With unemployment in a holding pattern, it’s only natural that people will begin to consider opportunities out of their chosen field. Such is the case with today’s reader question:
I am currently an HR intern (unpaid) at a small hotel with 145 employees. Recently the hotel general manager offered me a job in the hotel, but not in HR. It’s a front office position. The GM said the hotel doesn’t have the budget to create another HR position (there’s already a HR manager, who is mentoring me). I’ve spent money going to school for HR. Taking a hotel front office job seems like a conflict to me. So far, I haven’t received any paid job offers in HR. The front office job has good benefits and possibility of going full time. Any suggestions?
A while back, I answered a similar question about leaving and returning to HR. Since I didn’t want to duplicate the same response, I decided to share a different angle.
Operational positions, like in a front office, have many similar aspects to human resources. Things like customer service, managing unhappy guests, and conflict resolution. There are also skills in the areas of organization (i.e. assigning rooms), detail-orientation (as in group master accounts) along with many others. While it’s not exactly the same, there are some very comparable skills.
My point here is that going into the operation doesn’t have to be viewed as abandoning your human resources education. In fact, it could be a huge plus for a human resources career. One of the biggest complaints I’ve ever heard about the human resources profession is in the area of operational knowledge. I can’t tell you how many operational managers complained about HR pros who never arrived early, stayed late, worked on weekends or holidays. They also complained that when the operation had a “all hands on deck” – HR was nowhere to be found.
As a human resources pro who used to work in the hotel industry, I’ve washed dishes when a steward walked off the job. Cleaned hotel rooms when the housekeeping department had a major checkout day. Helped the banquet team reset a meeting room in record time. And assisted the kitchen staff in plating thousands of meals for party guests.
Yes, I did these things to be a team player. But I also did them to learn and be a part of the operation. It made me a better HR professional. I had a greater frame of reference for what happens in the operation.
Think about it. If you’re ever offered the opportunity to spend time in the operation, how will you answer the question?