The Patron Saint of Hospitalitarians*
I am a hospitalitarian. The fact that my spell-checker has marked this word with a squiggly red line indicates that this may not in fact be a word.
I will therefore define it now.
Hospitalitarian – (n) One who is employed in the field of hospitality management, including but not limited to hotels, restaurants, and tourism.
Despite my lifelong interest in all matters tourist, I never thought I’d be working in hospitality management. I had planned to be a teacher (which I did for a while), and architect (calculus did me in), a historic preservationist (which I still would do in a heartbeat, if there were stable money in it), and a social worker (I would be in jail now, or some other state-run institution).
I started teaching out of college – I was a glorified substitute teacher, moving from school to school, working mostly with middle school kids with literacy/language acquisition problems. I loved the kids, but I hated pretty much everything else about it. So when the school year ended and my program’s funding was uncertain for the next year, I decided to go ahead and get a temporary job, just in case. I wound up getting as a job as a front desk agent/night auditor at a hotel in my hometown.
And my life was never the same.
I loved it. I loved meeting new people who would be in my life for but a few short hours or days. I loved getting peripherally involved in the extremely dramatic lives of our housekeeping staff. I loved the overnight shifts, during which I had about two hours of actual work and about six hours to sit on my ass and read. I loved getting sloppily hit on from the other side of a five-foot-tall marble desk by drunk people coming out of the bar (one of only two bars in our county). To a lesser extent, I even loved the complainers, mostly because I discovered I had a knack for talking people out of the clock tower without having to give them too much in return.
I’ve been in this business for nearly eight years. (With an 18-month hiatus in the middle, when I pursued careers in retail management and call center customer service – never again). It’s as much a part of who I am as my extraordinarily curly hair and astoundingly bad taste in automobiles (single model year! foreign! known to have a bad electrical system! can’t turn off the wipers! can’t turn on the wipers! stock tire size only available special order!). This is not to say that I don’t ever come home from work muttering “ilovemyjobilovemyjobilovemyjob” through clenched teeth (wonder where the dental problems come from?). It’s stressful. Once you get into management, the hours are terrible, and so are your worries. Your work doesn’t stay at the hotel when you leave for the day. The complainers can really get to you when they start making it personal or won’t let it go after you have fixed their problem – and you can’t scream back or yell at them.
And I wouldn’t be anywhere else. (At least not for the same money – I’m not an idiot!)
* Amand, Goar, Julian the Hospitaller, Martha, Martin de Porres, Theodatus