Most of us have suffered through jobs we do not enjoy. We can hate our jobs for various reasons: Low pay, waking up too early, customers who are idiots, etc. Today, I begin a series where I discuss when the boss makes things less than pleasant.
My first job ever, I worked the front desk at a resort hotel. Do not be hoodwinked by the adjective “resort”: this job was not glamorous.
My primary duty was to oversee the phone line. I directed every call that came in and out of that hotel, which sounds like a super-duper VIP job, but “Good morning, thank you for the calling the Tropical Resort Hotel, no, I can’t make the Navy ship move out of your line of sight on the beach, and yes, I can have four bars of soap sent up to your room, my name is Cazey, and how may I direct your call?”
When I wasn’t answering the phone, I was supposed to do ~*things*~. Which makes sense if there were things to do. You can only alphabetize the reservations so many times before you’re wondering if you should alphabetize them by the second letter in the first word, not the first.
At the beginning I asked my supervisor if there was anything that needed to be done. He would say, “Not right this minute,” and then a half hour later, I would ask again and get the same reply.
After three days of staring at the computer while waiting for someone to call down and ask how to get to the beach (“I can see it from my balcony, but how do I reach it?”), I decided I had to adapt or else become as mindless as the guests calling down. So I brought a book with me to work. And not any book – I brought The English Patient, which won the Booker Prize in 1992. Not exactly a tabloid.
My coworker remarked to me upon seeing me reading the book after the wake-up calls had been made, reservations alphabetized for the third time that day, and I had fetched everyone coffee: “Don’t let the supervisor see you reading that.”
I kept that in mind, and I didn’t think my supervisor saw me reading my So-Not-Fifty Shades of Grey novel. When I did see him, I recounted all the ways I had organized the office and was there anything else I could help with.
Like a pull-the-string toy, he replied, “Not right this minute.”
Eventually a guest needed assistance with something, so I left my book by the phone and went to help them. I returned to find my book missing.
Me: “Where did it go?”
Coworker: “The supervisor took it. It’s on his desk.”
Indeed, through the glass panel of his office, I saw my novel atop a stack of reservations (that I had alphabetized that day).
What do I do?
My supervisor soon walked into the backroom, past me, and into his office. He said nothing.
The next four hours were me sitting by the phone tapping an un-sharpened pencil on my heel and watching the cursor blink on the computer. My shift’s end came. My supervisor was out of his office, upstairs or something dealing with a guest.
Do I take my book? Well, I’m not leaving it here.
I snatched it off my supervisor’s desk and walked out to my car.
Later my mom said, “Maybe you should have brought a book on hotel management.”
My supervisor never mentioned the book, and I certainly never brought it up. I tried to quit that job the next summer, as in I didn’t tell them I was home from college. However, they still scheduled me to work. The job never got better.