Chapter One: An Auspicious Beginning
The call that I had been waiting for came as I waited my turn down the aisle during my graduation ceremony from NYU School of Hotel Management. As I shuffled through the crowd searching for my family, I checked my voicemail to find out that I had been offered a position with The Fancy Four-Star Hotel Group. A job! And the masters’ degree wasn’t technically in my hands yet.
Nevermind that the position was housekeeping supervisor. Our professors had encouraged us to keep an open mind about opportunities, keeping an eye towards the final goal and recognizing the importance of getting a foot in the door. With my diploma in hand and my new job offer, nothing could dampen my spirits. Not even housekeeping. I spotted my mom in the crowd and couldn’t wait to share the good news. “Housekeeping, huh?” she said. “When’s the last time you made your bed?”
At orientation the following week, the seven of us who were new to the property were led through an intensive introduction and training. Some of us were new to the company; some were transferring from another property. We were all informed that we had been selected from a massive pool of more than 10,000 applicants, chosen because we were uniquely qualified. This was not only the best hotel in New York City, but one of the premier hotels in the world. And now we were a part of that. I was so lucky; I was going to learn so much.
General orientation lasted for three days of Power Point presentations, basement tours, and phone training. On the final day, as the tailor fit my new black-and-white uniform, the Executive Housekeeper, Mr. James, explained that all new managers trained with a room attendant before moving on to management training. I would be paired up with one of the ladies to observe the daily housekeeping routine.
“Enjoy your weekend,” he told me. Was that a smirk I detected from the other managers huddled behind him?
It was. They knew this would be last weekend I would enjoy for the next nine months.