A Marina room at Harrah’s. I’ve never stayed in a hotel room with hardwood floors before! (Taken with Instagram at Harrah’s Resort Hotel & Casino)
It’s called “putting in your dues”. Some people may never experience it, but for those of us Someday Hoteliers, entering the workforce at the lowest seniority, it’s required.
I’m speaking about overnights, those dreaded shifts in which the world sleeps or parties while you are at work. And where you change into your pajamas while your friends head to brunch. Add these to the prevalence of shift work sleep disorder (or SWSD), and this shift can seem like a prison sentence.
I’ve been on the overnight for a little over six months now. While not an ideal schedule, there are some things I love about the overnight: more time with guests, more issues to solve (walking guests, should the situation arise, is a piece of cake, where it used to intimidate me), and a smaller workforce, which leads to more trust and comraderie between departments. And, surprisingly, my social life has not suffered a great deal. In this past year, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks that have made this shift a lot more bearable. If you’re a young hotelier stuck on the graveyard shift, consider these tips:
1. GET ENOUGH SLEEP. It’s difficult to sleep during the day. Science dictates that light signifies being awake, and dark signifies a time to rest. Working against this natural pattern is difficult, and many colleagues of mine and others that work my shift only tend to get around 6 hours of sleep a day. Make sure you set aside at least 8 hours each day to get proper sleep.
But, in the same vein…
2. DON’T SLEEP TOO MUCH. It can be tempting to hit the sheets as soon as you get home, and because you don’t want to be tired for work, to force yourself to sleep until it’s time to get ready again. Although good-intentioned, this pattern just makes you more tired.
3. BUY A FAN OR NOISE MACHINE. My roommates are my best friends, and I love them dearly. But when I began overnights and didn’t have a fan or any noisemaker in my room, I would turn into the Hulk if they made enough noise to wake me up. My air conditioner is currently the love of my life because it drowns out EVERYONE - my roommates, the noisy kids downstairs, the clock tower at the local church.
4. STAY HEALTHY. I used to absolutely despise the gym. I’m not a fan of running, I don’t want other people to see me sweat, and showering and fixing my hair and makeup afterwards takes forever. But I love going to the gym right after my shift, as the sun starts to rise. There’s barely anyone there, and I can work out without cancelling or turning down plans, because who wants to hang out at 6am? (also on overnight: your friends are always like, “let’s have breakfast one day!” it never happens). And I always feel better and more energized after I go. Also a plus, providing your hotel allows it: using your own hotel’s gym! Super fancy and even LESS people than a normal gym.
5. MAKE PLANS FOR YOUR DAYS OFF. The rule I think most important, especially for twentysomethings. One of the biggest detriments of this shift is being asleep while everyone is going to Smorgasburg or free movies at Brooklyn Bridge Park or going out when you have to go to your job canyoutellI’mjealous! The key to not going crazy? Make sure to plan adventures with your friends for those sweet, sweet days you don’t have to go to work. My “Friday night” (Monday during the day) corresponds with the group of friends who I used to work on Broadway with. We’ve been planning beach days each month to spend together. I tend to get a little worse for wear later in the day, but staggering my sleep on my days off in order to feel normal is totally, totally worth it.
The most important thing to remember is that this is only temporary. Things change, people with higher seniority leave or even choose to be on the overnights. And someday you’ll be the higher up, and calling the shots, and it’ll all be gravy.
Keep smilin’, keep shinin’. Even when the sun isn’t.
"But perhaps more than any other theme park’s, Disney’s rides rely not only on providing jolts of adrenaline for its visitors but also on immersing them in a story, in letting people live out the lives of characters they have learned to love."
Jessie McKinley, in his review of Cars Land at Disney California Adventure, SOMEONE who understands what Disney Parks are about.
