MY HAYMAN ISLAND HELL!!
Well, I tried, and though I can’t say that I failed, I definitely didn’t succeed as a Housekeeping Supervisor on Hayman Island! But to be fair, it most certainly wasn’t all my fault!!
Let’s begin at the beginning. When I went over on the boat in the morning I could already feel that there was an air of melancholy amongst the 150 fellow staff and contractors that were going to the island. Everybody marched onboard like we were cattle going to the market.
HEADING FOR THE ISLAND
Once I was there, it didn’t take me too long to discover that although the front of the island portrays the picturesque view and image of this tropical paradise, behind the scenes was a completely different and disheartening story.
It felt like everyone that I spoke to was giving me negative feedback about the job, the island, the Hayman Way!! Every conversation I heard was either a complaint about something going wrong or people just overworked. This was not shaping up to the island life that I had imagined. It just felt WRONG!!
So, after Security got me sorted to the right department I was given a uniform, quickly given a tour of the staff village, told to change into my uniform, allowed to rapidly go and enjoy some breakfast, told to fill out all the forms and ok we’re off 8am and it’s time to work.. I’d been on the island for 1hr!!
Alright, I’m up for a challenge. How about some proper training?? This is 5 Star after all!
Yeah, well, I then went off to follow a supervisor within one section of the hotel (that I was never to work in again, so I’m sorry but why train me there???), given the briefest of run downs on what goes where and how much so (just the amenities were at least 15-20 separate items and placements to learn, scattered around the various rooms, and don’t get me started on the pillows, with the pillow menu and all!).
REMEMBER THIS IS 5 STAR WE’RE TALKING HERE!!
Then I spent the next 9hrs racing around like a chicken with its head cut off, running up and down corridors the length of football fields (I KID YOU NOT!!), to go to the ONE AND ONLY storeroom on each floor. Oh, and how do you get all the sheets, towels, bags, amenities, cleaning products, mop, vacuum, toilet paper (Ok, I won’t name them all, you get the picture, it’s ALOT of goods)?? You get to put them all in a bag or four and carry them down a corridor the length of a football field because management don’t want trolleys on the floors. Something here sounds very OH&S (Occupation Health & Safety) kind of WRONG!! Back breaking wrong!!
Then once the day shift was done at 5:30pm it was off for a quick dinner break and back to do it pretty much all over again for the next 3 hours on the turn down shift!! I only did this on day one and didn’t HAVE to afterwards because I was a supervisor. But all the other room attendants were pretty much forced to go back after a loooonnnggg day of cleaning and just keep going!!! Madness!!
Look I won’t bore you with all the details. But let me just say this, their biggest issue at the moment is the complete lack of staff. And it’s not just in Housekeeping!! Behind the scenes you hear it all!!
Brigades of chefs were departing I was told, unease, understaffed and overworked seemed to be the general complaint, the same message being told from so many of the other departments. People were leaving the island quicker each time. I only lasted a week!! But apparently the record is 3 Days!!
Oh, but what workforce the housekeeping team did have! It mainly consisted of two groups. The sweetest of Asian workers that were coming here from Vietnam and Indonesia on 6 months contract that was part of their year in Australia, organised through their hospitality schools back home. This is suppose to give them an amazing experience as to the finely tuned ways that a proper 5 star establishment should run. Well, with minimal training and a lack of time and patience in regards to their English, I’d just have to say that it’s an over glorified form of Woofing or Volunteer, just with a plane ticket involved!!
And the other large part of the team was the backpackers that they’re recruiting on the island. Many with NO previous housekeeping experience whatsoever, but still doing a sensational job for their first attempt in this field, at this 5 Star standard. But there’s no time to train anyone! It’s all just clean those rooms, make them shine, do it quickly and be precise!! Thank you very much!!
MY ONE & ONLY WEEK
As for me, well, as I said, I was semi-trained on Day 1 and went through the turn down experience. On Day 2 I was put straight onto the rooms that i’d never seen before to start supervising (remember, we’re talking 5 star details here). Then pretty much most of Day 3, 4, 5 and 6 I was in the rooms working with my teams trying to get these rooms up to scratch and in time. Most of my team mates had only been working at the resort as long as I had (as in, 3-4 days!!!). And I had to clean the rooms rather than supervise because room attendants just weren’t coming back to the island for their jobs!! They’d also had enough!
We were working 9-11 hr days (some 6 days a week!!) trying to get these rooms ready to such high standards and within such unrealistic time frames, and for what?? For the love of the island life, for the hospitality experience, or just for (and because) of the money??
Whatever the individuals reason, this little traveller had had enough by DAY 7, I’d gotten back on the boat, back on the bus and back on the road to happiness.
Let me just say that it wasn’t all doom and gloom. The Location IS truly breathtaking. The One and ONLY sunset I saw was just amazing. As always for me, it was BRILLIANT to have SO many different cultures and nationalities all mixed in together. There was indeed LAUGHS and GIGGLES to be enjoyed. And I did manage to get out and about the island before I left on the boat (photos to prove it). There was GOOD TIMES!!
On the afternoon that I left the resort there was to be a meeting at the Town Hall (?!) at 3pm. Pity most of my colleagues were probably still scrabbling around trying to get their rooms finished, too busy anyhow to attend. But hopefully this is a positive step in the right direction by the ONE AND ONLY HAYMAN ISLAND. Maybe they’ll finally start to listen to the people behind the scenes, the ones who are busting their backs to keep the resort looking like the tropical island paradise that it is.
And this time, FOR ONE AND ALL!!