired from his job for a series of events. I felt I had to add this personality trait to my study of Hotels and Restaurants
He got fired from a dishwashing job because he had failed to show up for work about 4 times due to "other" commitments.

At some point or another, someone is bound to hire someone like this. He or She will be lucky to get hired, because most employers are sometimes in a hurry to just get someone in the door. Big Mistake!

This to me is the worst type of employee that anyone can hire.
A.) Someone who has several "activities"

Unfortunately here you can read-high school or college student. I used to work for a very fancy college in Southern California and besides the workers that were classified as full time (Who's numbers and abilities were very limited), we had to hire "Student Workers." The whole idea is not too bad when you consider that by taking on a job at any school position, you help yourself as a student by earning money for tuition, books, or other "goodies." As the employer of an area that utilizes students as workers, you are at their mercy, because;
  • Their schedule is very limited-due to classes
  • During mid-terms or finals-They all either call out, or just quit on the spot. Worse they just do not show up to work.
  • If there is a college team and they are playing a home game, forget about scheduling them for work.
  • There are exceptions to this rule-I did find a lot of them that were hard working and reliable, but when it came time for finals, they could not miss them-Very understandable.

You may be thinking right now, "What about attendance policies, department rules, etc."- Of course they apply to them as well as any of your full time employees, However, when you are taking on a side job just because you "want" to-Not because you "need" to, the prospect of getting written up or terminated is the furthest thing from your mind. This is partly because most student employees can get another position within campus just about anywhere else (Remember that the employer may just be trying to get someone in as fast as possible). Then again there is always next semester.

I was a student once. I also took on many other activities, but knowing that there was not someone to take me in if I lost my job, made me appreciate a little more the people I worked for. I do recall a time I was written up for failing to show up to work, because I had gotten too drunk to even pick up the phone to call. I got lucky then, because it had just been about a month since I had taken on the job. (1985)-Westin Bonaventure. It never happened again. I also took on a second job-I can't even remember why!...I could only do it for about three months. 1987-Beverly Wilshire

B) Workers with a second job

I can understand when people have to hold two jobs because they have families to support or because they may be trying to get out of debt, save money for a house, etc. How can there be others who come to beg you for a job and as soon as they walk through the doors they are the first people to ask to leave early? "We were so busy at the other place" is a common excuse. I guess your operation must suffer then so that you can give someone else a needed break, when they do not even work fullt ime for you. Also, at times when you most need of their help, they cannot do it because they must be at their other job on time. At least with this type of employee, you have the option of "progressive counseling"-I will delve into this catchy phrase at a later chapter. Thus, as time progresses, eventually you may be rid of them.

C) Management personnel is not exempt from these traits

The unreliable trait is not reserved for hourly or line employees. There are and I have worked with plenty of managers who display the same traits proudly. I remember working with a few of those as well. I believe I was one of these "people". I did get fired from an assistant's position, because "I was leaving the property to have lunch with other co-workers" Then again I was only 22 years old. Not many responsibilities and I though it was cool to be walking around wearing a suit at work, and of course buying lunch for the HR Secretaries, or other office types(girls). Eventually, I was paying more attention to other things than to my responsibilities as a manager, so I got fired. That was many years ago. I went back to waiting tables and in the meantime, I worked with plenty of bad managers, who had a lot to teach me, or at least I learned the things I was not supposed to do if I ever got back into management. (which I did years later)

The point here is, do not question "Why" you got fired from a job, when you know exactly the reason. The person whose blog I was reading, recounted in detail each instance in which he failed to show up for work. Still, there was questioning, because according to him, "He was the best worker in that position". I guess he failed to understand that the best worker for any position is that who is reliable, does the best that he or she can with tools that are available to work with and still, he does not "feel" that he or she is the best.


Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Hotels-Restaurants. Another Dimension

I worked for many years in the hotel industry

Now, if you have never stepped a foot behind the doors past the cash register, or past the kitchen where your food is being prepared, then read on, otherwise if you have or are currently working for any of our "fine" hotels and restaurants across America, you may also read on for a good chuckle.

I will make this into a series, because there is so much to cover. Like a classroom, I will start by covering and discussing some topics of interest; management styles, Employees, Managers, Upper Management, Personalities, Interactions, etc.

If you have anecdotes of your own, pass them on.


