Everyone welcome back Vanessa, our usual Thursday contributor. HEY! HANDS OFF! Welcome her with your words.
When I was fresh out of college, I thought that I wanted to work in a fancy office. You know the type — fancy shoes, gobs of perfume, nice dresses and a big paycheque. After a stint working in the legal department of the provincial government and a close roommate working at one of the Seven Sisters law firms, I am so happy that I get to work in a less formal environment with my low paying job. Here are approximately 6,519 reasons why.
Right now at work I have a dress code — black pants and shoes, a plain coloured shirt and a blazer. I have to look conservative, not trendy or fashionable, and, seeing as I talk to (mostly) different people every day, I am able to have a smaller repertoire of outfits and need not worry that a client will see me in something twice.
When I was working in the government, I would see new clients each day but the pressure from my colleagues to “one up” each other was incredible. My roommate, at a fancier firm, felt the pressure even more and spent a good $1000+ one Saturday to bolster her wardrobe after a disastrous first week on the job. Girls are mean. My clothing costs are essentially $0 a year — save for maybe a pair of pants or shoes that I’ll have to eventually replace.
Mmmmm, who doesn’t like good food?
Sure fancy offices have catering brought in occasionally but is this food that you can count on? Wouldn’t you like to eat fancy hotel food every single day? Wouldn’t you prefer Starbucks coffee and unlimited fresh fruit and fancy pastries brought to your desk for free? So you have to sacrifice a few thousand dollars a year in pay — you don’t need to pack a lunch every day. Or snacks. Or dinner. At $10 a day for lunch and $4 a day for coffee, you have effectively saved yourself over $3500 on food costs a year.
(Nelson’s note: giving staff free food should really be more common in the hospitality and fast food industries. It’s a cheap way to reward workers, and it keeps them around during their lunch break just in case you need anything.)
What perks do you have working at a fancy law office? Free notarial services? Discounted legal fees? Yay, I can have my DUI settled for cheap and THEN BE OUT OF A JOB.
How about hotel perks? Hotels know that their good employees can work elsewhere and make more money and so we have to be enticed with perks. Free gym membership, swimming pool access, hotel rooms? Discounted stays abroad? Industry rates on everything? Early check-ins, free upgrades, food discounts at other hotels? YES PLEASE!
Plus (and OMG is this the best), flexible schedules that allow me to sleep in until whenever I want and take as much time off as I can afford. A 50h, spur of the moment trip to Toronto is possible — and without using my vacation time. Flexible time off and perks allow me to travel on a whim and take advantage of awesome last-minute deals!
Perhaps the best part of working in the hospitality industry is that you need ZERO post-secondary education to get started. In fact, some of the best workers at my hotel don’t have formal hospitality training but rather, a desire to work in the industry and work as hard as possible to move up the corporate ladder. Starting to work as a front desk agent at 18 instead of going to university means that you’ll save about $40 000 in education costs and, by the time you’re 22, you’ll definitely be netting more money with your “low paying job” than a recent grad and have had four-years of income to boot.