“So, what do you actually want to do?” This was the very reasonable question put to me by the lady from HR. I didn’t feel I could tell her the truth which was, ‘I don’t really mind, I’ll do whatever you tell me to’.
The posh hotel is closing. We all knew it was coming. It was supposed to be happening since 2018 and because of that nothing has been maintained in years. There are four rooms that can’t be sold due to leaks in the roof, pictures are being hung in unusual places to cover up holes in the walls or damp patches, the fuses blow frequently and most of the woodwork is rotten. In fact, during the heatwave, I opened a window and the whole frame fell out. We have all become experts at distracting people from all this to such an extent that people more often complained about the state of the carpets or age of the curtains rather than the more serious structural issues.
We received our redundancy notices a few months earlier. I was asked to be an employee representative, I declined and quickly booked holiday I didn’t really want just so they couldn’t ask me again. I didn’t want to be responsible for myself let alone everyone else too.
I was not too worried. I have moved hotels before and every few days there is a news story about severe staff shortages in the hospitality sector (along with most other sectors). I felt sure I would get something. My problem is admin. My autistic brain can’t cope with lots of choices and I find form filling very stressful. Because of my admin fears, it seems much easier to stay with the company and move to one of their other various establishments around the country, rather than look elsewhere (too many options).
In preparing for my meeting with the lady from HR, the only things I had decided was that a) I wanted somewhere that included a place to live and b) I wanted to get off the minimum wage. Where the hotel was, doesn’t seem to important and neither does the work itself. I figured, they have access to enough of my appraisals to decide what I can and can’t do. I told her all this and she just looked at me in a confused manner.
“So, what do you actually want to do?” That question again. To waste time, I got a little notebook out of my pocket and opened it at a page that had writing on. The writing was irrelevant to the conversation – bus times for a place I lived years ago – but it gave me time to think of something to say.
“I think I would like to be an Assistant Manager at somewhere not too big”. Was this actually what I wanted? No idea.
Three days later, the manager of a rural pub came to interview me. It occurred to me that the fact he has come to visit me and that it was so soon, meant that I would get the job. He was clearly desperate. In fact, he told me that the position had been vacant for a while and nobody else had applied. I didn’t mind a bit. We chatted for a while and then he offered me the job. I accepted it without a second thought. In hindsight, perhaps it would have been better to go and visit the rural pub, after all I would be living there too and I really don’t know the area, but it seemed like a solution to the problem and that was fine. Five days after my meeting with the lady from HR, I signed the contract.
Shortly after that, I realised that I don’t really know what being the assistant manager of a rural pub actually involves…