My First Day as Housekeeping Manager and My First Day as Housekeeper
Four whole months! I haven’t visited my blog for four whole months! (Now 7 months!) This is the longest of all procastinations I ever did! I have put off my passion for writing for four whole months! (7 months already!) Oh, how time became sooooo fleeting! T’was winter when I spent all of my time on screen, spring when I became busy with final exams and start of summer when I got occupied with work work work!!!! Until now that summer is about to end (fall is actually ending now), all of my time is spent on work. I have to make the most of the opportunity of working full time before school starts again next month (now onto the second half of my third term!). Yes, no work, no gain. Oh, this is Canada! One has to work one’s ass off to pay the bills! I am not complaining. I am only stating a fact. This is my life now, I chose this, and I have to bear with this. Anyway, I would just like to share with you my story of transition, acceptance, and humility – a beautiful surrender, I call it.
‘Twas April 1 when I went downtown Toronto for my very first job interview in a multinational hospitality company. Being unemployed and searching for a job throughout winter, I told myself not to go home without getting the job. I was so determined to apply for the post of housekeeper though I never imagined myself being a maid. Prior to my coming here in Canada, I already programmed myself for the probability of having “odd” jobs – that’s what I call the blue-collar jobs. I told myself not to be choosy because we can never apply our studies, title, and job experience from our home country here. However, when I was faced with the truth upon arriving here, it was hard to swallow to do such odd jobs. But after being a part-time tindera in a flea market and working part-time in a warehouse, I told myself, “What the hell, I have to get hired that day! Face toilet bowl cleaning after getting the job!” What a beautiful surrender mindset that was!
Then I found myself in the HR office of Canada’s most prestigious hotel since 1929. I was so nervous, but the HR assistant director assured me to just relax and talk casually. She asked me the reason why I was interested to apply as a housekeeper, I answered I wanted to try something different far from what I’ve been doing. She asked me an experience at work when I was challenged, I answered her that I stayed calm and collected when my teenage student yelled at me. She asked me what I did to someone unforgettable, I answered her that I gave a big party to my father after he was diagnosed with dementia. She asked me what I did with Bob Schulz as a personal assistant, I answered her that I organized his documents and social media accounts, connected with his friends and contacts worldwide, helped his best friend Kim Everest to push through the party he wanted, and organized that party. The name of Bob Schulz on my resume sparkled just so I thought when the HR assistant director got to ask me if I wanted to apply for another position when I abruptly said yes!
Subsequently, I sat in front of the hotel’s director of rooms. She asked me more questions on how to handle difficult situations and difficult people which I answered truthfully based on my experiences as a teacher way back home. The interview only lasted for 5 minutes or less when I heard the much-awaited words “You’re hired!” from the director. I was sooooo elated! I went home with butterflies in my stomach and waited until the 22nd of April for the letter of job offer after the background check just in time for school to commence. To my surprise, the position the hotel offered me was housekeeping manager! I did not apply for the post, but I accepted it because I had faith in what the HR assistant director told me when I said I never had experience in hospitality, “We don’t hire for experience, we hire talent. Because skills, we teach that.” I rooted on this statement as an assurance to a beautiful surrender.
Eventually, there I was on my first day of work at the hotel on April 27, 2022! I was so excited, overwhelmed, and still couldn’t believe that I got a job as a housekeeping manager at the busiest hotel right at the very heart of downtown Toronto! Like, whaaaattttt???!!! From a science teacher of a small town in the Philippines to a housekeeping manager of the business and financial capital in Canada – what an unbelievable story! But my story happened which proves that all things are possible, and anything could happen! However, during my three-week training of giving all my best to learn the job, I haven’t done my duty as a housekeeping manager very well specifically in handling difficult people. I was swallowed by them!
Consequently, I haven’t lived up to what was expected from me. I knew I did not have experience in the hospitality industry, but I was hoping for the training to give me the skills. I gave all my best to learn because I was so willing and eager to learn but everything became so overwhelming to me. Coming from a Catholic university in the Philippines, I was surprised to suddenly find myself in an environment of people with strong personalities that I got intimidated. Additionally, adjustment period does not only take three weeks. If I was given more time to learn, I knew I can progress. I am not dumb to not learn what the job requires. It takes time to practice making things perfect, right. But I felt like a burden to the housekeeping team, so I conceded in giving up the position. I didn’t want to push myself in a place where I could not function well. Unknowingly, what I did was actually a beautiful surrender.
I did not resign because I needed a job so badly for my tuition, rent, and food. Nobody is supporting me financially here in Canada so I asked the HR office to place me in whatever vacant position (not managerial) that best suits me where I can apply my talent and skills to become an asset to the company. With that, they placed me as Room Attendant, what I applied for originally – as a housekeeper. Then that was it! Into cleaning rooms and toilet bowls, a “maid in Toronto” I became! Hard to swallow at first because my parents did not send me to university in the Philippines just to “only” become a maid! I did not finish my bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and master’s degree in education major in chemistry just to become a maid! But this is not Philippines. This is Canada where I couldn’t become an engineer and a teacher without the Canadian education and license. This is now my reality – blue-collar jobs, the “odd” jobs that is! What a beautiful surrender!
To my amazement, stepping down from the managerial position gave me the time of my life! A beautiful surrender which made me to become the crowd’s favorite, a superstar amongst my colleagues in an instant! All of a sudden, everybody loved me! All the kuya‘s and ate‘s in the hotel were looking after my welfare in every single way, making my job as a room attendant very light and enjoyable! Everybody became so helpful to me that cleaning rooms and toilet bowls didn’t become an issue to me at all! Fourteen hotel rooms to clean in an 8-hour shift? That became easy peasy for me with the help of my colleagues especially my new besties, Moesha and Anh. We made a great team and also got along well with the other room attendants, and I enjoyed working with them so much! I was so happy to have stepped down from the position when I also realized that I am a people person. I value people more than a title. I value relationships more than a rank. I value values more than the money.
In this story of a beautiful surrender, I could say that God did not replace me, but He has re-placed me. He placed me to a place where I do not only fully grow but also bloom with my utmost potentials! As a room attendant, I learned more about humility, patience, and persistence. It is a physically tiring job yet fulfilling. It is a blue-collar job yet honorable. It is now my “odd” job yet one of the best jobs I ever have in my entire life! Finally, I am not a teacher anymore!!! I am now a hotel housekeeper, a MAID IN TORONTO! Indeed, what a beautiful surrender it has been! Surrender is not about giving up, but surrender is all about not resisting the flow of things that are not under our control. Surrender actually sets us free! How about you, what beautiful surrender are you willing to do?