Instalment One: city hospitality

So I have worked in and out of hospitality since I was a little girl. My mum was a waitress, come bartender, come manageress, and my father is a master pastry chef. We have worked in small towns, coastal oasis’, and bustling cities. But one thing I have noticed is that the hospitality industry is losing its hospitality.

I meet ‘career hospitality’ members who don’t know the answer to  – “how do you greet a customer” or, “how do you deal with complaints?” The new generation seems to be hell bent on fancy spaces, and cool décor rather than customer relations and atmosphere. Everyone seems to think they can open their own restaurant and do it better than the guy before them, unfortunately though, doing better than rubbish isn’t much of a goal.

I am sitting down over the next few weeks to share with you some stories that make me really see the lack of care, attention, and most importantly hospitality in the hospitality industry. Some of these stories have happened to me, some I have merely observed or been told. These are not complaints, they are observations, these are not necessarily new tales, I have had my eye out for many years. So sit back, cringe, laugh, cry, and enjoy.

Instalment one:

The city, a bubbling cosmopolitan, a mixing pot of colour, life, and enjoyment. You only have to stroll down one street to meander past a varying array of pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants. While this adds choice and variety to the consumers, it adds uncertainty and increased pressure to those who man the bars, and run the food.

In the past few years of living in the city I have noticed unlawful practices left right and centre, mismanagement and inappropriate conduct from staff that goes unchecked purely out of fear. Because, why would you correct someone when there are 100 more people ready to take your place? The employers know this, and it seems in a city they take full advantage of it.

I have worked eight hour shifts without so much as a five minute break, I have been called a bitch, a cunt, incompetent and stupid for things I haven’t even done, I have had rosters that ignore my university timetabling which was a promised factor in structure, and all the while I keep quiet because I need the money and the market is so competitive. These things would never happen in the smaller towns, the coastal oasis’ but we deal.

I have watched girls hit on, grabbed at, forced to pay for transaction mistakes and tips not shared out when they are promised. I have watched men forced to do all the heavy lifting, jobs not anywhere close to their actual job descriptions. I have noticed rostering that doesn’t allow for the legal break between days… the list goes on.

However, despite the crappy conditions that workers endure in the hospitality cityscape they sit and deal because at the end of the day it pays the bills. And sit and deal is literally all they can do at one particular job. I have observed a place who takes full advantage of the employee pool by fully leaning on their staff regularly. This establishment is busy predominantly on nights where there are events nearby, on these nights pretty much all employees are rostered on, but if you arrive at your rostered time and its not yet busy? You better believe you will sit outside not clocked in, not getting paid, just waiting, waiting, and waiting, and you say peep? You better believe they’ll probably replace you, so you waste your night, on illegal hold. Yes the work is fun, and yes it pays the bills, but should workers really have to endure such wasted unpaid time just because they’re deemed replaceable?

Diving in the deep end ~ summing up the opening Act of 2016

2016; this year has turned into a strong year with huge changes that have come out of left field but I am meeting with joy head on. This year so far has come with so many changes that my life is no longer recognisable from what has come before.

In 2015 I took on a show on 4ZZZ where I hosted the Saturday news show alongside a friend of mine from UQ. I had an internship with the Army Museum South Queensland, worked part time at a printing shop on campus, and towards the end of the year I began volunteering at 4BC radio. Personally; I went through a break up before meeting my current partner who I happily settled into a new relationship with quickly.

However, in 2016, I felt it was time to really tackle things head first. My job at the printing shop is a semester job and I hadn’t had an income for two months. I had been looking for new work but had been picky and would only apply for day work that I felt wouldn’t interrupt the life I had created. However, with a negative bank balance I realised I just needed to take whatever came my way. That day I landed my job bartending at the Caxton Hotel. I walked in, handed them my resume, and within three days (after my trial) I had been hired.

Professionally I felt that my time at 4ZZZ, although enjoyable had come to a close. I felt that in order to move forward in my journalistic career I needed to untie myself from the community station that had exposed me to radio work for the first time. The day I quit my position at 4ZZZ I was told there would possibly be an upcoming paid position for me on a casual basis at 4BC. One week later I went on the payroll as a casual journalist!

This position meant that I would need to leave the security of my print job, however I realised that the risk was needed if I wanted to back myself into the career of my dreams, and with a secure housing arrangement I knew it was a risk I was willing to take. Then BAM! Within two days, those ‘secure’ housing arrangements turned to tatters in my hands. Unfortunately, where I had been living was no longer a viable option as the owner sold the home and I was left with no address. Relationship to the rescue! I began the process of moving on in with my boyfriend. An option that to many may seem full on, but to us seemed natural.

Two days after the decision was made I find myself home alone while he is on course, wading through piles of paperwork while we break through the red tape that will get it all sorted out, both with Centrelink, and with his work.

