With the new year comes new possibilities, particularly for four newbies in the Business of Happiness. Sahhidatol Bte Osman hopes to engineer new ways in 2019 to share about the hotel industry which has given her more reasons to smile every day.
#BizofHappiness #Workforahotel #PassionMadePossible #100AmbassadorsOfHappiness
How long have you been in the hotel industry? I’ve been working in the industry for about six months now.
What made you decide to join the hotel industry?
My aunt has been working in a hotel in the Housekeeping department for almost 20 years. I was chatting with her one day, and I asked her why she stayed in the hotel industry for so long despite it being known to be quite challenging. She told me that it’s tough initially, but after a while you learn to love it because of all the smiles and good memories you get to create for the guests.
That reminded me of the time when I went to Cambodia on a school trip to help build a school for the local community. That experience made me realise that I also truly enjoy making people happy. The joy I received from seeing others smile is what eventually drove me to consider joining the hotel industry.
Did you have any hospitality-related experience before joining a hotel? Not exactly. I studied Social Media in ITE, so I didn’t have much hospitality knowledge. But I did have some experience in service after working in retail for six years. I started as a part-timer and eventually became an Assistant Store Manager. Working in retail allowed me to interact with customers, so I learned skills such as customer service and communication skills that have come in handy now in my job at the hotel.
Can you tell us more about your current role and what you do on a daily basis?
I’ve always been interested in the back-end operations of a hotel. So when the opportunity of an Engineering Coordinator role came up at the hotel, I took up the challenge. Though it seemed like a big jump from my previous job in retail, the skill set I have from my retail job was relevant as it’s still about service and working with people.
In my current role, I am responsible for checking the hotel building and its systems every morning, looking out for faulty lights, for example, and if the chiller and air-conditioning systems are running smoothly.
After a round of checks, I will spend the rest of the day answering calls from Housekeeping to fix any issue in the hotel rooms. The Engineering team does the repair work, so my task is to coordinate with Housekeeping and other departments such as Front Office and the Kitchen to see what needs fixing, and how we can solve the issues as quickly as possible.
Do you find the work that you do fulfilling? Why? Yes! I am able to work well with the hotel technicians because they have the technical know how to do the repair work while I have the communication and computer skills to support them in cooperating with other teams. So I feel that I’m able to bring my experience to the table and play a role in making sure that the hotel operates smoothly. My job also allows me to learn something new every day, which is something I’m very grateful for.
Have you faced any challenges so far? If so, what are some of those challenges – and how do you overcome them?
One of the challenges is having to adapt to the hotel’s systems that we use for rostering operational employees and to facilitate procurement orders. These were completely new to me at first, so I had to ask my colleagues for assistance. Thankfully, they were very patient with me, and now I’ve managed to figure out the systems to the point where I’m able to not just do my job but also to go the extra mile and help my colleagues in turn.
Learning and memorising the list of hotel equipment has been the biggest challenge. I handle procurements in my team, so I need to understand the equipment and components well when making purchases for the hotel. But over time, and with the guidance of my peers, I’ve been able to learn more about all the equipment we use.
What are some important lessons you’ve learnt during your time in the hotel industry? As someone who is so new to this industry, the biggest lesson so far is that I need to keep learning every day, so I have a better understanding when procuring items such as the different light bulbs and tubes used in different locations within the hotel. All I have to do is ask for help, and be open-minded. I even learn from my mistakes. I’ve made some errors, but I always stay positive and learn from them, so that I won’t repeat them.
What do you love most about working in the hotel industry? Seeing the joy on people’s faces. And I don’t mean just the guests. I love seeing how happy my colleagues are with what they’re doing. Sometimes I try to brighten their day in little ways, by doing things like pasting cute stickers on my attendance reports.
Is there something that motivates you to do your best every day? The team of technicians that I work with. Their job can get quite tedious, but watching them carry out their duties responsibly and tirelessly really inspire me to do my best as well.
What are your career goals for 2019?
For now, I hope to keep learning and growing my understanding of the technical side of things. I also want to inspire others to work in a hotel, and show them that it’s really not a scary place to work at. It might be fast-paced, and it can be tough at the beginning, but you’ll grow to love it.
In the years to come, I would love to widen my knowledge and experience and try out other aspects of the hotel’s operations, such as the purchasing department.
How would you encourage other young Singaporeans to pursue a career in a hotel? I would push them to take on challenges that come with working in hotel. You don’t know what you’re capable of until you’ve faced and overcome interesting challenges and tasks on the job. This industry will help you grow and you’ll discover that you can actually do a lot more than you thought possible.
What advice would you share with someone who is interested in joining the hotel industry? The industry can seem like an intimidating career choice at first. But have patience and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you do that, you’ll find that the hospitality industry is the perfect place to learn and grow as a person.