I know it sounds like an amateur Ikea commercial, however, this sentence has been stuck in my head for over the past 3 months, being here in the US.
I am aware that the hospitality industry is known for a more “work hard, play hard” lifestyle mantra, long hours of work and maybe a quick smoke in between guests, but here in America they put a whole other twist on it, simply because there almost is no life next to work. One guest of mine really made me realize that when she dropped a comment during check out stating “DC is so depressing, you wake up, go to work, go to the gym after and then go to bed and just do it all over again”.
Personally, I do not find DC depressing (as a matter of fact I love it), however I could relate to that. Working hard here is defined differently, not in terms of “I’m going to work effectively throughout the day, get all my tasks done and leave” but more as in “I am going to stay longer.”
As someone who grew up in a German culture, where working effectively is highly valued as well as a personal life next to work, I found it quite odd that you would stay longer, if you can do the same tasks in an hour less and have some quality time with your friends instead. I first thought that I would be the only one noticing that, but turns out, after some chatting with other interns and the hotel and employees that did not grew up in America, I am not the only one feeling that way.
But why is it that people in the US just love doing overtime and staying at the job longer? Well, despite well-known staff shortages in the hotel industry, the obvious reason is money. Most people have an hourly contract, meaning the longer you work the more money you get. Looking at the prices here in the capital of the US it is something you do want to consider. Not to forget about the lack of a safety net, if you ever get sick or have a kid that wants to go to college.
I mean of course you cannot generalize that, and this is just my own experience but I do have to say that all 3 components are important and is something that definitely needs to be bared in mind as a future manager.