Although it all seems ever so chaotic, it is also so very exciting, I am in a career trajectory that seems to be pointing me towards my dreams, the risks are high, but the rewards seem worth it. I am moving in with the person I care about more than anything else, and while the paperwork seems never ending, it is all worth while. If this is what January alone has changed, I am excited to see everything else coming my way over the next eleven months!

The point of all this? Take the risks, make the hard decisions, it will all work out in the end. It may be scary, it may be hard work, but come on, dive in the deep end, its fun getting wet! ;p

 

 

 

Where is the trust?

Isn’t it sad that the world is so riddled with horrible people that will take their first opportunity to cheat and steal from you? Isn’t it horrible that in the modern world trust is a hard to come by thing? Doesn’t it suck that we pass dishevelled people on the street and instantly plead with God to let us pass without pain?

I had an interesting encounter last week when I left the radio station with a rather unkempt, yet lovely man. As I left the studio and crossed the road to my car a guy called out to me from the front seat of his beat up Holden Commodore. With my headphones in I could have easily ignored him and kept walking, but I looked around the street, and noticing that there were many people around I decided to approach the man and his car.

He asked me through his window if he could borrow my phone for a couple of dollars, and he promised to let me hold his car keys so I knew he wouldn’t do a runner. It was here that I became disgusted with myself. Did I really think so much of myself that I had almost walked past this guy asking for my help without even a second glance. Or was I a victim of societal norms telling me that I, as a woman shouldn’t approach an unknown man alone? And how was it that I stood there looking down on this clearly in need and slightly nervous man still concerned for my own safety and my material possessions?

I steeled myself, scolded myself even, and realised that the world had really turned into an ugly place, a place where a poor man was scared to ask for help out of fear of being ignored, yelled at, or worse, a place where a woman would look over her shoulder for re-enforcements in the bright lights of day when she was merely asked for help.

I gave the man my phone and felt extremely awkward as he handed me my insurance policy, his keys. He made a quick call and offered me $2, I declined, smiled, wished him a good day, gave him his car keys, and walked away. In the entire interaction he was nothing but courteous and polite, yet still when I got back to my car and sat down I pondered the idea of having harassing phone calls from some unknown phone now that my number was out in the open. How crazy is that!?

I rang my mother and discussed my encounter with her explaining my mixed feelings. These being my entrenched need to keep myself as a single young woman safe, and my desire to help those who need it. I came to realise it was neither myself nor this man who had anything wrong, but more a society that has let down its members, a world that has grown dark and untrusting through bitter and twisted societal norms.

Maybe one day we will all learn again what it is to be a good neighbour, a smiling stranger, and an even better friend. But until then, I plan on helping where I can in giving others the small acts of kindness I can without an instant judgment and fear for my safety.

Pleasure in pain.

So in the current year, I have entered into as unemployed. Although I have a job, it doesn’t start back until March, and I do technically have my three internships, I would still count myself as unemployed seeing as I have a lot of free time and no cash monies.

For the first two months of this state I felt slothy and depressed, like I wasn’t pulling my weight, however I have sprung into 2016 looking at it a little bit differently. While I am still frustrated at my income and employment status I have found something that can bring joy back into the long days. Exercise!

I have started training at an MMA gym in Brisbane as well as maintaining my training at my regular gym and have found the feeling of pain is leaving me thriving. Am I crazy in the fact that I only feel good, productive and useful when I ache my way through the day? The joy tight muscles and aching abs brings me makes me laugh as I drive from my third training session of the day back to my home to eat my body weight in meat and vegetables.

I know I am not alone in my joy of pain, I merely am surprised that I have joined the ranks of crazed individuals that crave the pain that progress causes, the ache that shows your personal fitness growth. Because, let me be honest, it wasn’t long ago that my life goals were polishing off an entire tub of ice cream in a day and slothing around in the sun with friends.

However, while I do find an immense joy in aches and the lack of bloated bread related gains I will admit I am not yet the dedicated mad woman I idolise. I still, and probably will forever fall victim to allowing morning Sunday cuddles, and the call of a greasy cheese toasty. But I don’t mind, that’s just balance right?

Positivity

So it is the first Monday of 2016 and my first post in approximately two months. No it is not because I am a slacker. It seems to be because I am a written pessimist in an optimists life. What does that mean I am sure you wonder?

Well, looking back on my posts over the last two years there is a pattern, my writing seems to only flower under negative circumstances, because who wants to hear about how madly happy I am, right?

But, this does not a productive blogger make when one is currently so happy as such a constant, hence why my blog has sat vacant, and lonely for months, a predicament I am here to change.

Recently I was told I am becoming aggressive and controlling, that my life is full of self made stressors and constant complaint, and while on the inside I feel happy and content, I have realised that the image I throw out to the world is a different reflection.

