Work Experience Week 1

man standing in front of front desk

Photo by Helena Lopes on

A posted here that I had to do 2 weeks of work experience related to customer service for my course, and I was worried that I wouldn’t get anywhere. Thankfully the hotel where my sister works accepted me to do the 2 weeks so I started there last Monday. And I have to say…. It was the LONGEST week of my entire life!

I don’t even know why!! It just dragged. I woke up on Wednesday and my heart dropped when I realised that it was only Wednesday, and that I had another 2 days to do. I work 9-5 Monday to Friday so during the week it’s quiet, so that is probably why it just seemed to drag. Then on Friday it was mad because a lot were checking in for the weekend. I work as a receptionist there.

The first day I really didn’t do much at all. The other receptionist did everything and I just kind of looked and listened to her, so that day was rather long!

Tuesday the front house manager was in and he got stuck into showing me things and getting me to practice how to use the hotel operating system. I never answered the phone but he was in the office talking to another person and to my HORROR the phone rang! I was looking at it thinking “Oh god I don’t want to answer it!” I ran into where he was and he was still talking and I thought “Oh I better answer it!” So I did and I was so nervous! I forget what the phone call was about and I probably didn’t have a clue what to say but I did it anyway. The front house manager came out to me and he said he was very surprised that I answered it on my second day. He trained other people and they didn’t answer it at all during their first week. He said that they just let it ring!

Now the only reason I answered it was because there was literally no one else to do it, so I felt I had to! I thought that if a person came over to the desk and there’s me standing next to a ringing phone then it wouldn’t look good. So for the past few days I was answering phones and usually passing it on to another receptionist or just asking them to call back. I successfully reserved a room for a lady though which I was so happy about. Usually I get flustered but I calmed down and took all her details and the room type and everything so when I put the phone down the manager came out and he said I did very well. Apparently he was listening in the office.

But if anyone who has worked with the Opera system in a hotel knows how difficult it is to use. This is the system that the hotel uses and it’s just so complicated. I can’t describe how hard it is, but I was shocked at the amount of things I have to learn. The special rates for rooms, special rates for different businesses, how to do multiple bookings in one persons name, printing out VAT receipts, loads of different billing payments for the different ways that people booked such as through,, companies who pay their employees to stay at the hotel. The list is really endless! I thought it would be much simpler!

So for the past week I’ve been trying to get my head around the system but it’s very difficult. And the thing is If someone asks about something specific I can’t even try and guess because I’ll get it wrong. You either know it or you don’t, which made me feel very helpless.

Simple things I didn’t know, like what food is served in the restaurant, what time the gym closes at, but I’m slowly learning the basics of the job.

On Friday I learned how to book taxis and even that isn’t straightforward. I was trying to call a local taxi and it just wasn’t working. So I had to ask one of the receptionists and she said “Oh you have to put 9 at the beginning of the number”. Like how could I have known that!? Something simple like calling a number and I needed help.

I’ve another week to do and I really do wish that it was only for 1 week! It’s just so long and I actually miss going to school! I’ve learned a lot and met some lovely people but I’d rather go back to school now. I don’t get paid which doesn’t help!

I realise that I am good at talking to guests and I do have good people skills, but I’ve also realised how much I don’t know, that receptionists have to put up with a lot of sh*t from guests, and they really should be paid more than what they do. (I’ll talk about that in another post)

I hope next week goes faster and before I know it it will be 5 o clock on Friday!


5 thoughts on “Work Experience Week 1

  1. Oh this was a joy to read. You learnt so much and did so well. The first day at work in any job is absolutely exhausting. It’s all that new stuff you are learning. You showed inititaive (but didn’t over reach yourself) which is excellent and is the sort of thing employers look for. All jobs are complicated until you get the hang of it and I think that you have experience of many aspects of the Hotel trade that will really stand you in good stead when it comes to job applications/interviews. You also discovered what you really enjoy (and are good at obviously) – working with people. Sounds like the staff in the hotel are nice & very generous with their time too. Just be glad it’s only 1 more week. You’ll be in college soon enough missing the action of the hotel.

    • Thankfully today went quicker than last Monday so I think this week will fly. I’ve actually been offered a part time job but I don’t think I will take it. I don’t handle stress very well so I think I would struggle with angry guests, plus I don’t think it will help me mentally either. But everyone is all very nice which is great when working somewhere! Thanks very much!

      • That’s such a compliment to have been offered a part-time job. I’m surprised you say you don’t handle stress well as you’ve been teaching in China, there’s plenty of stress in teaching and in living abroad. You’d probably do better coping with the stress than you think. Don’t say no to the part time job just yet. Wait to the end of the second week to decide. Yes, working is such as boost to self-esteem and its lovely to have work colleagues, especially if they are nice people. I think you can learn to deal with cross guests. Especially as the stuff you were learning about dealing with complaints at college sounded like a set of excellent strategies to use. Well done on the job offer!

      • There is so much to learn in any new job (we forget) and that in itself is very tiring. I expect you got a bit stressed beacuse you wanted to do well, too. That’s not a bad thing and the hotel people clearly recognised that.

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