Where Have I Been?
So I’m sure those of you that follow along with my blog have been wondering where I’ve been the past few days/ weeks. I haven’t been posting as regularly and I haven’t been as interactive on my other social media platforms as well. So today I decided to sit down and talk about why this is. Let’s get real shall we?
As many of you know, I recently relocated back to Massachusetts from Orlando to pursue a new job opportunity. I will not name drop, but a new casino has recently opened in the North Shore area and it is considered one of the first of it’s kind in Massachusetts (especially in this region). I was offered a position as a concierge and it involved uprooting from Orlando and moving back home within a three week time period.
Now obviously I was okay with this move. I was already planning on relocating back home and was actively job hunting (hence how I discovered this position). What I did not expect was just how quickly it all would be playing out and just how soon I would be arriving home.
So after a stressful two weeks of putting in my work notice in Florida, packing up all of my belongings, shipping my car home then flying myself home with three suitcases and one of me, I was back in Massachusetts. I was suppose to have a week and a half to unpack and compose myself for my new life back home, that was when I received a phone call asking me to start my position a week early. I said yes without hesitation because the last thing I would want was to start a new job off on the wrong foot by telling my boss no before I even got there.
Orientation was like any other orientation. 16 hours over a course of two days of orientation leaders trying to explain to you why this work location would be the best you’ve ever worked at. Quite frankly, I’ve heard it all before. Same old same old, the promises that corporations have, that they normally don’t intend to keep. I tried not to fall asleep honestly, but that’s also because it started at the crack of dawn and I was coming from working mainly night shifts. Culture shock really.
Anyways, it was time to officially start the new job come early September. The first day went a little rocky (most jobs tend to be this way if you ask me because of nerves), I went to the uniforms department to pick up my uniform that had been tailored to fit the week before. Welp, the tailoring department accidentally overlooked my uniform and it wasn’t ready. So on my first day I had to wait until the last minute to get my uniform fitted, dressed, and rush to try and find where I clock in to greet my new boss. Stressful right?
Anyways I stayed cool and the crisis was averted no worries. Quick mini backstory, this casino had only been open for three months come my starting day. Everyone else in the department had been there since day one and had been trained by our Vegas counterparts. Then there was me coming in late to the game. My boss then informed me that there was no real proper training procedures in place yet so I would just shadow the others and learn by doing. My initial instinct was stress only because I had come from locations that are so established with trainings that lasted weeks. Then it turned into determination, I knew I could take on any job I put my mind to.
The worst part of training was having a guest approach me and ask a question only to have to apologize and say I would have to ask my colleague because I was still learning. This was usually met with annoyed looks or overly exaggerated sighs. Nothing I wasn’t use to, this is the hospitality industry after all, can never please everyone!
Then came the more frustrating portion of my training. I was left on my own pretty soon after starting and had only been given the knowledge that I learned from my fellow coworkers in the moment. At first of course, I was thrilled that I was trusted enough to start being on my own so early, but that’s when I started to realize just how much I wasn’t taught. Guests would come up asking me very specific questions about Boston or about things within the casino, only to be met with my confused face when I realized I had never gone over any of the answers or topics during my shadowing sessions. I was very lucky to work with some very knowledgable front desk agents and bell hops who helped me in my times alone, but soon I started worrying when the number of inquiries that I was not properly taught to handle rose.
I learned through guests that I had the capability to sell tickets to them for upcoming shows being hosted at the casino, yet never received Ticket Master training or a log in for the site. I learned we had a specific site to use to book certain Boston tours in order to receive proper commission about three weeks after I started working alone. Now I’m not blaming the job or my coworkers in any way for me not being totally prepared for the job. I’m blaming the fact that I wasn’t given proper training and it was more so frustrating for me that I was unable to assist guests properly because I was not given the tools needed to perform my duties to the best of my abilities.
Now in many instances when this occurred, I would bring it up with my coworkers to ensure that I received the proper procedures moving forward. I took it upon myself to make sure I was able to assist guests to the best of my capabilities. But ever since I began my position, I was met with many instances of difficulties that weren’t solely revolved around learning new job duties from guests approaching me. As a any new job, you learn by doing, so I knew (especially in the line of concierge) that this would happen often. What really frustrated me was higher officials expected me to know certain principles of the job that I was never informed about or trained on. I would be asked why I did not use a certain system to help a guest or show them to a certain department when this certain outlet or piece of knowledge was never brought to my attention in the first place. How am I suppose to know about a piece of my job that exists if I am never told or trained on the subject?
