Its new years eve week and I am exhausted, I don’t much mind admitting that the rose tinted glasses have been well and truly removed. Our reality is clear and you know what? Its still exactly where we want to be. In-spite of what has been a very difficult week we are still good (we checked with each other just to make sure!)
This job is bloody hard work. This industry is bloody demanding and it’s so unbelievably easy to lose sight of whats actually important in the ever elusive pursuit of pleasing everyone (except yourself at times!). Its been hard graft this week. There have been some tears of frustration and there have been a couple of time outs too!
As many people do, I decided to try and start the New Year with a better diet so I cooked Dan and I a tasty, vegetable packed chilli for dinner on the Sunday before New Years. A week later I actually sat down to eat it.
Best laid plans don’t always work out how you intend…Lesson number Two for the mountains and a pretty good life lesson generally.
Most evenings I do a little tour around our Chalets to see the guests and the team. A chance to manage any questions or concerns and a great opportunity to have a nice chat with the people that stay with us. It can be, and normally is, a really lovely part of my job.
Once my visits are complete I can typically sit down for the evening and have some dinner with Dan and perhaps a bit of a chill out. Dinner time for us right now is normally somewhere around 10pm so the hours are long in this world but we usually get some time off during the day for some snow fun. Again…a thousand times better for my general well being than sitting behind a computer for 10 hours a day!
So. We are about to sit down for the tasty chilli (see photo above) to finally consume some vegetables in our standard cheese heavy diet and we get a knock on our door.
Dan and I actually live in an apartment underneath one of our chalets and the door knock was a member of the team reaching out for some help. Great! We are always happy to help where we can and its a big part of my job to support the team.
Fast forward 48 hours of at elbow support and sadly the team member decides that despite our collective best efforts to guide and help, this world / lifestyle/ job/ role/ experience really isn’t for them and ultimately decides to resign. Bugger! (the expletives were far richer at the time I can assure you!)
There are two main reasons for the ‘bugger’ moment. 1. The person who resigns is lovely, a great member of the team , has had all the training and makes amazing food which we devour when offered and 2. We are now 1 person down in a very small team with not much capacity to pick up the slack.
So I am one team member down. I have a chalet full of guests on one of the busiest weeks of the year and need to come up with a plan sharpish!
So apparently staffing is a fairly standard problem in the mountains around January time. It’s almost expected and actually the job related posts on the local notice boards have gone through the roof of late.
The season is in its 6th (ish) week and its about now that people decide to move on, change positions, think the grass is greener, don’t enjoy the roles or don’t feel its right for them or just get tired/ bored…sometimes its a combination of the above. Its also the point that those who didn’t make it out for the start of the season due to wanting to spend Christmas at home now start to look for positions.
All in all its a fairly turbulent time in resort but one that seems to happen year in year out. The small mercy is that the first few weeks in January are normally a bit quieter in terms of guest numbers so companies and staff can usually cope with a little unplanned turbulence.
‘Coping’ however is very different to thriving and this week we coped!
As the end of the year approaches it feels like social media is jammed packed with people celebrating the start of a new decade and doing 10 year flash backs to see whats changed for them.
Our lives have changed beyond recognition in 10 years. In 2010 Dan and I were a couple of years into a renovation house and starting to think about what project we could tackle next. We were heavily into over landing and planning our Moroccan adventure and I was starting my Jaguar Land Rover career with my focus very much on climbing the ladder to the lofty heights of management.
We were on the treadmill of life. Turns out I don’t much like treadmills!
At some point over the past decade we both decided corporate careers didn’t really suit us and continuously ran out of time to enjoy the benefits of our hard work. Work Smarter Not Harder!
Another interesting ( and probably should have been expected) side effect of New Years is the crowds!
This time last week there where no queues and there where parking spaces everywhere,the shops had not run out of orange juice and toilet roll. I could get a beer in the local bar without having to elbow people out of the way to protect my personal space. I could get on and off a bus without having to plan my exit strategy 3 stops in advance. This time last week it was Christmas and sure it was busy but nothing like how busy it is for New Years week!
This has been our hardest week in the mountains so far. In hindsight I would have changed quite a few things about how I managed this week but its all good experience and honestly I am very much looking forward to the crowds thinning out next week and having some quieter mountain time!
As a team we came together and it was really lovely to see. The guests all left happy and I learned a little bit more about myself which is refreshing!
Over the years I have spent quite a lot of time both personally and professionally studying human nature. The ‘seasonaire’ is a unique kind of person but not as unique as the ‘customer’. There might even be enough material to warrant a blog about that in its own right! Anonymous though obviously!
The beautiful and occasionally overlooked thing about this industry is that ultimately everyone is here to have a good time (guests and staff alike). So whilst hiccups occur its often how you deal with them that makes the difference.
Next week we can start all over again and see what challenges come our way. For now though I am happy to report that we made it through. There is light at the end of the tunnel!
To find out what we got up to last week click here