Emily is one of my best friends and I am very happy that she’s the first to grace this new segment with her presence.
Today she answers 21 questions about her life and experience in the hospitality industry here in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Please tell us who you are and what you do?
My name is Emily, I’m from South Korea. It’s almost been 2 years since I came to Canada as well as joined the hotel business.
What inspired you to go into the hospitality industry?
I used to be an English teacher back in Korea which bored me a lot as I had to meet the same people every day and say the same things all year round. This job was totally the opposite, and it helps me have fun at work.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
I take part in check-in shift, so I go to work at 3 pm and get off at 11 pm which is perfect hours for night owls like me. During my shift, I check-in people(of course), take tons of phone calls and make group reservations as requested from the sales department, clean the lobby, organize and restock our market and coffee station.
On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your work-life balance?
9. Of course, you have to work on national holidays and everybody’s working when you’re dying of boredom on your days off. But, that doesn’t bother me as my family’s in Korea. Thankfully, I have quite a few friends working flexible shifts like me.
What would you say is an important skill to have, working at a hotel?
Being prompt and accurate. Your service becomes meaningless if it’s not offered at the right time, no matter how perfect the service itself was.
What’s a unique skill you have that has come in handy?
A great smile and fast typing (It helps you to boost up the speed of the urgent tasks).
What’s the worst habit to have in the hospitality industry?
Putting off your tasks. Don’t believe in stickies, notifications, anything you think will help you to remember and finish the task ‘later’. Nothing can help you when you have surging guests.
What’s your favourite part of working at a hotel?
The moment guests smile back at you. My guests are usually very tired whenever I see them because of a long flight, unnecessarily long business meeting, traveling with little kids etc. But when they start talking to me, they find themselves smiling at one point. It’s more fruitful than anything to see them feeling better after a short conversation with me.
What’s your least favorite part of working at a hotel?
None. I think this must be my calling(haha).
What keeps you motivated?
When guests smile, give me good reviews, and my paycheque.
Books or TV shows?
What’s your favourite book?
Whatever I’m reading at the moment. So for now, ‘The man who mistook his wife for a hat’ by Oliver Sacks.
On a scale of absolutely yes to don’t do it, what would you say to someone looking to work in the hospitality industry for the money?
Don’t do it. You can tell by the fact that I keep saying ‘Guests smile’ is the best thing you can get from the job.
On a scale of 1- 10 rate your job security ?
10. But, it depends on the management. I’ve never seen anybody fired from my hotel so far, regardless of the job performance.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to work at a hotel?
Have problem solving skills and offer good service.
How do you like living In Edmonton?
Love it! Perfect density, perfect weather(except for the two weeks in February), perfect people.
What’s your favourite thing to do here?
Learning new recipes. I was only used to Korean and a few kinds of western food, but now I’m trying Greek, Ukrainian, Nigerian, Indian, and so many different kinds of delicious food since I came to Canada.
Who’s your biggest inspiration?
It’s like the image of Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes. There’s this ideal girl in my mind, who consists of the best parts of the people I’ve met so far in my life. She whips me to be the best of myself every day(Not that I listen to her all the time :).
Here’s a time capsule, what message would you send to your 5year old self?
There’s nothing for you to do except for being happy every second of your day.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully, I’m a general manager of a hotel by then and, have the guts never to get nervous in any circumstances.
If you had to do it all over again would you choose to work in a hotel?
Definitely. I wouldn’t waste my precious 5 years looking for my calling and would get right into the hotel business.