Which of the two people in the world are you?

There are two types of people in this world:

1. People who are nice to others because they genuinely like them. They will always reply to your texts no matter who you are.

2. People who are only nice to others if there is something in it for them. They will only text you back if they can use you to get ahead.

If you don’t believe me, observe the people you know, especially in the workplace. There is no other way human nature can go.

To put some light into unemployment

Perhaps your company has given you the summer off, and suddenly, your days are going by a thousand times slower than normal. True it’s a sad situation, but when’s the last time you were free to do whatever you wanted? If there is anytime to believe that the world is your oyster, it is now!

Learn something. It is so easy to sit around and mope, but the best way to get rid of your misery is to distract yourself. Take a class, learn a sport, even take a trip if you can afford to.

Get in shape! Yes, this even goes for you lucky people who are naturally in shape. Exercise is not only a way to lose weight, it an be a hobby as well. Not a fan of treadmills? Try Yoga, Pilates, or the new and trendy exercise methods like Tabata.

Read an entire book series.

Watch all the seasons of any TV show that everyone else raves about, but you just never got around to watching. I did that with Modern Family, and I’ve never gone back.

Look for other opportunities. Getting the summer off could be the best thing that ever happened to you.

Spend time with the people you love.

Then, before you know it, you will be back to work with less time to do any of the above. Enjoy the time off 🙂

 

 

5 things not to say to someone working at a hotel’s front desk

1. “Why didn’t you put up a sign that the computer isn’t working?”
Well, ok…do you have a hundred thousand calls coming in at once? If you did, would you have time to make a sign, and leave the desk to stick it to the computer? No, I didn’t think so.

2. “But I gave you my credit card when I reserved”
I promise I am not taking your credit card to go shopping at Barney’s. Just give me the card so I don’t get yelled at by my boss for not doing my job right. Regardless, we will charge you and you are not getting anything for free.

3. “I would like to make a dinner booking”
“Of course, for what day?”
“Oh I don’t know yet”
*5 mins later*
“I still don’t know”
Well…I don’t even know…Why are you..? Oh forget it.

4. “No, you are not really fully booked, I know it”
You don’t know it, because you are not looking at the reservations! The hotels want business, but if there is no room in the restaurant, that’s just the way it is. Yelling at someone will certainly not free up a table for you. Alternatively, you could eat somewhere else.

5. “I’m afraid you cannot bring your friends to the gym during these hours”
“Why? I do it all the time”
If you do it all the time, then why are you asking if it’s ok? Just.Stop.Lying.About.It.

All of the above + 8 hours of stress =

Women are from Venus, some university students are from Mars

There was a time when a university degree was a one way ticket to a great job and a fulfilling life. Now, thanks to the state of America’s economy, university graduates are finding it increasingly difficult to find well paying jobs. The article I read in the Globe & Mail not only sums up how tough the job market is, but how misled students in certain majors are.

We all know those people who believe that the world will be a better place without corporate greed. Apparently, they exist more in Quebec than anywhere else in Canada, sending the Quebec university students to an entirely different planet. While corporate greed effects the middle class, and governments are taxing heavily, and doctors are charging high amounts for private healthcare, these three sectors provide high paying jobs!  By encouraging students to take classes such as philosophy and ancient roman history, professors are actually disabling them because degrees in these subjects don’t have as much value as science or finance degrees. (I admit, considering the financial crisis, a science degree might be more promising right now)

I am all for doing whatever you are passionate about, but it’s still crucial to think of the future. Philosophy gives you some valuable life lessons, and art history is fascinating but when will you be able to use that knowledge for a successful living? I understand that success has a different meaning to everyone, but I think making enough money to pay for a comfortable living is a common goal for society. Professors can preach their ideas on how students can change the world by learning about “life” and “history”, but it’s also up to the students to think about their future. Is the purpose of university not to get a higher education, broaden your prospects, and eventually find a better life? This article made me think twice.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/quebecs-university-students-are-in-for-a-shock/article2418431/

Siri, the iPhone lady, will kill our brain cells

Before they said video games made you dumb, then it was teenage drinking, and now, I can say with full confidence that Siri the iPhone lady will kill our brain cells, with vengeance.

