I was offered a job last year in the hospitality industry, which was all new to me. Absolutely everything other than the accounts side was all new. I had never worked on a POS system, I had never been a responsible for a restaurant, bar or venue and now I was responsible for all 3. The first day, I was put on a massive, high profile wedding and had to quickly work out the POS system for myself (it had been installed that same day and no one else knew how to work it.
There really is nothing like a big challenge to get me going, I love it! I had some staff under me, helping with drink orders. I had to host the wedding as well as manage the staff and of course keep the clients happy.
I have to say; my biggest asset is my people skills. I love people, I love interacting with people and I just have an amazing way with people. My current boss says that I have a certain way with people, that is unmatched and that I could probably sell poo to a sewerage plant! This is a man I have worked with for a long time and knows me very well. I have a certain ability to put out fires when customers are unhappy and it really comes in handy as you can imagine.
Here I was, completely new to all of this and I nailed it! The guests at the wedding, one of them being the sister of the bride even followed me to another function on the premises to party with me there. What an incredible experience it was. First off, I was witness to an incredible traditional black wedding, guests were in traditional clothing and they looked incredible. What I loved was the mix of traditions. Some in Zulu attire with and some in Souto and Xhosa attire, vibrant in colour. What a sight it was. The traditional dancing began as they walked in and everyone joined in. I have so much respect for this incredible country. The culture and the traditions, all vastly different but all respected by one another. This for me was a celebration of how incredible my country actually is.
What really was incredibly special for me on that first night was when these beautifully dressed young black ladies walked into a very Afrikaans party at the other side of the property. At first the black beauties were not sure how to handle the situation, I am quite sure that they had never ever heard the Afrikaans music which was playing. Something very special happened just then in the mist of the awkwardness. The DJ put on a traditional black song and the ladies started dancing. The Afrikaans ladies (in SA we call them “Tannies”) ran to meet me and the ladies on the dance floor and asked them to show them how to dance like them. This was the most awesome experience, if I have to pick one occasion that made 2017 extra special, this was it!
I danced with them, smiling and laughing and bursting with pride as a South African. We obviously couldn’t stay long as we had to return to the wedding but the short time at that party was more than enough to take in the incredible experience. What a first day it was! Absolutely incredible, breath taking and just left me with warmth and fulfillment. Suddenly I found myself with a new-found energy, revitalized and rejuvenated. Life has never been easy for me, since my 20’s but I have always been very blessed. I had had a very difficult year and this was exactly what I needed to give me the drive to become more. So, I was immediately hired on a permanent basis, not knowing the politics which was running wild in the place. I was incredibly proud of myself for how quickly I learnt, and just did everything that had to be done. I fitted in so well and I grew immensely in this time. My self-confidence was at an all-time high and I was feeling great. I was growing daily, and I was loving working with customers all day.
I was working sometimes 14 hour days but was completely satisfied with my work. The reality is that I was doing a really good job and the customers took to me immediately. I truly felt like I had found my place. Unfortunately, it was to come to an abrupt end when I began to get treated very badly and basically pushed out. My knowledge had apparently made the wrong person look bad. Suddenly I was being made the target of a blaming game. I was being blamed for all sorts and none of the facts were being taken into account.
I walked out and I had my head up high, I did my best, I mastered a completely new industry to me and I learned so much. I did so well! I cannot allow the way I was treated to break my spirit. I know how well I did and I know that I will be missed by many. As I said goodbye, the staff were devastated and the customers that were there were visibly upset. I made my mark, I made a difference and I left my mark! I took an incredible amount of value out of the experience and I made myself proud. I made friends and I made memories. I feel great, I am confident and I will not allow nastiness to break my spirit. On to bigger and better things!
The truth is I am sure of who I am, I am proud of what I accomplished and I am steadfast in my values and grounding.
I will not let this break my spirit because I know my achievements and I know myself, I am so grateful for the lessons and the knowledge that I gained and I am ready to tackle life’s next chapter.