I am very good at what I do and after three weeks of the job, that point was proven to me. To attain a five-star level at any resort or casino around the globe, undercover members of Forbes must come to the location with an extensive check-list of points that must be attained by both the property and it’s employees within it’s walls. Most departments have one checklist of items that they must reach at least an 85% or above in order to attain that “five-star service status.” Now when an undercover agent comes in and secretly picks a random employee or department to assess, the head of the department is then emailed the results so they are aware of what their department needs to work on.
That was when one day after only three weeks on the job, I was called into the back office and told that I was the first concierge at the casino to reach a 90% on an undercover assessment. I was thrilled. It validated that I knew what I was doing, but it also proved to me that all those difficult instances were due to lack of training not my lack of skill.
But as time went on, these frustrating instances only grew more apparent. I was met with so many instances of learning new outlets of my job that I was never informed about or trained on. It grew to the point that I was so worried I was not going to be able to assist a guest in the best way possible, that I feared what a guest may ask of me when they approached.
The other main issue that arose was the miscommunication between departments. Every department within the casino is very well made-up. They have done an amazing job of collecting some of the best of the best when it came to people who knew exactly what they were doing for each department. They took some of Boston’s as well as Vegas’ best employees and created dream teams. But with that still comes a lot of work. Even though departments have the best of the best, it is still a new facility and that means everyone is learning new procedures and ways of doing things. This leads to many hiccups (which is understandable for any new facility), but not one guests take lightly.
When you have guests that have gone to our sister locations and experienced the phenomenal service the other locations provide, they are clearly going to come into this new property with the same high standards. What many have to realize is the property is still new and does not have as much mojo as our Vegas sister hotel. Meaning yes, we are a casino, but casino & gambling laws in Massachusetts are extremely different. So when a department can’t perform a function that can be done in Vegas or a little mix up happens, suddenly it often times becomes the end of the world to many guests. And guess who those guests decide to take up their issues with? The desk that supposedly can give them anything for free to make up for it. Yup, you guessed it. ME. The concierge. Only issue is unlike previous hotels that I’ve worked at where I did have the ability to accommodate to such issues, at this casino I had no sway whatsoever to resolve any problems that arose. The most I could basically do was book tours, some dinners, and call housekeeping for a guest.
So it became very hard in frustrating to me when a guest came up to me with a complaint (which usually were very understandable complaints or reasons to be upset) and all I could do was apologize. It would make me so upset that I couldn’t be the one that was able to turn their vacation around for the better and fix the issue. My last hotel, I would have had in-room dining whip up a small treat to apologize or hand out a free drink voucher, but since the casino is making up for building costs, the budget is too low for that opportunity. In the end the guest usually just got much more frustrated with me and it killed me inside, because as a hospitality professional I strive to make guests’ experiences ones that they will love and remember. But the casino did not allow me the proper tools to do my job and make that happen.
It also became a struggle when a guest’s complaint was something about our functionality that should not be an issue in the first place. In room dining would often times take orders, charge the guests, and then FORGET to deliver their food. Then who would be notified of the issue? The concierge. We’d call in room dining and they would get frustrated that we were bothering them. My last hotel, the in room dining team were the concierges’ best friends. They would always help us out and make sure all the guests in the hotel were happy because they cared. At this casino, they don’t have to face the guests like we do so they don’t face the problems that often times arise. But once again this is something that happens with a new hotel, mistakes are going to be made, but owning up to it and working towards making things right is going to be the only way to ensure this doesn’t happen again in the future. This is something the casino needs to realize as a whole and work on. Every department is too proud to claim that they’ve made an error when in reality, it’s a new place, it’s going to happen, don’t be ashamed, just own up and fix it.
SO, my gosh this is way more of a rant than I intended it to be I apologize. Anyways, so with all of this being said, I recently put in my two weeks notice and left my position as a concierge. I loved everyone I worked with and still keep in contact with many of them because they were truly a great team, but with my past job experience, the functionality of this casino was just not something I felt was benefitting me. I want jobs that will expand my experience and promote growth within my personal hospitality field goals. This casino was simply not doing that for me.
So that is why I have been gone for so long recently and for now I am enjoying my holidays at home unlike previous years, and already have opportunities lined up in my future come January. But for now, I just wanted to let everyone know what was happening and to let everyone know that sometimes it’s okay to take a step back in your career in order to take a bigger step forward in the future. That is where I’m at right now and honestly I know it’s only good things to come. Thank you to everyone to read this far down, and be ready for more content soon! I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving and a great ‘official’ start to the Christmas season! ENJOY.