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Assistant hotel manager: How I got my job and where I'm going

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I kind of fell into hospitality. I went to art school in San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, and in Portland, there was a call for entry for a muralist to do some work at this place called Rudy's Barbershops. So I did a mural for them and the manager who I was working with was so impressed by how punctual I was that she hired me as a front desk manager. So fast-forward two years, I was making my plans to move to New York, I knew I wanted to go, and I was at a holiday party for my company, and at the holiday party was the owner of the Ace Hotel who manages properties in a number of different locations, one of them being New York, and kind of chatted her up, and said, hey, I want to move to New York. And she was like, you should apply to work at the hotel when you come to New York. So, that's kind of exactly what I did. I moved to New York, I got a temporary job just so I could survive, and then I applied to the Ace Hotel, and got a position as a reservations agent. I don't want to say I got bored, I was there for two years, but I knew I was ready to move forward with something, I had an art opportunity. And so when I left the Ace Hotel, I decided to come here, which was to Nu Hotel, and I got a position as a front office manager here. I'm sort of naturally inclined to want to help people and to organize things, just to make things better for everyone, because I think when things are organized, people are happier. So, being the front office manager here was really challenging, but has since been very rewarding. I was promoted to a rooms division manager about a year, almost two years after I had worked as a front office manager, and then about nine months after that I was promoted to an assistant general managing position. Within hospitality, you really make the most money when you get promoted, so that's kind of a nice boot to the whole thing. There are a number of ways to become an assistant general manager. There's kind of two routes that people take primarily. One is that you would go to hospitality school, you would get your degree, and then you would apply for a position within a hotel, and that's really great. It's good to know, have that foundational background, and sort of all the theoretical information that's going to help you, but hospitality is really great, because it's also an industry where you don't need to do any of that. You can apply as a front desk agent, or a reservations agent, or whatever position in the hotel, and by making yourself an asset to the team, and showing that you care about the hotel, you can get promoted within. A lot of hotels, I would say the majority of hotels, always promote within. They're always looking for candidates who really care about the brand, who really care about the hotel who they can really promote in a positive way. I really don't apply for many jobs. I've been very lucky in that, I would say, 90% of the jobs I've applied for, I've gotten. But that's not because of anything, not because I'm amazing, it's because I really do a lot of analysis beforehand. When I'm looking for a job, I first of all identify how much money am I trying to make, and what do I want to do, and what are my skills, essentially. And then when I'm looking for a job, I'm considering these factors. I'm looking at, what are they asking for? Is this something that I can make that commitment to? Does my skillset match this skillset? Realistically, honestly, objectively does it match it match this skillset? Is this something I think I can actually do? Is this something that I want to do? And does this pay me the amount that I want? So, for me, I have a longer period of looking for a job, and then once I apply for a job, I'm committed, and I kind of go into the interview with this attitude of I already want this job, this job is perfect for me, here's why, I've really thought about it, I've thought about every aspect of this job, even the parts I don't know about, I've researched. Also, researching the company is really important when you go into an interview. I can't tell you how many interviews I've done personally where I ask people what do you know about Nu Hotel, and they're like, nothing. And I'm like, oh, great, awesome. Just doing a lot of research in advance to make sure that it's where I want to be, and I think that has made all of my interviews very positive. I've had a very lucky route with applying for jobs. For someone in my role as the assistant general manager, a typical path would be to start at the assistant general managing position, move into a general managing position, and move to an area general managing position. So general managers, obviously, overseeing the entire hotel. An area general manager would be to oversee numerous properties within the same area. And then from there I think you get a new set of goals. (laughing) Because that's kind of a good trajectory. If you wanted to be in hospitality as a career for a lifetime, eventually you could work in the corporate office, work to establish brand, brand development. And you could also be responsible for being part of teams that buy hotels. I mean there's a lot of different ways you can go once your in the corporate office. When it comes to my personal goals, what I want to do and how I want to spend my time, for me I think it is going to be valuable for me to continue in hospitality, definitely at the GM level. I think that knowing how to run a successful operation is going to be valuable for a couple of reasons, and it kind of depends on where I end up going. I would like to work in the corporate office in a sense, and help to develop the brand a little bit more. I think that I'm really good at identifying how the local community can be a part of hotels in a way that makes them really important parts of the community. That's something that I would like to work on more, but that really depends on whether or not that's in the objective of the corporation itself. So I think that is a goal for me, personally, but if that's not within the goal of this particular organization, or maybe it's just not a good fit for hospitality, I think there's other ways that my skills of running an operation, could work well in another field. One field I've sort of thought about utilizing these skills would be, potentially running operations at a museum, or a larger gallery, or something like that. They have very similar structures when is comes to managing your budget, managing labor, managing expenses. Also just making sure that the day-to-day operations are happening the way that they're supposed to be. So I think a lot of those skills could apply. Personally, I also would like to just keep showing hard work. I've setup a life where my career in hospitality is able to assist in my career in the art world, which is really wonderful.
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