Grand Hyatt Shanghai… ah… I remember my first day as clear as it was 3 year’s ago.
I remember when the HR at my current Hyatt told me a joke, and this was as recent as 2 months ago but now it makes so much sense. Hyatt, in a joking fashion means Hurry Your A%% There Tomorrow! I mean, isn’t that incredible?
What does Marriott stand for I wonder…
When my papers and visas were all processed, Grand Hyatt Shanghai asked me twice how soon could I arrive.
Well, 4 days after I get my visa I said my goodbyes to friends and family, and I was on my flight back to the Middle Kingdom.
My excitement was real. I figured since one of my college best friends was still in Shanghai, I’d check-in, get a bite to eat, then hit the club. To celebrate being a manager in such a luxury hotel at 22 years old! Get wasted, relax, repeat, and start working in a few days.
Then reality set in, although I did party, my arrival was like this:
“Im here to check in, I’m one of the new big bad assistant front office managers (I didn’t actually say big bad, but my chest was flexed) oh, and I spoke all in Chinese cause ya know, why not right? The Guest Service Manager came to greet me:
“Mr. Cooper, welcome, we’ve all been waiting for you, let the bellman send your bags to the room and I’ll do your tour of the hotel!”
Tour?? I thought with a puzzled look. “What tour? My schedule said that was on Monday” (I arrived on a Thursday night.)
“Oh I see, well I’ll do a tour right now for you. Besides the Front Office Manager wants you to start tomorrow”
GRAND HYATT SHANGHAI…
“Well sure I guess, I just got off of a 14-hour flight but yeah I’d love a quick tour.” I said with a unconvinced look he definitely picked up on my sarcasm and said… “Great!! We’ll start from the back of house service area then walk through housekeeping, front office, and guest rooms. It should only take an hour!”
I’m pretty sure it was 11pm when I got to the hotel. I didn’t know it then, but the GSM (Guest Service Manager) would actually be my mentor despite being of the same employment level. He had worked for Grand Hyatt Shanghai for 17 Year’s since its opening and was quite content. Although he’s okay with me using his name, I’m gonna use his initials because it’s just too funny… FYU (I’m dead serious).
After the tour ended and I was in my room I showered, refreshed, and rushed out, my friend was already in the club! On my way out, I noticed something absolutely important and this is very profound. I’m a foreigner, a black guy at that, anywhere I go, I’m going to be seen. The fact that I can’t leave the hotel without passing the front desk means… if I’m clubbing, drunk, or bring back company, I’ll be seen… and judged… and how fast did I realize this?
FYU (Guest Service Manager) was waiting in the lobby, doing lobby management, we all had to do minimum 2 hours a day of lobby management.
“Hey DC, (my nickname but I certainly didn’t tell him that, we weren’t cool like that yet) on your way to club? Gonna meet some pretty girls and get drunk yeah ?”
“Nah…. I’m just going to get a quick drink at my friends house.” (I can’t have them thinking I’m a party animal alcoholic foreigner, not that I was, most of the time, I actually carry myself quite well.)
And with that, I was in the elevator from the lobby on the 54th floor back to the ground level. (Grand Hyatt Shanghai is on the 53rd floor to the 87th floor of the Jin Mao tower)
So, yeah, HYATT lives up to it’s name, hurry your a## there tomorrow. They intended me to start ASAP, and who can blame them for that. I did end up clubbing hard, but my advice is, to double check and then, to check again your starting schedules. Often in China, the expectation and excitement to have an international manager is to the point that they want you to work immediately as was in my case. Stress the adjustment period since you’ll be jet-lagged and it’ll be miserable for a few days. Don’t burn yourself out at the most critical time, and definitely don’t club and work the next day!
Next I’ll tell you about the club experience in the next article! Thanks for stopping by hoteliers and see you in the next time!