Hotels are like an apple. On the outside they are of many colors and sizes and on the inside, they are mostly the same with a few variations. When you look at any hotel, whether a five star or something with fewer shining stars, you are looking at an ever changing entity. First thing, or person you encounter when you get to your hotel is the door man (If the hotel has one, otherwise you get to open the front doors on your own, no matter how heavy or how many bags you have)
They come in many sizes and shapes and depending on the location of the hotel. Some of them might as well be models posing and ready for their shots. Others are like fixtures of the building itself, stone cold and old. There are plenty of others in between.
The Worst kind of doormen are the ones that are too good for the job they are doing, However, they love to open doors and jump at the driver's door of any car that looks as though is driven by God himself. I think they expect a tip in the form of stocks or a personal check by the way they drool over the driver and his or her passengers. While all this is going on, there are other cars waiting their turned at being parked or retrieved. If you are driving anything that is older than four or five years old, or when you bought it, seat belts where not mandatory, then you are in for a rude awakening.
You will wait and wait. Until the door man-or valet in some cases, is done parking "Mercury's Chariot"-Horses and all. Then you will get a glance thrown at you. At this time you are supposed to get a greeting that sounds something like, "Good Afternoon Sir, Welcome to Heaven, Checking in?...May I get your bags from the trunk?," When you finally wake up from blinking, it is someone who tells you where the "public Parking" is, or just tells you to leave the keys in the car and he will be right with you. When he or she finally gets back to you, the conversation goes something like this.
Valet-Doorman-"Name please" while he or she proceeds to write your name on the ticket (Most of the times, misspelled)
You-"Dr. Smith, and Make sure you write Dr. On the ticket"
Valet-Doorman-"Sure, sir" (All the while thinking, "You pompous ass")
You-"Can you get my bags from the trunk?"
Valet -Doorman-"I will let the Valet know, please leave your car there with the keys in it."
Then he walks away, while somewhere around the door area, there are people that look like "Valet people" just waiting for you to walk away from your car so they can get in it and drive off" Hopefully they work for the hotel.
This is not an extreme thought. It happens. Employees are continuously trained by management to greet you with pleasantries and make sure that all your questions and inquiries are answered as they walk you through the doors and into the front desk of the hotel. However, most of the time, because of staffing issues; someone called out, two others just got a job at a hotter hotel so they did not bother to show up, or simply they partied too much the night before so they "Could not make it"
Some other times, they just do not care who you are or what you are doing there, but you are just in their way of looking good. This includes management as well. If they are expecting a VIP- you will have to walk a few extra steps, bags and all, because the front area is blocked because they are "expecting" Brittney Spears or someone that looks and acts just like her"-Even though it may be hours before their arrival.
There are plenty of hard working individuals that do this for a living and take it seriously. Those are the ones that will follow not just the hotel's policies and training, but go beyond to make you feel welcome. You will recognize them as you drive up into the driveway of any hotel. Even before the car comes to a complete stop, they already have your bags on their shoulders. How they managed that, You don't know. Those are the people that know they will get a guaranteed tip and do not care how much they get. Because they are there to take care of you as a guest. They are rare nowadays. If you see one, take care of them and you car will not be messed with.
Unfortunately for most people most of these type of employees are found at 5 star-High end, resorts (Or Spa's) Ther average rates are over $300.00 dollars per night. That is for a basic room, most have great amenities included (For that price they should). Places like; Post Ranch Inn (CA), Four Seasons or Ritz properties, Bellagio here in Vegas. Do a search on the net (Five star hotels) and you will see what I'm talking about. AGain, there are exceptions and every now and then you get lucky.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

A view of Death Valley and its Flowers

Blogs Lost-Lives Lost

How many times have you found yourslef typing away for a longtime, only to find out that you pressed the wrong button and "Poof" ther eit goes, you are staring a t a blank screen.

