I realise that in order for my blog to serve its purpose for future J1 Interns, I think it’s about time I actually talk about work.
Side note: The pictures you seeing are of the main club house where, the annual opening season party is hosted. Each year members go up north during the summer months and return to Florida during the winter months, to commemorate this moment they through a big shindig! Unfortunately I didn’t get to work the event which I was pretty sad about, but on the bright side I didn’t have stay till 2am resetting the main dining for breakfast.
Anyway, back to it.
It’s easy for me to sit here and talk about the fun I’m having here in the States, however as hard as we play, we’re working even harder. 6 day weeks, 9+ day straights, back to back doubles and all the foot ache that comes with it.
See one thing I had to understand is that country clubs are not come and go hotels and restaurants, they’re homes, mere extensions to what are already vast and luxurious homes. Give or take a few guests and new faces, you see the same people every day, sometimes three times a day should you be so misfortunate.
I’m joking, the members aren’t that bad, I mean some yes but for the most part they’re great, so long as you remember their name, member number, favorite drink, dish, allergies and taste preferences, favorite colour, birth weight of their 1st born child, mum’s birthday, social security number and the name of their goldfish when they were five. It takes some getting used to, but like were always told there’s no better sound than hearing your own name.
The hardest part is probably making mistakes. Now of course mistakes happen, in most cases they can be rectified, which is great for you and me, but to some members it’s like Armageddon. In a restaurant it wouldn’t be much of a biggy, you would just put it down to having an off day and forget about it, forget about them.
Ohhhh no Honey!
Chances are you’re going to have serve them again tomorrow, so no pressure.
Basically the demand, expectation and level of neediness is beyond anything I have experienced. The way I see it (especially when they have guests who are probably members at other country clubs), it’s like inviting friends over to your house for a dinner party, but really you just want them to see your brand new 55” smart TV and show off your self-taught cooking skills.
Despite having three weeks of solid training, nothing could prepare us for the cultural differences and disputes that lay ahead. ‘Tomayto or Tomarto’ three months in and that’s still a running joke, chips or fries, jackets or bakers (potato), zucchini or courgette, o-re-ga-no or oreg-ano, chilli con carne as a soup?!
The list goes on.
Coming from Europe, where service is a very stiff and rusty operation matched with an ‘if it’s not broken don’t fix it attitude’, it’s hard to get into the animated and (what a miserable Brit like myself would class as) over enthusiastic service that members expect. But as alien as it felt to start with, I faked it till I made it and now it’s almost second nature, it’s impossible to serve the same people every day and not develop some genuine curiosity about their personal lives.
In reciprocation and after a short time, members will remember your name, ask about your home life and continuously wish you the best. Mostly importantly since were a no tipping club, we live for comment cards, nothing better than a lovely handwritten not affirming your greatness.
It’s a strange relationship to build but it can be very rewarding, members won’t hesitate to sing your praises to managers or ask you to work their private events, that’s where the dollar signs are at!
But again don’t be mistaken, none the above is a given. You have to work hard, you have to be consistent, you have to go beyond, but most of all you have to care. This is a great opportunity in establishments with great reputations, however to appreciate that you have to have a passion for service and hospitality. Otherwise it’s a very tedious and intense atmosphere, arguments over orders and tears over mistakes there’s never a dull moment.
Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”