Take a look at the commercial above. Is it really so difficult for Zooey Deschanel to make her way to the window to see if it’s raining for herself? Unfortunately, this is very representative of the direction in which technology is taking us. It is also extremely contradictory to what we are taught in elementary school, which is to think and take your best guess before asking for the answer.

I know I’m making it sound like technology is all bad, and that we need to go back to using old fashioned ink and pen, but that is honestly not the case! Of course technology such as computers and cell phones were invented to make life easier, and they do exactly that. Remember the days when you had to look up a restaurants phone number in the Yellow Pages to make a reservation? The internet makes that task so much easier because sometimes you can make a reservation online, or you can find their phone number faster. Now, Siri can help us do that too! Except she makes it too easy, and soon we will lose the will to use our hands to type a question into Google. Next thing we know, she will be making the reservation for us!

Now, imagine this: Siri gets so stressed out from demanding people constantly asking her questions, and decides to take a holiday. We would actually have to Google the nearest gas station while on a road trip, because Siri would not be there to find one for us like one of the iPhone commercials suggest. It’s a tad scary to think how long this might take, considering by now, our efficiency would have gone to hell. What’s worse is that Zooey Deschanel would have to find a place that delivers tomato soup on her own. Alternatively, she could learn to make it herself. Oh wait, I forgot! Googling and reading has become too difficult now. I guess we can only hope that Siri doesn’t get too comfortable on the beach…

10 Things Not To Do In An Interview

We’ve all had those interviews that have gone embarrassingly wrong. You might have stumbled while talking, laughed a little too loud, or let it slip that you hated your previous boss. Here is a list of small errors to avoid during an interview. I have learned many of these through personal experience, and hearing the experiences of others.

1. If the interviewer offers you a drink, take water NOT coffee. The last thing you need is for a huge coffee stain to join in on the interview. Plus, if they give you a cookie with the coffee, the crumbs will spill everywhere, and next thing you know, you can’t answer the questions correctly because you are distracted by the mess on your clothes.

2. DO NOT ever try to make small talk in your second language. It is awfully humiliating to have your interviewer correct your grammar when you are commenting on the beautiful view. Best option when choosing which language to speak: take the cue from your interviewer. Chances are, they will test you on the second language listed on your CV anyway.

3. DO NOT look out the window when talking to the interview, no matter how therapeutic it seems when you are nervous.

4. ALWAYS know the name of your interviewer. That way you can avoid saying to the person at the reception “Oh I forgot, it’s something like….”

5. ALWAYS dress appropriately for the type of job you are applying for. Do not wear Converses to an interview at a five star hotel. I know it sounds obvious, but you wouldn’t believe the stuff people think they can get away with.

6. Your first question for your interviewer should NOT be “Where can I park my car?” I once met a girl who did this, and she only got interviewed for 10 minutes before getting rejected a week later.

7. DO find a healthy balance between professional and friendly. If your interviewer is taking you for a tour of the building, feel free to ask them as many questions as you want about the company. Wait, here’s the catch: you want to avoid questions that you would only need to know if you worked there. This makes you come off as cocky because you think you already have the job. Honestly, if you run out of general questions about the company, ask the interviewer how long they have worked there for. It might start up an interesting conversation, but don’t get to engrossed in it. Remember, they are not your friend now, and most certainly won’t be if they become your boss.

8. Ladies: DO NOT cross your legs if you are wearing a skirt! If it rides up, you will be put in an awkward position of needing to pull it down in front of your interviewer. There are some details they don’t need to know.

9. DO NOT make a joke, no matter how funny it sounds in your head. Once you actually work there, you will be given a chance to display your brilliant sense of humour. But during the interview? Not really the right time.

