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  • Writer's pictureElliot Figueroa

Is it time to checkout of the service industry?

With the industry going through a harsh reality, many are weighing the options outside of the service sector.

I have talked with a number of colleagues who are considering polishing off their resume with verbiage that speaks to a broader audience than those in hotels, restaurants, or clubs. But will this be a gap-stop or a departure?

Those of us who have worked in hospitality for most of our career know the pressures that come along with it. The everlasting demand of running a customer-centric business in, usually, a 24-hour cycle. Hotels do not close. Most restaurants are either operating or prepping or cleaning for the majority of the day and clubs only close the bar hours before their first tee time the following day. This level of focus creates sharp minds, "on your toes" thinking, and skills that cannot be learned in other industries.

That Housekeeping leader could run a corporate facilities team with her eyes closed. The Front Office leader could manage an office team with one hand behind his back. A good Restaurant leader could probably organize a school district's food operation within 30-days. And what about the line-level employees you ask? I'd venture to say that any hospitality team member will have twice the work ethic of any other candidate you might consider.

So, is it time for service industry veterans to look at other sectors in order to survive? Judging from my LinkedIn updates a lot of you have made the transition successfully. I have seen profiles change, position titles flexed for their "portability" and skills updated to include more mainstream relevancy. Others have decided to use this time to educate yourself and learn new skills.

But will the calling of serving guests lure most of us back?

I was told once, "In order to be successful in hospitality you should be humble, proud, and a bit insane all at the same time because working to serve others is not a job but a passion."

You can't simply leave the industry and not miss it. But we are living in extraordinary times which call for extraordinary measures. So, looking to use your skills to benefit you in a career change or in the short term is not insanity. Instead, think of it as a late check-out or moving to the bar after the meal is over or topping off your drink at the turn before the back nine. In any metaphor, give yourself the time to consider your options.

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