Back To The Start

Hi guys! Sorry I forgot about all of you for a little bit, life has been…well, quite filling lately! I realized the other day that I missed blogging/journaling. Just being able to write down my thoughts and emotions and be able to look back on my past experiences and life lessons and smile a little bit. I’ve come a long way from where this blog first began. I’ve matured, physically and mentally and emotionally too. I’ve gotten myself into situations, both good and bad, that have lead me to be the person I am today. So I thought it would be fun to share them with you all ๐Ÿ™‚

So this summer I’m actually in Boston, Massachusetts (still can’t spell Massachusetts without the help of autocorrect, haha) working for one of my dream companies, Vic Firth! For those who don’t know, Vic Firth is a drum stick and percussion mallet company. I am in the offices in Hyde Park where we deal with all of the shipments, the social media, the accounting, the customer services, and the artist relations that go into this 52 year old company. It’s a lot of fun, not as hands on as I had hoped, but nonetheless a fantastic opportunity that I have been blessed with.

Living in Boston has been a great experience as well. I’m in a house with 5 other people, all of us kind of doing our own thing. None of us are super close to each other, so it has been a very independent summer to say the least. I have explored the city of Boston and visited amazing restaurants and historic landmarks by myself a lot, which wasn’t easy at first but has become much easier as I’ve “practiced.” I feel like this is the biggest skill I have gained this summer, being independent and able to live and thrive on my own. It makes me feel ready to take on the real world after college in many ways. While I don’t necessarily enjoy the solitude and lack of partners to go adventure with, I have been looking for the silver lining. I can do things at my own pace which is nice. So I don’t feel bad if I want to change my plans around at a whim and stay in for the night or buy a reasonably expensive meal for myself. I am very much looking forward to going home though and being with my friends and family for a few weeks before school starts.

Crazy to think I’m a senior in college now. And to be honest, I still have no idea what I want to do after I graduate in May. Honestly, I’m not too scared though. Because I have options. What I mean is I have a handful of companies that I have been in contact with over the past few years or months that I feel like I would enjoy working for and that there are opportunities that I want to pursue with them. Sometimes (actually, a lot of the time) I feel like I’m not meant for “real” jobs. I don’t want a 9-5 Monday to Friday kind of job. I don’t want consistency, at least not at first. I want to be on my feet, outside, traveling, interacting, enjoying myself. I want to make people happy and I want to make a difference in the world, those are the main two things I want to aim for in my career moving forward.

Just a few hours before this, I took a look at my bucket list from a while ago. I hadn’t edited that thing in years! There were still things on it like “Hike Mt. Everest,” and “Fly to the Moon,” things I realistically can say I will never accomplish in my lifetime.ย So I went through the whole thing and kind of revised it. I got rid of the ridiculous goals, the ones I really don’t expect to ever happen. I downgraded others, like changing “Compete in a Triathlon,” to “Run a half marathon.” I checked off the ones I had done so far, which were a lot surprisingly! And I added a few new goals, ones that I have discovered about myself over the past few months of introspection. I feel like I have been drifting away from the person I really am recently, and I have been fighting to understand who I really am; as a person and a friend and a lover and a human being. But that story I will save for another post ๐Ÿ˜‰

So I will leave you all with this update on my life. I hope everyone else following along is doing well and enjoying life and being the beautiful creatures that we are meant to be. I’ll leave you all with a little quote: “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”

Happy Weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

My Day Shadowing At The Hotel Monaco!!

Yesterday I had the privileged of visiting the Hotel Monaco in Philadelphia, PA (I-76 is a scary road, just a side note). This was my first experience with a TRUE Boutique Hotel (The Rocking Horse Ranch is NOT boutique, no matter how much they insist they are) and I was very excited for what the hotel and its staff had in store for me!

I began my day at noon where I was welcomed by the GM. He was a very friendly man who told me he had some business to see to but would catch up with me later. I was first able to shadow the front desk/ guest services team. This small group of young ladies and gentlemen were eager to help each guest that came their way, something I always look for in the hotels I stay in. The decor of the check in room, which they actually refer to as “The Living Room” was gorgeous! Check out their website if you want a look at what their interior designer has done with the place. The front desk team was just becoming acquainted with a new rewards program for the hotel so it was interesting to see that. A lot of the work they did was similar to the work I did while I interned for the Lake Raystown Resort and Conference Center last summer, just on a much more professional and technological level. The room keys used wireless technology to allow access into the rooms, the guest folios had specific preferences (room location, snack or drink preference, etc.) and as much information on the guest as could possibly be gathered from their previous stays. A lot of the different interfaces were connected together and worked in unison to pass important information across the board to as many different departments as possible. This kind of advance technology is what I LOVE to see in a good hotel, especially when it is being utilized to its maximum potential.

