Thursday, 30 April 2015

Go Home

I'd put in for four days off in the 'off' book. Had some business to take care of in the North. I asked one of the office managers if it would be ok, and he said it would be, slightly hurriedly and dismissively, but, he assured me it would be ok, so I thought it would be ok.

It wasn't easy, what happened in the North, and I won't go into it all here. But I arrived back in work, Sunday morning, tired and emotional and sort of broken inside. Hauling my self as you do when your body's like a dead weight, into the sad canteen, I sat down and confided in one of my new Polish friends. 

She's a divorcee and mother of one in her early 40s; a veteran of the European hotel industry. Thin and shrewd with large, attentive eyes, she hears me out and then shakes her head sympathetically. 'It's better' she says, 'Trust me. You'll have peace, holy peace'. I nod and sip my tea tearfully. 

                                                      Would this motivate you?...

When I get downstairs to the basement I'm told 'They're looking for you'. 'They' meaning the Management.

'Where were you on Wednesday?', says the main office manager, an Indian woman in her late 40s who I've never seen smile.

She barely looks up from her paperwork. One of the supervisors, Leva from Latvia, is standing beside her staring directly at me, wide-eyed and riled.

'I'd put in the off book that I'm taking a few days off'.

'You don't just write in the book what you want and you get what you want! Do you think that everyone who writes what they want gets what they want? You cannot all have the days off that you want'.

St-ress.

I mean, they guarantee me just four hours per week in my contract, I'm virtually bogus self employed, what do I really owe them? I feel like I'm freelance.

'But I asked the supervisor here and...'

Barked interruption: 'You were supposed to work and you were not here and it created many problems for us'.

'But why didn't you call me?

I might as well have asked them for a warm buttered croissant brought to me on a silver tray.

'CALL YOU? We don't call you, you call US!'

Because I don't like being yelled at, and I'm feeling bad enough as it is, I don't respond. I slink off and wait to sign in at the window.

When it comes to doling out our allocation sheets, rape alarms and master keys, I'm left waiting.

The girls scramble to sign in, grab their sheets, and scan them intently. How many super-suites, how many departure rooms? How hard is the day going to be? Often there'll be rueful groans and sighs. Sundays are the worst. So many departures meaning a much more intense clean and monitoring by the supervisors.

They take their trays and cloths and get going to the lift. I’m last. My name is on the rota and list, and I've signed in, but there is no number of rooms by my name.

'I don't have any rooms allocated' I say once everyone has gone save for one of the office helpers who also cleans the public areas. She's standing next to me.

The office manager shouts from her desk: 'Yes, you have no rooms because we didn't know if you were going to turn up or not'.

'But you knew I was coming, I was on the rota!'.

The response is for both her and the supervisor to start shouting at me at the same time. I can't make out what they're saying. They're just outraged that I'm talking back to them, questioning them even.

'I can't hear you when you're both shouting at me?', I say firmly, 'Can you stop shouting at me? This is abusive behaviour'.

Well that goes down like a bomb.....


3 comments:

  1. Thankyou for writing this blog. It's always a really interesting read. The amount of times I've used hotel room in the past and not really thought about what goes on behind the scenes shames me. Thanks again.

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  3. Hi there, It would be great to talk to you for my research - I am working on a new film all about London and the people who live and work in the city. My email is rcumella@gmail.com. Many thanks, Rachel

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