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Hostel California(ish)

25 February 2017

So now that I’m coming to the end of my first month of work here in Marseille, I thought I’d take a minute to share some of my experiences and basically describe what an average working day looks like for me at the hostel.  In a normal week, I tend to spend around 30 hours actually at work, with two free days each week, but the amount of time I spend at the desk varies from day to day.  Sometimes I’ll do a quick four hour shift, from 16:30 until the night shift starts at 20:30, but on other days I’ll do a full 8 hours, starting from 12:30. 8 hour days are usually when the most fun happens so I’ll just briefly lay out an average day below:

Anytime between 08:30 and 10:30 – Wake up, eat breakfast, shower etc. – timings usually dependent on how far into student mode I’ve regressed on that particular day. I’m trying to get better at getting up and at ’em but it’s hard being a proper, working adult.

12:15 – head into work – usually I either take in some lunch with me, or I’ll grab a sandwich from the corner shop

12:30  – arrive at work, get briefed on what’s going on at the hostel.  This is generally a quick review of any problems that occurred overnight or first thing in the morning, including a tip-off as to who the “difficult” customers are/were.

13:00 – generally get the first wave of arrivals at this time.  Unfortunately they’re an hour and a half early for check in and the rooms are still being cleaned, so I direct them to a nearby restaurant and politely deal with any clients who take issue with this. Usually easy to do, it’s only been half an hour so far.

14:30 – Official check in time brings a tidal wave of clients on some days, as everyone wants to check in exactly on time, or no-one on others, because they’re all still having lunch at the creperie I recommended earlier.

15:00 to 16:30 – lull, very little happens, apart from existing guests asking a few tourist questions and occasionally losing their keys/leaving their keys in their rooms, and the odd phone call about rooms for the night. Cue much running up and down stairs and to and from the desk – great for my cardio though…

16:30 to 18:30 – an actual lull, as most clients have either arrived or will arrive in the evening.  Very little happens here, so I do a quick count-up of all the cash in the till, which usually involves me involuntarily starting to count in French, realising my French numbers aren’t that good, getting lost and starting again in English.

18:30 to 20:30 – by this point, I’m usually a bit tired, mainly mentally.  This then is when the smoke alarm in the kitchen usually goes off as a guest incinerates their dinner on the hob.  Cue 10 minutes of the alarm continuing to ring even after I’ve reprogrammed it and told the system there’s no fire, just an elderly French man carbonising some steak. Then the night group arrive, and are disappointed that there’s no real work for them to do…oh if only they knew…

Ok alright, this has made my job seem awful. It’s not really half as bad as I’ve made out here, and it’s pretty enjoyable.  You get to meet loads of people everyday and even some brilliantly hysterical ones. Like the guy who came in looking for a room, because he’d been kicked out by his wife during an argument…very French that one.

Anyway, I do honestly enjoy it and I’m looking forward to the next few months out here!