When I spoke to the Front Desk Manager, I asked a lot about the work-life balance, the pros and cons of the job, his history with the company and with hotels in general, and many other topics. The job of a Front Desk Manager seems tough at times with its constant moving and complains from guests, but it does provide the most face-to-face interaction that I saw within the hotel, which I love. The hours are un-ordinary sometimes (3 pm-midnight or 7 am-3 pm are typical) which can be tough when you have a family or even just a partner. But overall, the idea of leading a team like this, going the extra mile for special guests to provide them with the best experience possible seems like a lot of fun to me. I love making people happy, and with the budget that the hotel has, they make that happen every day.

Next I met with the Public Relations/ Social Media person for the hotel. The cool thing about the Hotel Monaco is that they rarely, if at all, pay for advertisements. They rely heavily on word of mouth and reviews in newspapers, magazines, etc. to get their message across. Their website is also very detailed and helpful to get the company’s image across to guests. But the woman I spoke with works with connecting those pieces together. She mainly utilizes social media platforms to keep the hotel looking good and make sure guests are representing the hotel in a positive manner as well. If someone complains on Facebook or something, she does all that she can to help right the wrong. In the way of media coverage, she puts together press releases and other packets to get important writers and celebrities to stay at the hotel and then write about it, hopefully in a good light. The job seems fun in that she is able to interact with guests a little over the web and occasionally in person, and she gets to meet interesting people and sell the Hotel Monaco image to them. There is also a lot of travel involved as well, and a lot of writing.

I then moved on to shadow the head of housekeeping, something I had never done before! I have worked in many different facets of a hotel, but housekeeping is not one of them surprisingly. I was taken around the hotel, shown all the different styles of rooms and the different amenities that are offered to guests. I then helped inspect some of the rooms for cleanliness, helped restock the minibars, and then watched the process of making a bed from scratch. The whole experience was very cool, definitely different from what I had imagined. The one thing that surprised me was the use of technology with housekeeping. The minibars have a sensor that goes off when they are opened, telling housekeeping that they need to be checked for restocking. Also, they use a tablet to keep track of other minibar information and of the status of the rooms sometimes (unfortunately the tablet wasn’t working too well the day I visited…) The job is very intense, always on your feet, running around to different parts of the hotel to do different projects. This is where the most teamwork is really needed between all the employees. Each room must look exactly the same, so the same procedures must be taken every time a room is cleaned. Though it seems like it would be fun for a day or two, I don’t think I belong in housekeeping. There is very little interaction with people (some of the maids do leave notes for their guests though, which is VERY cool, and pretty cute too), and very little satisfaction (in my opinion) from the work that is done. Therefore, housekeeping isn’t for me. But if it is for you, then kudos to you!! ๐Ÿ™‚

When I sat down with the GM at the end of the day of shadowing, I realized just how much I had experienced of the hotel. I loved every second of it! Even though most of the jobs I had performed, I had never done them on a level as high as this. I enjoy luxury and high end hotels and restaurants, and to be behind the working of one would be a incredible. I can safely say that I prefer Boutique over normal hotels because of the atmosphere, the fun, the small (yet personal) number of guests, and how attention to detail is taken.

Speaking with the GM about his job (something I had yet to do) was very cool as well. He described the work he does as “making sure none of the trains get derailed. And if they do, putting out the fires and setting them back on their tracks.” I think this is very cool because he deals with every facet of the hotel, travels a lot, and though he works long and strange hours, he fits a lot into his time at the hotel. He is the highest person in house that can deal with an issue, and though that is a great responsibility, it’s also an amazing challenge that I may want to attempt one day…

Like always, if you have any questions about my experience at the Hotel Monaco, feel free to ask!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope everyone has a fantastic Wednesday! HUMP DAY!

A Day in the Life of a Realtor

Today I had the privilege of shadowing a Realtor from Century 21 and boy was it an eye opening experience! From regulatory paperwork, to visiting the house soon to be on the market, and even grabbing some grub for lunch, today was a day I won’t soon forget.

The day started with some paperwork, a little learning about the real estate industry, and some chatting about life and such. The guy who I was shadowing was a previous alum from Penn State so we had a lot in common to talk about right off the bat. But the paperwork was mostly getting ready for his big meeting tonight with a man hoping to put his house on the market.

The basic story is that the man bought his house about 5 years ago, fairly recently in real estate terms, and is now relocating because of work and needs to sell it. The company that he works for has a program that contacted Century 21 and another company to put the house on the market, so essentially the guy I was shadowing had some competition to deal with. He needed to break all the ties in his favor between this other company in order to win the client over.

To start, we put together a listing of about 10 other “comps,” or houses that we could compare to the one we were putting on the market (same school district, size, bedroom and bathroom #, age, etc.) to get an idea of how to price the house. We looked at houses currently on the market, houses currently working on being sold, and houses previously sold to get an idea.

Once this was done, we took our information and drove over to the house before he planned to do the meeting there in the evening, both to get an idea of where it was and possible perks or downsides about the property. The house was an adorable, light yellow, two story, two car garage house. Unfortunately, the street that it was located on wasn’t the greatest. The street looked like there were original plans to build about 15 houses, but there were only 3, surrounded by overgrown brush, in the back country of the town we were in. This was very unfortunate, and troubling, considering everything else about the house was looking good! But hey – where is the challenge in that?

