Today I’m sharing my article I shared in Sally Cronin’s new series – Life Changing Moments, where writers share stories about pivotal moments in their lives. I share my story about my decision to go after a job I wanted that wasn’t advertised.
Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Spotlight – Life Changing Moments – Creating my own Future by D.G. Kaye
Welcome to Cafe and Bookstore Author spotlight. I am inviting authors in the Cafe to share what they consider to be a defining moment in their lives that resulted in a major positive change. If you would like to participate you can find all the details: Author Spotlight – Life Changing Moments
The next author who is sharing one of her life changing moments is resident relationship columnist D.G. Kaye.. Debby Gies…At age 23 Debby decided that she needed to take control of the way her career was heading….
Life Changing Moments – Creating my own Future
When I first decided I wanted to work in the hospitality industry, my intentions were to get into the Sales department end of the hotel business. Sales were my natural talent and how I made my living, selling clothes in both retail and wholesale, in between doing secretarial temp jobs in the first few years I moved away from home. I could never decide what I wanted to be when I grew up, despite my childhood wishes of thinking I wanted to become a lawyer or a journalist. With nobody inspiring me, I let the chips fall where they may many times in my life. When I got bored or more ambitious, I’d change jobs, and sometimes careers. Never being fired, I always left good bridges behind wherever I’d worked. But, as I was approaching my mid-20s, I decided it was time for a serious change of career at something that offered a better future. I checked the want ads in the newspapers back then, daily, and nothing appealed to me. So, I gave myself a week to sort myself out without pressure and focused on what would I like to do for a career besides just searching the ads for what was available. And then I took an old-fashioned approach and chased after a job I wanted to have and not just settling for any old job, and I landed myself in a serendipitous place.
What did I want to do next in my young and exciting life? At 23 years of age, I’d already had a busy resume. The eternal question stuck with me since childhood and through high school, when most kids had already mapped out a plan for their futures. What did I want to be when I grew up?
By this time, after working both retail and wholesale, I bounced around a few stores, always leaving on my own free will or businesses closing. My high school typing skills came in handy for the many temp office jobs I took on to get by in between my longer retail stunts. But after my last job in women’s clothing retail sales, I’d had enough. It was time to assert myself and get into something I’d really enjoy and possibly start a long-time career in something more challenging.
So, how does a girl get the job she’s after with such a busy resume? I had great recommendations and referrals, always left on good terms, good typing skills, good people skills, good organizational skills, all I needed was to choose something I’d be happy getting up for each morning and inspiring enough to go to work every day. I just needed a chance to get my foot in the door somewhere. I knew if I could just get the chance to present myself, my skills and willingness to work, matched with my outgoing personality, it would land me a job in a place where there was room to grow.
Despite my sorrow for leaving the clothing business, I knew that I’d be better off leaving it than having to face the constant daily temptations every time a new shipment of stock came in that had me calculating just how I could financially manage to purchase yet another article of clothing I probably didn’t need, but my passion for fashion just couldn’t do without. Those wholesale employee discounts were too tempting. And my finagling of finances on the ‘I’ll pay you for that out of my next paycheck’ was never-ending. I’d amassed enough clothes to last me till the next fashion trend change ten times over.
I took some time to myself and put some good thought into where I’d want to work next. I knew I wanted to work with lots of people, as opposed to the lonely life of salesgirl awaiting the next customer, so I could mingle more with people. Back in the early to mid-80s, there were quite a few shows on TV focused on hotels. One popular show fascinated me, titled Hotel. The show focused on the upper management and what goes on behind the scenes with all the fun events and people the hotels hosted, and something struck me after watching another episode. I thought working in the hospitality business would be the perfect job for me. But how was I to get such a job without prerequisites?
I stewed over my idea for a few days before finally sitting down and writing out the dreaded resume. I put every job I’d had on that baby, starting from my first job at 14 working Saturdays as a cashier at my uncle’s pharmacy. It was a gruel as I knew I’d only have one chance to make a good impression, so my resume had to appear professional, and until that time, I’d never needed one. All the retail jobs I snagged hired me on the spot with only asking for a reference or two. The typing/secretarial temp jobs I’d done, I’d gone through a headhunter who was basically just looking for good typing skills, which I’d passed with flying colors, thanks to my 90 words per minute typing speed I gained in high school.
I was a crafty girl, full of bright ideas and solutions. I knew for this big change I was going to have to come up with something clever to get myself in a hotel—somewhere.
My brain worked overtime as I continued to look through the newspaper want ads daily. Nothing struck my fancy, and there was nothing listed for hotels and hospitality except mostly food and beverage jobs and front desk staff. So, I decided I was going to try my approach. I couldn’t wait anymore days or weeks for a job as funds were running low, and I had rent to pay. I decided I wouldn’t wait for the perfect ad and planned to make up my own list of hotels I’d like to work at. I pulled out the old Yellow Pages Phone book and picked out a handful of hotels that appealed to me. I copied their addresses and phone numbers and planned to call each hotel that appealed to me and ask to speak to Human Resources, chat them up a bit and then ask if they were looking for any sales help. I was going to sell myself. At the time I’d called there were no vacancies for positions, but I always ended the call with asking if they’d mind if I sent forth my resume for them to keep on file should something open up. They all indulged me.
I completed my resume, drove over to my dad’s office and typed it up, calling attention to the HR folks’ names I’d spoken with and adding a little reminder for each of them about our prior conversations. It never hurt to refresh their memories!
Within two weeks, I received a few calls asking if I could come in for an interview. One of my top-choice prospects calls came from Robert in HR at the Carlton Inn Hotel in downtown Toronto—exactly where I was hoping to get a position. Robert informed me he was impressed with my resume and our chat, and mentioned that although I was hoping for a position in sales, he thought I’d fit the bill as a fill in for the position of Executive secretary to the General Manager, as the current secretary would soon be taking a year’s maternity leave.
Those good old temp jobs on my resume had paid off!
Best job ever! Within weeks I’d mastered the so called ‘computer/word processor’ typewriter. I was efficient, friendly, happy and complimented by my handsome boss and General Manager, Mr. V., for my speed and efficiency and handling disgruntled calls and letters from patrons. And my already large social life was about to grow bigger with all the new friendships (and sometimes unwanted attention) I made. It was the roaring 80s and staff parties, outings and game nights in the hotel lounge bar offered good fun and entertainment.
And did I mention my tall, fair, single, and handsome boss?
Me and my two bosses – J. Vaskas, General Manager and Ursala Fernandez, Executive Assistant Manager, office party
I was in the prime-time of my happiness in those days. A young woman living on her own with a prestigious job she looked forward to going to daily and a bonus of having the privilege of looking at and conversing with a handsome boss. It was just like the old movies I used to love to watch back then in the ‘Madmen-esque’ style of working environment. I’d met some exciting people, some longtime clients and patrons of the hotel—sports figures and some movie stars too. It didn’t hurt that the hotel was located directly next door to my city, Toronto’s, famed Maple Leaf Gardens arena where concerts and sporting events were held. Plus, I had a free permanent parking spot in the hotel which came in handy many times over when not working and having a golden free spot to park in downtown Toronto. Good times, great fun, great learning experience—and the money was pretty darn good for a girl who wormed her way in. . . Continue reading at Sally’s Smorgasbord