Non-negotiables when you work in hospitality
Many things in life can be negotiated, from the price you pay for your home to how early your teenager will return to it on a Saturday night. When accepting a new job, you can even try to negotiate the salary you’ll receive. But there are a few things that are simply non-negotiable whether you’re just beginning your hospitality career or have spent decades in the industry.
Non-negotiable: The length and frequency of rest breaks
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, federal law does not require your employer to give you lunch or coffee breaks. Most do—even in hospitality—but depending on scheduling and workload, you may find yourself with as little as five or 10 minutes a couple times a day to use the restroom, get off your feet, have a snack and relax. You may get a bit more time if you work in a state with rest break requirements.
Non-negotiable: Staying busy at all times
Whether you’re working behind the front desk of a hotel or in the kitchen of a restaurant, you will always have more than one thing to do—even during slower periods. With phones to answer, paperwork to deal with, guests to serve, problems to solve, food to prep, dishes to wash and surfaces to clean, there will always be something with which you will be expected to fill your time.
Non-negotiable: Aching feet
Unless you’re working behind the scenes and at a desk in accounting or marketing, you’re going to spend most of your shifts—which can quickly become longer than eight hours when your teammates call in sick or fail to show up on time—on your feet. Even the most comfortable shoes in the world aren’t a match for that much spent standing.
Non-negotiable: Night, weekend and holiday shifts
The ‘traditional’ work hours of nine to five do not exist in hospitality. Hotels have to be ready to respond to guests 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Restaurants need employees from early morning to the wee hours of the night—even when their dining rooms are closed. Sure, you may be able to request the occasional weekend or holiday off in advance, but it’s unlikely you’ll get to spend all of them away from your job.
Non-negotiable: Demanding customers
You’ve probably heard the old saying, “You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time.” It’s particularly true in hospitality. From restaurant customers who are unhappy with perfect meals to hotel guests who request the impossible, every shift is likely to require you to deal with at least one complaint, argument or unreasonable demand.
Despite these non-negotiables, many hospitality professionals still find the industry an extremely exiting—and even fun—one in which to work. With no two days ever the same and thousands of customers coming and going, there’s little chance of boredom. Add to this the constant opportunity to learn new skills and unbeatable advancement possibilities and you have yourself a career which few others can beat.