No, not America. There are bright lights in the stormy dark of America. That’s rather dystopian in itself but…!
Work. Job. Employment. Dickensian horrors. Or maybe even some Russian novelist’s version of a workplace. Something full of not enough supplies, not enough workers to cover the shifts, not enough, not enough…ugh.
I started work at a local hotel. I won’t give the name in case they are MONITERING ME RIGHT NOW. I’ll call it the Shred Cat. You can puzzle out which one that is, m’kay, if you like.
I interview for about ten seconds at the Shred Cat. Basic questions. What hours do you want, what shifts, any problem standing for long periods, have to keep the lobby clean, etc. I do not hear back so I call, leave a message. I’m quite sure yet another place has given me the passive, won’t call back and tell me ‘fuck off and die’ message.
Nope. Shred Cat calls me back a couple days later. Hey, you wanna work for us? I, just happy to hear a yes from somebody, agree to be hired.
I’ve never worked in a hotel.
Not front desk, checking people in on a system I DO NOT KNOW. At least there’s training.
Now, the man who got to train this whackadoodle [that would be me] was a former police officer and in the Air Force. So, he’s a regimented martinet for how things should be. And I’m nervous and so aware of every last little to giant mistake I make under his exacting eye. Holy shit. I dread going to work to be trained, because it’s just a clusterfuck all the time. But hey, I also get to clean a lot and fold laundry. Because management decided front desk can also fold laundry when there are no guests to deal with…which is almost never.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Trainer guy is actually quite encouraging, as well as being precise. I always felt like I had failed miserably every training session but he kept saying, you are improving. You are getting better. Yes, now I can hunt and peck in addresses and not erase credit cards on file so readily. My eyesight is bad so reading those tiny blurry numbers correctly nearly caused poor trainer guy some heart attacks as people piled up and things bogged down. Yep.
Two weeks or so of four hour sessions for swing swift stuff. Three to eleven. I hate this shift. I hate it. It just ruins your day. I’d rather do graveyard or morning. I don’t mind getting up early. Graveyard starts at eleven, ends at seven. That’s doable. But swing…anyway.
Let’s skip to my first full shift by myself. Except it wasn’t because of course one of the management sorts happened to be covering the morning shift on this Sunday. I was a goddamn deer in headlights and the most woefully complicated reservations popped up that I had never trained for or even seen. So, she had to stay and help because I had no idea how to process the transactions asked for. I kept messing up, I kept making mistakes that I knew better than to make as the woman turned me into nervous jelly.
I went home Sunday in tears. I actually burst into tears during that eight hour horror festival of stupid mistakes, braindead idiocy on my part and sheer ineptitude.
I had to come back Monday and do it all over again.
I just. At least I didn’t burst into tears again. But I did cock up some room arrangements that took a while to untangle. There was also a rush of guests MY LAST FREAKING HOUR OF WORK and the laundry did not get attended to or the floor mopped…because I and the woman who had to stay all day Sunday because of me had to deal with the rush of people on Monday night. Including a Mormon bishop driving 75 miles to help out a young couple with kids from a small Idaho town. The woman had worked out a deal with him, so was waiting to check that group in herself and…ugh. I had an eight and half hour shift, but I did get to leave.
Now. People at work use Whatsapp. To communicate and such, instead of holding, say, staff meetings.
I find I am being blamed and roasted because…wait for it…the laundry didn’t get folded and the floor didn’t get mopped. I, um. Yeah, I can’t do two jobs at the same time. But I apologized instead of writing a novel-length accounting of my time to show why I didn’t get to the laundry and floor.
Now, the Whatsapp stuff is an addictive grim soap opera. You can follow the travails of housekeeping! You can ride along with the front desk drama! There are pictures! It’s all about tattling on others, mostly. Without any consideration that the place is woefully understaffed and sometimes, you just can’t physically get to something because shit happens and you have to take care of that shit right then and there. Like people showing up, thinking they have rooms reserved through their company or business and nope, not there. So, hey, have to call business, get them to make reservations, do we have their credit card on file somewhere and….uh huh.
Oh, so I ran into someone I recognized as having worked the front desk. I showed up, the day after the Bonnie Raitt concert, for training. She had no idea I was showing up, so I went home. This person is now working at the local canned food store. She was the clerk checking me out yesterday or so. I overheard the staff at the store trying to get shifts covered and remarked, hey, that sounds like my job. She looked at me. I looked at her. Hey, I know you. Yeah, I used to work at Shred Cat, it was impossible, they need to get their act together.
I don’t know how much longer I can last there, frankly. They’re just hiring warm bodies and throwing them into the grinder. My entire town seems understaffed. Running into that one all over. I might indeed have to consider becoming a teacher in Arizona, as my friend suggested. Kids and paperwork, oh my. And nasty parents, ugh. Still better than front desk torture.