Trainee to MD
As a surprise birthday treat this year, my hubby Ian took me for lunch at The Slaughters Manor House in the Cotswolds. Knowing that this would be like a trip down memory lane to when I was a trainee, I was very excited and intrigued to revisit the Manor, after so many years.
Back in September 1985, I accepted my first full-time position at The Manor House in Lower Slaughter as a Trainee Manager. I had recently completed a B-TEC Diploma in Hotel & Catering Management and was ready to start my career in the hospitality industry. Back then, the hotel was a 3-star Best Western Hotel, busy with low budget, 2-day leisure breaks and a busy lunch time trade. As a trainee, I was asked to get a flavour of each departmental function. Christmas 1985 was going to be a challenge – being my first festive season working away from the family home.
We had a 3-day package and the hotel was full to the brim. The owners of the hotel asked if I would step in as the washer up (pot wash) on Christmas day. I can’t say I was particularly happy about this idea, but I knew I needed to step up and dig deep, even though this was going to be hard work! I started at 7.30am on Christmas morning and was finished by 4.30pm. It was certainly a physical challenge – on my feet and making sure equipment was turned around quickly for the chefs to use again – but most of all I remember the atmosphere and having a jolly time!
When work is challenging, there’s nothing more satisfying than getting through a tough shift with a smile on your face and lots of laughs along the way! I remember driving home to my family and feeling exhausted, but also pleased with my contribution to a successful Christmas Day lunch for over 50 residents.
At the age of 19, I think it was a good lesson that teamwork is essential when times are tough. I was the hero that day – being the Trainee Manager who was prepared to step into the breach and get my hands dirty!