In resort life everyone tries to be what he or she is not, according to circumstances. Sometimes this behaviour is required as part of the profession and sometimes it happens out of inclination. For example:
They come in all shapes and sizes. Some come with a perpetual frown on their faces whilst others hide their true expressions behind an engaging smile. But they all share in the pretence.
Most guests are also notorious at deception. It is an ingrained cultural habit to smile and make light of everything, however annoying.
However there are those who are exactly the opposite – the realists and the con-guests who will complain at the smallest inconvenience to get a free bottle of champagne or a discount on their stay.
HR used to play God until the arrival of the dreaded labour laws. Now that the mantle of power to terminate staff indiscriminately on HR’s whims and wishes can at last be challenged in the labour tribunal, things are thankfully a little bit more even handed.
Together with ’sales and marketing’, reservations would have everyone else believe that if not for them the resort is a few days from closing down and going out of business.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that most tourists just choose to come to our resorts after hearing about our beaches and small islands from the internet, mostly through tour operators.
Tour operators do not necessarily depend on reservations but sometimes they have an agreement with the resort for the allocation of rooms, which is ‘handled’ by these pompous people. In technical terms they are just clerks and data entry staff making a big fuss over their work.
Of course there are some sweet, down-to-earth reservations people who do not aggrandize their work but in resort life such humbleness is the exception rather than the norm.
The maintenance people generally include the engineers and the unseen crowd. They are happiest when something really major breaks down like an engine or a water plant, because that’s the only time they can shine and their work will be valued or respected by their superiors.
They are prone to making the smallest issue as big as possible just to get the attention of the managers, because that’s the only way up the corporate ladder from their level.
Waiters and room boys and girls
Generally honest and hard-working, these gentle people have a tendency to make a purely service task into a
technical one, which at a certain extent can be comical.
Launch section guys
Perhaps the most realistic in appearance and attitude are found in the ‘launch section’ team. They have a reason for that too – extended periods of time spent in monotonous journeys between islands and airports wear them down which makes them difficult to either please or irritate.
The IT guys
The IT guys are all smiles and kindness until a computer terminal is said to be terminally ill and the IT guy is called in. From that moment the IT guy is bossy, unfriendly, talks in jargon and generally looks down on the rest of humanity.
However a by-product of Moore’s Law is that advances in technology will soon make them redundant, as networks, computers and devices become more and more user friendly and intelligent. They had their day in the era of Windows 3.2 and dot matrix printers, when being an IT guy was not for the faint of
Nowadays the IT guy is pretty much only still alive thanks to Microsoft Windows and the uncommonness of common sense.
Chefs and the kitchen crowd
There is an unending war between the restaurant guys and the kitchen folk because all the hard work is done
in the kitchen but all the tips are received at the restaurant.
However as most resorts are mindful of this war, generally their salary is higher than the rest which is some solace to the animosity. The kitchen guys generally do not subscribe to false smiles and half-hearted greetings, because their life is hectic and hard.
Gardeners, labourers and the like
At the bottom of the ladder, these people are resigned to their fate or position and automatically have the rubbery smile and artificial greetings for all guests and superiors.
No such smiles for their peers and others, however – ambition is not lacking in this department, as gardeners are frequently fond of watering the plants around the GMs office hoping that he or she will take notice of the effort…
There is much hypocrisy to go around in resort life, but its worth it for the the fun. If all resort folk, including the guests, were to be expressionless die-hard realists, life in a resort would be tough indeed.
Republished with permission from MaldivesResortWorkers, a site for resort staff to anonymously discuss the industry, their employers, and the realities of resort work.
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