Two months ago, on Friday, the thirteenth, I received news that my hotel was sold and would go through re-branding. Like all my colleagues, I was shocked. I mean, what exactly happened? We held the highest rates in the city. We were making record-breaking revenue and profits. We received the prestigious Five-Star award (2 years in a row!). Yet, we were sold? I know. It happens. It’s a business transaction. But isn’t that just a start-up thing? I thought it only happens to struggling businesses. Whatever the case it, let’s just say that I never thought it would happen to me.
I know that I’m still very young in my career, but I do have this sense of loyalty to this brand and company that hired me out of college, trained me, and even welcomed me back after my “prodigal” stint.
For the last two months, everything has been unknown, everything has been a surprise, and everyday includes a new goodbye.
Nothing in this life is guaranteed.
Even though I know this to be true, this has been especially real. Today is my last day of employment with this company…and this is what I’ve realized: My relationship with my hotel can be compared to my relationship with Christ.
- I’ve found my identity there. Like most people, I confess that I find my identity in my job and in my career. I love telling people that I work in the hotel industry, like it makes me unique or special. Obviously, it’s really nothing. But it’s true. I take pride in telling others that I work at some “fancy-shmancy,” prestigious hotel and that I get to meet celebrities. I also definitely struggle with assuming my worth and identity is in my job title. Within a 2-month period though, this “identity” has been taken away from me. But my identity is in Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of my soul. While I’m not the best at being proud of this identity, this is what makes me truly special. I am loved and am the daughter of the King who does not look at my resume.
- There is community. A hotel is a very interesting place. On one hand, it is a place where people from around the world find rest and a place to call “home” for a few days. On the other hand, it is a place where people from all over the world come to work. My colleagues are from Munich, Toronto, Paris, Miami, Lima, Manila, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Boston, Austin, Bangkok, Edinburgh, and so many other amazing cities. These people gave up their lives to come to work in a hotel in a place where they have no family or friends (something I have crazy respect for). As a result, your coworkers become the community everybody is desperately seeking. It’s not just about the hours I’ve spent with this “family,” but you the struggle, the fun, achieving goals, the all-nighters with night audit, the sympathy we have with each other when guests yell at you, and all the crazy things that happen in a hotel. I’ve made some AMAZING friends here. In the end, the hospitality industry still has the highest turnover rates and people transfer in and out like hotcakes. But the community I have in Christ is not temporary. It’s eternal…and it’s global. I can truly say that I have “family” all over the world.
- It requires a lot of sacrifice. Many of my colleagues left their family and friends to be there. They sacrifice a work-life balance to make sure things run smoothly. They don’t get enough sleep and I’ve seen their health deteriorate. They work the crazy hours so they sacrifice certain relationships. We miss Christmas dinners and basically, every holiday. But through this whole transition, I’m reminded that it’s so fleeting. You can give a company 25 years of your life. You can give them your loyalty and your hard work. All we expect is to receive a nice retirement party, right? But within two months or even a week, it can all be taken away from you. Your seniority, your paycheck, and your daily way of living. Of course we should work hard and sacrifice things for others, but I constantly need to ask myself, “For what purpose?” What really matters? What matters is that I live in a way that knows that Christ sacrificed everything for me. He was rejected, beaten, and killed. For what purpose? That I might have the righteousness and that I might know him.
It’s funny. I spent my entire college career planning and mapping out my 5, 10, 15 year career goals. You can plan everything (cause I’m definitely a planner), but things happen.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15
Nothing is guaranteed, but Christ is.
P.S. Sorry I talk in hotel terms, but I’m assuming you can relate too. I hope it’s kinda interesting. Here’s to my first real blog post!