Apprentices – hang in there, you won’t regret it!
- August 21, 2017
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Commercial Cookery
By Mark Field – Christmas is a crazy time of the year in hospitality. Long hours, pressure cooker situations, dummy spits and people throwing in the towel are all normal practices this time of the year. They don’t call it the silly season for nothing!
Your perception might be that you are being over worked and under paid, you may feel exploited, taken advantage of and under appreciated. Guess what?…..
This is normal too and in some cases you may be right. There’s no doubt that hospitality businesses ask a lot from their employees over the Christmas period. Every available business resource is being used to its absolute limit and this can build negative feelings towards your employer and make you question your employment choice.
Hospitality is seasonal by nature, so it is imperative that businesses make the most of the busy times. It is also very difficult to bring in new labour resources to cope in these busy periods especially considering industry skill shortages and the effort and expense required to find and train somebody up for a temporary position. Effectively, employers are left with no choice but to do the best with what labour resources they have irrespective of how busy it gets and the potential negative impact on employees.
Employees also need to understand that there will be quiet or slow periods during the year where the business may be losing money. Despite this, you will still be getting paid your normal wage or salary and going to work will be comparatively easier than over the busy Christmas period.
These are the realities of hospitality. I’m not saying that exploitation is is an acceptable practice, what I am saying is that you need to take the good with the bad. That is, of course, if you consider the extra effort required over Christmas to be ‘bad’!
Personally, I loved being in hospitality over Christmas. There’s nothing like being in a ‘cauldron of fire’, juggling numerous responsibilities at once, fixing problems, dealing with difficult people, prioritising tasks and making things happen. Every shift had a new challenge or problem to overcome, it was almost like a contest or competition and you were doing everything you could to win. At the end of the shift you sat back exhausted but with a feeling of satisfaction and pride and a real sense of achievement. Not to mention how quick the shift went!
I think that your ability to survive the busy Christmas period comes predominantly down to your attitude. Instead of harbouring negative feelings and questioning your career choice think about the skills and qualities you will be forced to develop as a direct result of getting out of your ‘comfort zone’.
For example, your ability to handle stressful situations, overcome adversity and build resilience and tenacity are all skills that are highly sort after by employers and are skills for life. These are acquired skills, so the more you expose yourself to ‘uncomfortable situations’ the better you will become at handling them. If you think being an employee can be stressful, wait until you are the boss and you have creditors banging down your door for payments, suppliers refusing to deliver goods and then having employees walk out on you in the middle of service or three weeks before Christmas.
You have to be mentally tuff and almost ‘unbreakable’ to deal with this pressure and there is only one-way to get it and that’s to experience it.
So this Christmas period, I would like you to focus on the positives and forget about the little things that fuel negative thought. If you survive it, you will come out the other side, stronger, empowered, more employable, more confident and better equipped to deal with the challenges that life throws at you.
Speaking of Christmas, I would like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and a very big thank you for taking an interest in my posts. There’ll be more to come in 2016.
Mark Field is the Managing Director of Access Recognised Training an Australian based Registered Training Organisation specialising in hospitality/culinary and business management qualifications.