Lookin' Good at 58

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Top Five Jobs - Number 3

To recap I am going over my top 5 jobs that I have ever worked at over the years. Number 5 is where I work now and number 4 was the Pallisades Restaurant in Jasper Alberta.

My number 3 favourite job gave me an opportunity to work abroad. Back in 1987 I was going to French school in Montreal and collecting unemployment insurance at the time when I had an interesting conversation with someone who asked me why don't I apply for an exchange program between Switzerland and Canada. I was learning French anyway and with my diploma in hotel and restaurant operations I might stand a good chance to find work there.

So I applied and was accepted with the advice that I should conduct my own job search. Reason being is all they do is put an ad in the paper over there that no one pays much attention to. I remember sending 50 resumes out and received 26 replies back.

Out of 26 replies I got one yes from the Hotel Eden au Lac in Montreux Switzerland. Situated right by the Casino where the Montreux Jazz Festival is held every year and on the boardwalk alongside Lake Geneva the location was idyllic.

Getting a post as Assistant Food and Beverage Manager I acquired skills typing up menues , being Maitre'd , counting inventory , purchasing and receiving goods and just about anything else you can think of. Setting up conference rooms , serving , bartending etc.. Oh did I tell you that an Assistant F and B is a hands on affair in Switzerland?

The thing that I took from my experience in Switzerland is discipline. When you work there you follow their instructions to a T. In Switzerland it is their way. They have their way of doing things. In setting up rooms everything was put back exactly the way it was. A chair had to be at this angle not this other angle etc..

I did a lot there both at work and traveling wise seeing a lot of Germany , Italy , Austria , France and of course Switzerland.

It was a great experience for me to understand how things actually work both in the Front and Back of the house. I quickly learned that to maintain a high level of service no matter what the guests needed we did it for them. Running to the bakery down the road to buy 10 croissants for the buffet rather than run out the last 15 minutes and tell the guests there were none left was not an option. We had to have those croissants.

I spent two years there from 1988 - 1989 when my second contract was ending up. I had reached 30 years of age and was no longer eligible for the exchange which ran between years 18-30.

But what a time I had. I wasn't paid a lot but the memories and work experience made this one worthwhile. Who wouldn't want to work in Switzerland in any capacity to enjoy the fresh air , train rides , and mountains. I even served Prince Philip who stayed at the hotel. Even carried his baggage up to his room on his arrival. It was for a World Wildlife Federation Conference being held in town with a lot of dignitaries staying at our place.

What a beautiful spot. Here is the link to number #3 of my top 5 jobs of all time.

Check it out. www.edenpalace.ch


lesthook said...

What a beautiful place to work! I spent 3 years working at an american officers club in Germany. My husband was in the army. I was a bartender at the time. It was a great experience.

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

lesthook...it was a great time in my life for sure. A working holiday. Sounded like you had fun too.

marion said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Marion...thanks for dropping by and saying hello. I am glad you are finding the blog interesting. That is great! Take care and drop by anytime.

megaphon said...

Dear WaiterE,

marion is a spammer...!
(Still, I appreciate the effort you make by answering to every single comment!)

Am very happy to hear you had a great time in Switzerland and Europe!

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Megaphon...I think so too. Thanks for pointing that out.