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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Here’s a story for you. A senior executive decided he had had enough of the rat race and decided he was going to ditch everything and go for a menial job that had no stress. He looked around and thought the hospitality industry seemed low stress so he applied for a job that paid $8 an hour as a desk clerk. During the interview, he was honest with the interviewer and said that he was looking for a menial job where he could relax and just do the required work. He admitted he had chosen the hospitality industry because the employees of the high-end hotels where he had always stayed on business did not seem stressed so he figured it was as good a place as any to start. He was offered the job but at a rate of $6.50 an hour. He proceeded to get upset and pointed out that the job was advertised at $8 an hour. The hiring manager pointed out some important things to him:

  • The advertised rate was a range and $8 an hour was for someone with at least three years experience. Since he had no experience, he had to start at the bottom of the range.
  • It appeared the executive had no concept of work ethic or customer service, both very important aspects of the hospitality industry, since he was leaving a high-level job for one where he could “coast”. That attitude essentially put him in the “warm body” category and warm bodies only rated the beginning rate.
  • The hiring manager pointed out that all jobs have stress related to them. A desk clerk would definitely say he had a stressful job on a high season day when there were 250 check-ins and 180 check-outs plus two conferences in progress. The hiring manager felt the executive would bail after his first experience with such a “non-stress environment” and therefore did not want to invest much in the hire.
  • The hiring manager was offended by the superior attitude the executive took about the hospitality industry and his belief that it consisted of menial jobs. The hiring manager had spent twenty years in hospitality working his way up through most hotel positions until he knew the industry inside and out. The last thing he needed was a supercilious and lazy desk clerk with a bad attitude.

Finally, the hiring manager gave this senior executive some good advice. He said “All jobs will have stress, but if you find what you love to do, the stress turns into challenge and is stimulating rather than handicapping. Stop looking for an “easy job” and start looking for a job you love.”

Are you doing something you love? Why not? Many people go through life measuring their success against a scale set by other people. Success is generally measured by income levels, net worth, types of “toys” possessed, and how much “stuff” can be accumulated. It is often measured by titles, power positions, and ability to manipulate others. What would be your measure of success?

At my local public library, there is a nice seating area in the front lobby near the circulation desk where there are comfy chairs and a coffee bar. Every time I go there, there is an older gentleman sitting there reading. He has a portable oxygen tank with him and wears a navy hat with USS Indianapolis on it. He’s obviously a WWII vet. I look at him and think – now that’s where I want to be when I’ve “made it” or retire. Just park me at the library with my oxygen, a book, and a cup of coffee and life will be sweet.


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