10. ALWAYS try to tell the interviewer what they want to hear. There is a big difference between this and lying. Telling them what they want to hear is like, if they ask you if you are free on the weekends to work, your answer should be yes. They don’t want to hear that Saturday night is movie night for you and your significant other, they want to know that you care about the job. The only exception is if you are applying for a part time job, and they know prior to your interview that you can only work a certain amount of days because you have previous commitments.

One major lesson I have learned about stereotypes in society

Over time, I have been able to better understand people, and why they act the way they do. I did not grow up with people who were vastly different – some might have been slightly wealthier than others, but ultimately we were exactly the same. We went to a fancy school and took expensive vacations, and basically everyone I knew was very generic. Living in this bubble for almost 11 years gave me the impression that everyone in the world were exactly like the people I grew up with. Wow, was I in for a reality check.

This is partially why I am so grateful to have gone to Switzerland and met all these people from different cultures – they gave me the reality check that I needed. Here is the thing though: there were a series of events in my life before I left for Switzerland that made me realize how wrong our stereotypes in society are. The main one being that wealthier people are classier and better people. We have this idea drilled into us by movies, books, and TV which emphasize the cross sections in society. Wealthier people are not necessarily better or worse people. People who are less wealthy are not necessarily better or worse people either.

It’s a fact that money changes people. They stop caring about others who are not on their “level”, and they don’t care about what happens to you, even if they are at fault. Having said that, some of them really do care and put their money to good use. Some people might not have a multi-million dollar mansion, but they are honest and simple. What you have is not important to them, it is the person you are that is. On the other hand, some people who are less wealthy have a chip on their shoulder, and feel threatened by others who have more. They then make themselves feel better by being mean to people who do have more, but never brag about it. Just because someone puts a smile on their face and is nice to you does not mean they are sincere. People’s true colours always show when the going gets rough.

What I’m getting at is that there are all sorts of people in the world. The arrogant ones, the simple ones, the insecure ones, and millions more. We cling to stereotypes to a certain degree because it makes life simpler to deal with – you know who you have something in common with, and who you should avoid. Take a chance! Try getting to know someone who is different from your friends or people in your school. Yes it can be stressful to encounter people who are not nice to you, but this is what makes life exciting! Can you imagine how boring life would be if it was predictable?

Henley on Thames: the life, the lessons and the Regatta

Have you ever wondered what working in a quaint English town would be like? One with a scenic river, traditional pubs and churches that are centuries old. Well, I spent an incredible six months working at a boutique hotel in a town exactly like this one.

Henley-on-Thames


This experience was not quite the same as the one in Spain because I learned more about work ethic and office politics. Over the six months, I formed strong friendships with a few of my colleagues, who I keep in touch with till today. By the end of the internship, I realized how few people know that employees liking their jobs, and managers giving them a reason to go hand in hand.

Many people in “powerful” positions (I put powerful in quotations because they might not be that important) love to throw their weight around. Human nature takes over when people think hold power over others, but interestingly enough, their power trips are often misplaced. If they don’t use their positions for the general well-being of a company or those around them, you begin to wonder if all they have is misplaced confidence.

Funny story. There was a girl I worked with who was not in a managerial position, but was very close to the boss. She felt that was her cue to mistreat everyone else because she knew she could get away with it. Here is what happened:

Good friends with the boss + boss wanting to be friends with her + not caring about the well being of his employees = unhappy employees + poor management + her misplaced confidence

My internship in Henley taught me a million more lessons like this one. The best advice I can give from this situation is: If they are not important to your job, don’t take them too seriously. On a different note, go to Henley during the summer time. It is lovely during the Regatta, which are the rowing races. It’s small but definitely worth the visit.

10 Things I Have Learned From the Hospitality Industry

I have only been in this industry for 3 years, and I could probably write 50 blog entries detailing all the lessons I have learned. I don’t want to bore anyone, but I would like to share the 10 most important life lessons that other people have unintentionally taught me.