Yes, it just happened to me. I had just gone on and on about the current istuation in Florida withe Schiavo case, the death of Polly Gonzalez here in Las Vegas and my own tragedy that I was part of 5 years ago.
Anyways, the point was that no matter what everyone does or says, Life will go on.
Polly Gonzalez-a news anchor for CBS- Channel 8, was drinving along with her two daughters (WHo survived the accident) to "Death Valley" to see the re-birth of the dessert along . A dessert full of blooming flowers. Due to abundant rain in the last three months throughout the Southwest, there is a lot of greenery all around. People have come from all parts of the country to study and observe the flowers.
By some sort of careless driving or just faith, she encountered death.
Going back to the point I was making, Next year or two years from now, we will all have forgotten about the Schiavos, the Gonzalez and many others and will just move on.
It is just part of nature.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

From a Picture in El Imparcia de Oaxaca, Mexico

Semana Santa-Easter Week

So here we are. Another Easter week upon us. I was just reading through the Mexican news (Something I do to keep up with the on-goings there) and came upon pictures of the "Recreation of the Via Crucis" or the Passion of Christ.
When I was a teenager, I used to belong to the Catholic Youth Movement in Mexico City, so I got to participate in a re-enactment for a couple of years at the neighborghood's church in one of the Mexican Colonias (I played an Apostles's part). Curiously, we lived on the foothills of a medium sized mountain so the recreation was bit more realistic since the protagonists had to climb up a hill while carrying a very heavy wooden cross(The Christ) and the others some sort of wooden beam along their shoulders.
This happens throughout the world in particularly heavily Catholic countries; Mexico, The Philippines and I am sure quite a few others. According to the Mexican news, the biggest show in Mexico City is the one done in the Colonia Iztapalapa-where about 2 Million people show up along the route to observe and watch the recreation. (Maybe I heard wrong, but that is about 4 times the total population of Las Vegas)
Tomorrow will be time to decorate and dye some eggs for the kids and hide them in our yard, instead of climbing up a hillside with 95 degrees of heat. Then is off to dinner wit the family and on to the next holiday.
Peace Out!

Otra Semana Santa que llega y va.
Leyendo El Imparcial, diario de Oaxaca, me tope con una foto de la recreacion de La Pasion de Cristo. Me recordo de cuando yo paricipe en lo mismo haya en la Colonia La Presa de Mexico, cuando yo era miembro de la ACJM (Asociacion Catolica de la Juventud Mexicana) De eso ya hace bastante tiempo, Y reflexiona uno sobre adonde quedaron esas amistades, esas familias con quien uno vivio tanto (tiempo y experiencias)
Aqui en Estados Unidos se celebra con decorar huevos cocidos para luego esconderlos y que los ninos los busquen y encuentren. Aparte de los huevos duros, tambien hay unos de plastico llenos de huevitos de chocolate. Luego se les obsequia una canasta llena de chocolates, mas huevos y unos cuantos juguetes (particularmente conejos, ya sea de chocolate o de peluche)
Claro que tambien se va a la iglesia o templo dependiendo de la religion que es uno.

La mayoria de los mensajes religiosos en esta temporada se enfocan en La Resurreccion como algo que da nueva vida o nueva esperanza, El enfoque no es tanto en el sufrimiento y Pasion de Cristo, como lo es en otros paises.
Quiza esto sea una reflexion sicologica de la populacion en general en Los Estados Unidos (Lease-religiosa). Un pais con tantos beneficios y riquezas que no puede verse dentro de si mismo para apreciar el sufrimiento y sacrificio de Cristo o el dolor y sacrificio de gente de otros paises que dia tras dia cargan con su propia cruz y sufrimientos.
Y Usted, Que Opina?...............
Y como dijo anteriormente el famoso governador de California.....
Hasta La Vista Baby!

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Gates

On a Recent trip to the Big Apple-"The Gates"

I guess I should have given some background to this photo.
Not much to say other than it was the weekend before Valentines'. My girlfriend sprang up the idea, so I got us rooms in Manhattan while she got us tickets to go see the Phantom of The Opera at the Majestic, Overall A great weekend. Lots of walking throughout he city to see the sights and fortunatelly, Cristo (Is that how you spell it?) opened his show called The Gates in Central Park. Took lot sof good photos, if you would like to have some, email me and I will forward.
Second time I see an installation by Cristo. Back in the early 90,s I also saw the umbrellas in California. At that time I was living in South Pasadena, CA.
Seems like an eternity ago.

My Dear Mother and I
My Dear Mother and I


Este es mi primer mensaje.
Hay alguien aqui?..............
Nadie contesta
Aqui me sentare hasta que alguien responda...
por hoy

Saludos desde Las Vegas, Nevada.
Soy Francisco

Y tu...
Quien Eres?

Yes. I know what does that mean in English......
This is my first message----Anybody here?.......No answer.
I will just sit here and wait 'till someone responds.
For today anyways.

Greetings from Las Vegas, NV.

and you....
Who are you?