I work as a guest service agent (I'm the gal behind the front desk) at an extended stay hotel. I've been there for two months, and here are some things I've discovered that I didn't quite expect!
1. People give me stuff... all the time. It's kind of awesome, really. There's been a number of times when I've walked through the door at home carrying a bag with unopened drinks or food that a guest who's checking out and cleaning out their fridge has 'donated' to the front desk staff, or a beer that a guest didn't like and was like "Hey, you want to try this out?" (and who would say no to free beer?). There's also many a night when the guests are out grilling on the patio and come in with a "Hey we cooked a lot of food, you guys want some dinner?" Those are the best nights, and let me tell you... our guests sure can cook.
2. I never know who will walk through my door. Okay, I did expect this a little, but I expected it in a bad way - you know, stereotypical hotels are dens of drug deals and questionable escorts kind of way - but thus far it's proved to be you never know in a good sort of way. Like the sweet lady from Germany who is a Michael Jackson tribute artist, one of the "top ten female racecar drivers in the world" (according to Sports Illustrated), a wonderful family in the process of moving to Italy that you discover homeschools and then find out that their story is going to be on House Hunters International. Oh, and did I mention Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis???? Sadly... that was last summer, and I didn't work there then. But hey! It could happen again!
3. I get hit on by the guys. Yes, call me naive - but hey! My only two jobs prior to this were a desk job where the only people I saw there the 19 other people in the office and a small chiropractic office where all the patients were old or families. So far I've had one of the creepy meet me outside the hotel when you are done working type, one less creepy "have I told you you're beautiful today?", and a bunch of the more friendly, "Hey, where's my hug for today?" The last sort isn't so bad... even though some of them hug for a liittttllleee longer than I'd like, they're all friendly guys that hang out and chat with all the staff and have never tried or insinuated anything past the fact that they like hugs.
4. I've met people from all over the country and the world. A surprising handful of people from Rhode Island (and yet for how small the state is no one has recognized the name of the town my Knight lives in!), East Coast, West Coast, Down South. We've had a few people from Canada, England, Australia, Germany, Sweden. It's pretty neat to check people in and see where they've come from and chat with them a bit about where they are going, where they live. My hotel is right on one of the major travel highways of the United States and odds are if you are traveling East-West and North of the Mason-Dixon line, you'll end up driving down that highway.
5. I recognize a lot more pop music than I did before. Amazing how listening to a station that's not country music for eight hours every day can expand your musical horizons, isn't it?
6. The awesome relationships that have developed with our guests. The great part about being an extended stay hotel is that most of the guests stick around for a lot longer than your typical one or two night stay place. A lot of the guests will be there for weeks or months at a time, or come back for a few days every couple of weeks for years. Getting to see them so often provides a wonderful opportunity to get to know people a little better. My favorite parts of the day are when guests I've gotten to know well come back from work or check in again after they've been gone and getting to chat and catch up with them. We have some truly amazing people who have stayed and are staying with us, and that leads me to another I didn't expect...
7. How sad it can be when people leave. After a while of seeing some people every day, you kind of expect them to be around forever. Eventually though they have to go on to another job, or they get to go back home and we get faced with the realization that we'll probably never see them again. We like to tell our guests that we're the Hotel California... you can check out, but you can never leave!
8. That I would have a job that I'm truly excited to go to. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed my other jobs that I've had, but whether because of a long commute or some workplace tensions/drama or simply because it wasn't my goal for what I wanted to do in life, I haven't loved a job. And I really love this job. The guests are awesome and the people I work with are amazing. It didn't take long for us to bond, and we have so much fun working together. We prank each other, we give each other a hard time about everything, we talk and oh yeah, we do work. That too. But really, most of the time it doesn't feel like work because it's always changing and two days are never a like, and they've built such a fantastic work environment. We've had guests tell us that they've never met a hotel staff that was so friendly, or acted so much like family... and while I didn't expect it, that is what I love most about my job.