I started my first job back in July and it was in hospitality but recently I have left that job to go into something completely different. Although I was only working in hospitality for four months, as a first job, it taught me a lot and I really wanted to share that in one post. The sort of hospitality work I ended up doing at my job was a lot of serving people food and drinks, setting up and clearing away mainly all for events such as weddings and birthday meals. I also just want to point out that all of this has come from my own experience in hospitality so please don’t let this put you off the role, as it is a different experience for everyone.
DON’T ASK, DON’T GET
When it comes to hospitality, especially if it is in a place with a lot of staff, you have got to compete for your hours. If you don’t chase up when your next shift is, or if you don’t ask for the hours, they are just going to find someone else who will. It is a very transferable industry, with staff constantly changing and it’s because of that, that you need to chase up your next shift. Some places are more organised than others. The hotel and restaurant I worked at, tended to give us a list of events for the next month and then you would message back with the events you want to work and more it up and ask what shift is avaliable.
This also applies in lots of different situations. If you need to leave early in a shift, you have to ask in advanced, don’t just show up and then say you’ve got to leave at this certain time because you’re not making a good impression and they probably won’t ask you to come in again if you are letting them down.
Also when it comes to getting paid and wages. I don’t know about any other jobs in hospitality but both places where I worked were so bad at paying you on time. Whether it was because they got your hours wrong or because you didn’t tell them your hours, you won’t get paid properly and so it is always up to you to chase it up. You also have to ask about tips, chase up how much it is and when you will get them. It is such a hectic industry and it can be easy for the managers to get confused and make a few slip-ups but you have to constantly chase it otherwise you just won’t get paid what you deserve or you won’t get shifts.
It is definitely a very independent role. You have to learn to become very well organised but also very blunt sometimes if you haven’t been paid properly, you have just got to tell them. Working in hospitality definitely taught me to just do everything off my own accord and not to wait for anyone else. If I need something sorted out or I needed another shift, I’d just ask for it and you just would if you wanted to keep the job consistent.
TRACK YOUR HOURS
I feel like this sort of links with my last point, but always keep track of your hours. The date and the exact hours you worked because at the end of the day unless you have a clocking in and out system, you will need to track them yourself. Even if you have a tracking system for your hours, I’d write them down anyway just so that if it ever came to payday and I wasn’t paid for the right amount of hours, I could forward my boss so that they could sort it out for me. It is just something that I’d recommend doing because you might try and remember the hours you did a month ago and because you didn’t write them down there and then, you won’t remember and you would just not get paid for that shift.
YOU’VE GOT TO LEARN IT ON YOUR OWN
Hospitality is definitely the sort of industry that doesn’t provide you with a lot of effective training. You’d be lucky if you get a little bit, but when I first joined both of my hospitality jobs, they just threw you in the deep end, allowing you to learn it on your own. It doesn’t take long to get to grips with it, but it does mean that you make a few mistakes along the way. It is always so important to ask though if you are ever unsure on anything because by doing that you are not only learning the right way to do things but you are showing that you want to learn and want to get things right.
YOU NEED TO BE SELFLESS
I definitely found that by working in hospitality, you just can’t be selfish. You could be exhausted and starving but you need to get the job done before anything else. A lot of the times I would go into work from 12-4 and end up staying until 8 just because that’s what happened and you need to follow through with that. It came to the point in one of my jobs that my boss wouldn’t tell us when we’d finished, we’d be expected to come in for a certain time but we would go to work not knowing when we’d finish. Sometimes it’d end up being a 4 hours shift and sometimes it would be an 8 hours shift, you just can’t predict it. I once worked a wedding, I came in at 6pm, expecting to work until about 10pm and instead I was there until 1:30 in the morning, but it isn’t the sort of job where it turns 10 and you just decide you want to go home, you’ve got to be part of the team and do your part. Obviously, unless it’s urgent, you are expected to finish when everyone else does or until you are dismissed, that’s just the way it was for me and so I did make a lot of sacrifices.
LEARN YOUR RIGHTS
This is something I massively regret not knowing during my job. Being under 18, you are entitled to a 30 minute break after 5 hours of work, you should not work more than 16 hours a week and you shouldn’t work later than 10pm. I did all of those things on multiple occasions, but I didn’t know that I had those rights. I did 8 hour shifts with no break, I worked until 1:30 in the morning and I worked weekends that totalled to about 25 hours. My advice is to just be aware of your rights as an employee and educate you colleges and boss on those and hopefully, something could be done about it whether it is just a 30 minute break. The industry is unpredictable and like I said before, you’ve just got to be selfless but if you need a break and you are entitled to one, make your boss aware. Looking back, I was definitely pushed around in my last job but it taught me when enough was enough.
THE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH IS CRUCIAL
What makes your job, is the people you work with. I feel like I have been quite negative in this post about hospitality, but in reality, I loved my job to bits but that was all down to the people I worked with. Having worked in two different hospitality jobs simultaneously, I have definitely noticed that you always love working when the staff you are with are great, friendly and supportive. It makes such a significant difference if you like your staff, because it makes you more productive while you’re there but it also makes you want to come back. When I worked at events in a local hotel and restaurant, I loved it because the staff were all so close, everyone looked after each other and at the end of the day, it was a team. It always means the most when you can walk into your work and feel welcomed. I will say, it definitely makes leaving the job more upsetting, but having a close group of staff is so important.
This post has definitely been the perfect chance for me to reflect on my last job. Although it definitely had its ups and downs, I wouldn’t trade the experience for everything. It definitely taught me a lot, as you can see, but I loved working in both places and have very positive memories from my time there. Let me know what your first job was in the comments, I’d love to know!
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