As the summer went on at the hotel and resort I worked for, every week when the schedule went up I would pretty much knew what I would be working. A week of Breakfast and Dinner shifts. To be polite, split shifts down right sucked. When I first started at the luxury hotel and resort the HR department and some of our supervisors tried to sell the spilt shift like it was something special. What it meant to me was a long day which equaled being tired from lack of sleep. It was going from one shift to another with a pause in the middle only to have to do all over again the next day, week, month. I didn’t think I would be jaded at such an early age.
I was told how I could work in the morning then have the afternoon off to go for a hike, go skinning, head to Banff for a quick grocery run and then come back to work for 4 or 5pm to start dinner service until 10 or 11pm only to turn around and do it all over again, every day of your work week. Sometimes we didn’t get two days off in a row and working five splits shifts with split days off was not fun at all. Then as I moved up the schedule I would get consistent days off, usually Monday and Tuesday’s which was fine with me, I needed time to rest and recharge.
Some weeks I would work a few just Breakfast and Lunch shifts which meant the night off and that was a rarity in the F&B world. I usually spent the evenings away from the hotel, go to a movie in Banff, or catch up on sleep, but that was trumped with friends knocking at the door to go to the staff pub. That was much more interesting than resting.
Then there was the interesting shift, a BLD, work breakfast, lunch and dinner all in one day. We would only be scheduled this dreaded shift when the department was short-staffed or they wanted to schedule a full serving team and if we were not needed then we would be sent home. I had a few of these shifts and I don’t think I ever experienced being that tired before. I was twenty-one and felt like I had every ounce of energy sucked out of me. Waking up at 4:30am for a 5:30am start. I tried to learn the art of rolling out of bed into my uniform, put my hair up and not care. I couldn’t. I needed a shower to wake up, and I had to do my hair or I’d get sent home to do it to the hotel standards. So basically I working until the end of lunch service which could have been 1pm or 2pm. Then head home for a nap, have a shower to freshen up and head back to dinner service for either 4:30 or 5:00pm and work until 10 or 11, sometimes midnight if the night went sideways. Sometimes you were scheduled for breakfast the next day and that was down right wrong but who was I to say anything, especially when other servers would tell me that they use to have to work the same shifts, it was now my turn as the newbie. Gee thanks.
When I look back at those times I wouldn’t change any of it. Sure, I was tired but it was a good kind of exhaustion. I was surrounded by the majestic Canadian Rockies, working and living at a luxury hotel and resort where my creativity was having fun.
Until next time, keep on typing. . . .