That was exactly what I thought when I took my first job waiting on tables at Boston Pizza. I was a year out of high school, had moved into Winnipeg from small town Manitoba and wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. Rent needed to be paid and with my lack of work experience or training, I focused on landing a job in the retail sector or the hospitality industry.
Within just a few short weeks of starting work, I knew I had found my future. I continued waiting on tables and registered into the hospitality program at Red River College. Along the way, I transitioned from the food and beverage sector into the accommodation sector, and the rest, as they say, is history.
There will always be people who use our industry as a stepping stone to another career, and that’s ok. Without them, our industry would be facing an even bigger labour shortage than it does. But I think that sometimes new hires are treated as temporary workers instead of potential long term industry professionals. We don’t take the time to really explain the career opportunities available to them, both in our own business and in the industry as a whole and so we lose them.
Do the people that work for you know the career opportunities the tourism/hospitality industry provides? Not just in your own business but in the industry as a whole. Yes, letting them know all the options and opportunities available to them may mean they leave, but if they only leave you and not the industry entirely, that is a good thing! It reminds me of when I was part of a destination marketing partnership. Sales team made up of industry professionals went out to sell our destination, not our individual properties. When the destination won, we all won. When our industry is seen as a viable career choice, we all benefit.
And for those people who decide our challenging, vibrant, topsy-turvy industry isn’t for them, we still need them to be aware of what is possible so that someday, when they have the opportunity to influence the career choice of a young adult, they won’t try to dissuade them from entering our industry.