We ended up consulting a few colleagues about how to price the houses and ended up pricing it lower than the owner bought it for until the owner is able to get the county or the people who own the land plots to do something about it.

This was one of the main challenges we faced today, making me realize that there is no NORMAL day in real estate! But that is why the person I shadowed loves his job so much. He is able to be moving around most of the day, not just sitting in a cubicle from 9-5, but instead he is on the road, making phone calls and house calls and meeting with clients for meetings. He works at his own pace when he wants to, he is his own boss essentially. He told me that normally realtors aim to either put 2 houses on the market or sell 2 houses to customers or a combination of the two each month. Some months are empty (October-January specifically) where he did no business. But other months are packed with opportunities. In May he sold or bought NINE total houses!! That blew my mind.

To make his money, he makes a 3% commission for putting a house on the market, and 3% for selling it (taking it off). And when houses run about $200,000, that’s around $12,000 a month for 2 sales, or $144,000 a year. Not bad I would say… BUT, this only applies if you’re motivated and work your butt off. It’s a dog-eat-dog work in real estate, but the rewards can pay off generously if you work for them.

To get started, about a $2,000 investment to obtain your real estate license is necessary. Only then can you be hired by a company such as Century 21. The next step for my shadowee is to get his Broker License, which he is currently taking classes for.

I’m really not sure how I feel about this job. While working on your own can be challenging, it can also be fun. Also the lack of early mornings or late nights is also a nice bonus! The only downside the person I shadowed mentioned was that you need to be self motivated, but I see that more of a challenge or mantra than a downside… I suppose this could be a fun career is all else fails, but I feel like I would need a side job during the winter months to make ends meet…maybe as a snowboard instructor…hmm… ๐Ÿ™‚

If you have any questions about my AWESOME day, feel free to ask! ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope this provides some people with some more information than they already knew!

My Experience Shadowing a Meeting and Events Coordinator

For the past few weeks, I have been shadowing “Matt”, the Meeting and Event Coordinator at Crowne Plaza Hotel. From late nights setting up for other functions, to meeting the clients hoping to plan weddings or parties, I have learned quite a bit about the industry and the work that “Matt” does.ย 

There are many pros and cons to the industry. The pros include instant customer satisfaction and interaction, good pay, and the ability to work with your hands , on your feet, outside of a cubicle. The customers are very friendly for the most part and are reasonable to work with, considering you know better than they do on most topics (how the flow of a room should work for a banquet event, for example). It makes my day seeing happy customers, whether that’s while we plan the event or after their event is a success. The pay is pretty good for the work “Matt” does, because it’s in a fairly large hotel with multiple functions per day. I can imagine the smaller the building, the fewer the amount of functions per day, the lower the pay. So if you can handle the constant demand, then the rewards are there for the taking. And lastly, instead of working at a desk all day, “Matt” and I are able to work setting up the event, serving, the event, and walking clients through the hotel. The only time to sit is to eat or send a few quick e-mails or make some phone calls.ย 

As for the negatives, in my opinion, these far outweigh the pros. The hours are extremely long, (more than 12 hours a day 6 days a week, sometimes as late as 2 am) which is something I don’t particularly enjoy. I feel that I am better at working more productive hours than longer hours. Additionally, the work takes a tole on your body. Not only with the long hours, but the lifting and push and pulling makes “Matt” look much older than he is (he’s losing his hair and his body is hurting him more than it is helping him…). I’m not exactly about that life either…ย 

I’m torn between loving this job for the instant customer satisfaction, and hating it for it’s long, difficult, physically demanding hours. I feel like this may be a bad example of how a Meeting and Event Coordinator’s job actually is because “Matt” is new to the company and the schedulers are terrible which make all the employees (including myself) very bitter.

With the right manager and planning, I feel like the long hours could be avoided and the physical work could be divided up more evenly, but this is the experience I’ve been given with and I have learned a lot from it.

If you have any questions about my experience shadowing a Meeting and Events Coordinator, don’t hesitate! ๐Ÿ™‚

My Quest for The Meaning of Life (Well…My Life at least)

So this being the summer between my Sophomore and Junior year of college, I figured it would be a good idea to figure out what I want to do with my life so I can focus more of my time and energy and pursuing whateverย career fits best for me.

So back in January or February, I began reaching out to different people in different industries that interested me or that I wanted to learn more about. These people ranged from Meeting and Event Coordinators to Owners of family run businesses to Public Relation Managers to many other ideas in between.

Through this little experiment-of-sorts, people have been very accommodating and helpful in all regards. Who know so many people would love to help out a inquisitive teen going through a mid-college crisis! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m to keep track of my impressions and thoughts on these different career options on here, not only for myself, but also for other people who may be curious about what I’m doing. If anyone has any questions, feel free to let me know!

Have a great weekend everyone! ๐Ÿ™‚