Aware of the potential for mortification, I set up some ground rules: first and foremost, I would avoid rides that would flip me upside down or twirl me like a top. It is forgivable when an 8-year-old gets sick — and impressive to watch the Disney cleanup crew spring out of nowhere with mops and buckets — but adults know how to avoid this, and should.
I also promised myself not to be goaded onto rides that frightened me (that’s you, Space Mountain). And finally, no mouse ears. No one wants that photo out there.
[…] Thirty years ago, I actually did work up the nerve to ride Space Mountain, and each time I have returned to the park over the last few months I felt a tug to ride it again, to see if it was as terrifying as I remembered. On our last night there I paused. Was this the moment? No. Some things are for kids.
As the comments point out, this article has been done hundreds of times over. Adam Nogourney’s New York Times piece article reads as “Hipsters Guide to Still Looking Cool at Disneyland”. His digs on adult Disney fans are deep, calling them “cultish”, who created a “storm” when there was a rumor that the Haunted Mansion was to be shut down, which I’m not familiar with - besides refurbishments, the Haunted Mansion is continually put out of service for a few weeks in November to make way for the Christmas overlay.
All nostalgia aside, many adults are fans of Disney for just how immersive an experience can be. A stay at Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian can make you feel as if you’ve been transported 100 years back; a ride on Big Thunder Mountain feels as if it literally transports you to a California mining town. And the guest service culture at The Walt Disney Company is truly a study in itself, one that keeps guests coming back and paying premiums. Not many jobs have “creating magic” in their descriptions.
I’ve had friends, coworkers, ex-boyfriends and the like seriously judge me for liking Disney. But I ask you to name hotels and amusement parks that truly provide an experience as perfectly escapist, and fun, as Disney can. I’ll don my Mouse Ears with pride, thank you.
[PHOTO: Myself with Mickey Mouse, last year. Mickey & Minnie shirt worn with pride.]
The Deuce Hotel - Portlandia
Your room, is….uh….well, just feel it out, you know what I mean?
Beyonce and Rihanna represent two ways to use social media, a decision that most of us will have to make about the face we put forward to the world, via the Web, particularly as Facebook and Twitter continue to race toward an endgame of being universal social utilities, YellowPages for everyone who uses the Web.
Will you be a Beyonce, and present a carefully groomed version of yourself to the Web? One carefully designed and maintained by yourself, or a third party, to ensure that you don’t screw up your career, your relationship or your education with one misfired photograph or tweet?Or will you take Rihanna’s road and throw caution to the wind, baring your life, your friends and occasionally, your unmentionables?
- Jenna Wortham, Digital Diary: Rihanna and Beyonce Define the Social Web Spectrum
A fantastic article from way back in April about social media presence, something everyone monitors but not many talk about.
When I began this blog, or truly began my “career” in the hospitality scene, I thought about changing my Twitter, or obtaining an all-new handle, so that I could be strictly business, and my personal tweets and information wouldn’t be mixed in. But hospitality is a passion of mine, and it’s part of who I am - one of the parts of myself that also includes my love of Brooklyn, the affinity I have for spending time with my friends, and occasionally my nature to complain (especially about this heat ‘cause DUDE IT’S HOT IN NEW YORK CITY). I see so many professionals with a Twitter that has their name plastered on it but is so business-focused it kills me. I’m sure you do more than work.
While it’s important to think of yourself as a brand, I think you should be somewhere in between Rihanna and Beyonce. What about the Taylor Swift of social media? The Ginnifer Goodwin? Half carefully controlled, half cute cat pictures? Or more importantly, the Danny Meyer (@dhmeyer) of social media? Half posts about his company/guest service, half posts of fun places he’s dined and vacationed at.
I’m still gonna take you seriously as a business professional if you post a picture of a beer, or the beach, or your pets. I follow you on Twitter because I respect you, but I also want to see what else there is to you besides your expertise and reputation. Let Twitter be your Casual Friday and show me you are a human and enjoy fun!
Hotels on Fire Island. (Taken with Instagram)