Therefore I herald in 2016 as my first year in a while where I will have a New Years resolution. Obviously one always has goals they wish to acheive over the year to come, however this is my one true resolution –

I, Aroha Liebhart vow to express myself in the positive manner in which I truly feel. I will seek out a life of positivity and true happiness. I will write about all I encounter be it either good or bad, and I will strive to lead a more stress free, laid back life.

For it appears I have professed how positive I am, I have preached that I have relinquished the reigns of control, however the self I have portrayed to others is not the true reflection of my ramblings. It is not okay to only write on topics of sadness and distress, it is not adequate to feed my written fire with naught but the sadness of my past. It is important to share both my trials and my accomplishments, and 2016 is the year to do that.

I walk into this year armed with career progressing internships, University studies approaching completion, an adoring and supportive partner by my side and so many other positives, and it is about time I start sharing these musings with the world as well.

Here’s to 2016!

Remembrance

We live in a blessed country, in a place filled with peace and prosperity, in a Country where the only problems arise from our own prejudice, a place where we have the freedom to go about our busy daily lives, living the ways we choose. In these times it is easy to forget that it hasn’t always been this way.

As we run around going to work, or university, to the gym, or just sloth out on the couch, our minds are always racing with selfishness, which is 100 per cent okay. But this day, like many other memorial days we have a chance to stop, take a deep breath and think about the ultimate sacrifice that many brave men and women have made over the years to defend the country we love and the freedom to make our own choices.

Many of you may not agree, I have argued for our troops on a regular basis to sheltered people who have not been exposed to the good work that our uniformed personnel do on a daily basis. It is too easy to think that your life is good, and the world is as peaceful as it can be, that the wars we are involved in are none of our business and that our defence force is no longer a necessary force. But, it isn’t just about what they do overseas in wartime, but also what they do for those who need it most in times of peace. For you see there is more to an Army, Navy, or Air Force than being the force that stops nations in times of war.

Our defence force is a community that is integral to the creation of the image of ourselves as a nation that we hold dear. It is the reputation of mateship, hard work, and larakinism that arose from the trenches that has created the international image us Australians are so proud of. Which is a comment not lightly coming from an actual Kiwi, but you see despite where I was born I do call myself an Aussie, for your world is a world that I can align with, your nationhood is based on strength, joy, and hope, all things that come out of the work done by those who serve in green and blue.

It is 5 years today since I booked myself into my YOU session to join the Australian Army, a journey I thoroughly enjoyed despite the fact circumstances arose that lead to it also being 3 years since I resigned. However the spirit of the defence force will always call to me. It is a community I believe I will never be far from, for many of my friends still serve, and on a daily basis I am bursting with pride over the work they do. Yes there are days they come home and feel that they aren’t doing the work they believed they would be doing, but to my darling friends, although day to day it may be a struggle and you may not see the point of your work, the bigger picture, the machine you are a part of is a light that guides so many, a force that your Country should forever support.

So please, today, on the 11th November 2015, make sure to take time out of your busy day, a day that you can enjoy because of the bravery of these many men and women, and remember them. Remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in years gone by, and think of the many who wake up at the crack of morning every day to make sure there is a long legacy of a proud defence force protecting and uplifting the Country we so dearly love.

“We will remember them,”

Breaking open the deal breakers:

Ain’t it funny honeys, the ‘deal breakers’ we set in our minds for potential partners?
Hell no he won’t smoke, he better believe he has to be at least 6ft and I can’t find a single hair on his body, except for that sexy stubble residing on his chiselled jaw line!

We set so many roadblocks to love, and many potentials will run at you, hit these issues, bounce off, and you will wave them off into the sunset. But then there will be someone who saunters on in, with their charm, and ‘can’t put my finger on it’ spark, and poof, the deal breakers can’t break shit anymore….

Why is it that when the right person is in front of you, their habits, the very ones that have been the ‘no-no’ in other potential pairings, no longer mean anything? Why is it that what is disgusting on others, is a non issue on others?

Is it chemistry? Is it a fluidity in our desires, a fickle inability to truly understand ones self and know exactly what it is you want? Is it because you have mapped your deal-breakers around societal values, rather than what you really perceive to be an issue, and now the person you can’t imagine walking away from is standing there, and just like the concept of ‘flipping a coin, because it will show you what you really want’ comes into play?

At the end of the day, it just goes to show that these lists, these pros and cons, deal breakers, and goal posts, they’re all well and good in a society where the dating world has turned into a mine field of snapchat screenshots, Netflix and chill, and friend zones. These academic perceptions of what romance ‘should be’ can save our fragile hearts, however, at the end of the day, none of us can really plan for that inevitable day when that person wanders on in, snatches your breath away, and changes everything.

I hope, for your sake, if even just for one dizzying, magical moment, someone finds your lists, scrunches them up, and throws them out the window, while they sweep you up and carry you into the beautiful unknown! It’s time to divide and conquer lovers!