1. Nobody cares
If your dog died, or if you didn’t get enough sleep the previous night. They are paying for a service, and they expect to get their money’s worth. This goes for anyone you meet in life – people will only care until it matters to them. Consider yourself lucky if you find a handful of people who genuinely have your best interests at heart.

2. No, your co-worker does not have to be your best friend
In a work environment, everyones primary reason for being there is to work. So if your co-worker chooses to have after work drinks with the people in the next department and does not include you, it is no big deal! As long as you two can work well together, that is all that should matter. In general, if you can develop a friendship with someone, then that’s great! If not, don’t sweat it. There are millions of people out who would love to meet you.

3. Your boss knows best, no matter what
If your boss says you need to fix your hair, you need to fix your hair. Even if you think your idea is great, do not get carried away and force it on anyone above you. Your boss is running a business and they need to keep everyone in line in order to make their business work. Bosses don’t have the time to insult you, so take their criticism constructively. It can be difficult to draw the line between friends and friendly, but it is important to do so in all aspects of life and not just at work.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
The more questions you ask, the less likely you are to make mistakes. No matter how much experience you have, there is always something new to learn. People will respect you if you are willing to acknowledge that you don’t know everything. So ask away! Chances are someone is dying to feel important and lecture you.

5. For girls only! If there is another girl around your age who holds a higher position, she will not hesitate to be a bitch to you
We can be so supportive of each other, and we can viciously hate on each other. Having grown up in an all girls school, I learned the hard way that girls will always have some sort of an issue with another girl. The funny thing is, the issues are usually very superficial, and are caused by insecurity. If a girl is insecure enough, she will be a bitch to someone because she is jealous of their handbag. The moral of the story is: try to read deeper into why someone is behaving the way they are. It will give you a better understanding of how to deal with the situation at hand. And remember, work is work. You do not need to have causal conversation with the girl who is awful to you, but a polite hello is necessary to make your day less awkward.

6. People will stop at nothing to get what they want
Especially if they are paying for a service! They lose nothing by trying really hard, even though you have said no a million times. Eventually, they will back down as long as you stand your ground and you know what you are doing is right.

7. Don’t be upset if someone else gets preferential treatment
Picking favourites is a part of life. I do it, you do it, yet we don’t like it when we are not picked as a favourite. It is impossible to read someone else’s mind, and you don’t really want to ask your co-workers why they prefer the person who works the exact same job as you. In this case, try to learn something from this person. They might have qualities that your organization thinks is good for their business, or they might have a work method that is more efficient. You can only improve from being around people like this, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of it. You only have a problem when everyone starts disliking you all together.

8. Try to recognize how different cultures react to different situations
If you make a joke and the guy from another country takes it seriously, the only reason may not be that he is trying to be a jerk. When English is someone’s second language, they may be translating everything you say into their Native language. The joke that has you in hysterics might offend them, and visa versa. They will not think less of you if you ask why they seemed upset by what you said. In fact, they would probably appreciate the gesture and make an effort to get to know you better. Admitting to a mistake is actually stepping up, and not stepping down. So step up! You will find yourself surrounded by more quality people.
Fact: Apparently, the TV show “Friends” is not funny when translated into German

9. People will try to step on you to get ahead
It’s a fact of life, accept it and learn how to deal with it. This goes back to #2 on this list – nobody at work is obligated to be your friend. If they feel vulnerable enough, they will attempt to bring you down. If they are charismatic, they will even twist your words into a statement that makes you look bad, and makes them look good for being so concerned. Again, try to understand why they are like that, and you will get much further ahead. The TV dramas might say otherwise, but too much plotting and scheming can blow up in your face.

10. Do what you think is right
When worse comes to worse, and you can’t get a hold of someone else for an opinion, just do what you think is right. Explain to your boss the next day why you took that decision, and they will appreciate your honesty even if they disagree with you. A huge part of personal growth is being able to think on your feet in an emergency. You will get so much more out of your experiences if you learn how to. Independence is an attractive quality.