Wednesday 30th April 2003 12:52
It's quite busy here in tiny St Mawes. Not only do we have a huge crane parked on our doorstep, but the water board is at it big-time, digging up the roads in three different places to replace mains water pipes.
It's impossible to hear yourself think and, on top of our own keep-the-peace refurbishment battles, we keep getting the blame for all the other noise.
Stress? Who mentioned stress?
In our few sane moments we're trying to build a new team with the right skills and strengths we need to re-emerge, phoenix-like, from the turmoil of the refurb and start recouping some of our investment.
One avenue of recruitment is via JobCentres - countrywide. To these, I sent off a carefully worded list of our requirements. Nothing was heard until a letter arrived saying the jobs had been posted and the details were attached.
I was quite taken aback to see that the descriptive phrases they attached to our job of "station waiter" differed somewhat from those I had submitted. "Job includes taking orders, laying up and clearing tables" - all well and good, if I was running a more basic operation.
I thought that wording such as "station waiter" and "AA rosette, experience preferred" would get a higher skills value placed on the job.
No wonder it's hard to find good staff, if that's the best image they can come up with. Anybody who thinks it takes no more than an ability to clear plates, lay tables and take orders to be a station waiter, think again. Those who do know that - where are you?
Sadly, for me, this is my final diary, and I shall miss the light-hearted breaks it has given me. Apologies to all who wished I'd been more controversial.
However, if anyone fancies a chat, I do hold strong opinions on topics like the quality grading process, employment issues, and the failure to address the fundamental problems we face with education and training, lack of legislation for cowboy operations that tar the rest of us - and, finally, the scriptwriters of Crossroads, who should have established in research that the realities of the hotel world are far more soap-appealing than their fantasy.
On that note, I return to chaos with my magic wand - doesn't every manager have one? - to steer staff and guests through our painful rebirthing, and hope we manage to deliver the dream on time and don't miss the summer-season boat. Wish us luck.
Yvonne Scott is general manager of the Idle Rocks hotel in St Mawes, Cornwall, a privately owned, 27-bedroom property