Seasonal Stress: How to Navigate the Unique Challenges Of Temporary Employment in the Hospitality Industry
Few other sectors rely as heavily on seasonal and temporary workers as does the hospitality industry. Whether it's for the busy summer tourism season, a popular local festival, or the hustle and bustle of the holidays, many restaurants, hotels, and resorts rely on their ability to quickly ramp up their workforce with enough temporary and seasonal employees to handle these short-term spikes in customer demand.
These temporary positions offer great opportunities for employees, as well. Students, retirees, working parents, or anyone else who wants to gain some experience and earn a bit of extra money without the long-term commitment of a permanent position can benefit from seasonal work in the hospitality industry.
Looking at the Big Picture
But as with every type of work, there are both advantages and disadvantages associated with seasonal work in the hospitality industry. By their very nature, these positions are usually pretty stressful. Extra workers are being brought in specifically to deal with higher customer demand, and the process of getting your bearings and performing your role as well as the permanent staff you're there to support can be a daunting challenge.
So even while your position is likely to be short-term, it's not very likely to be short on stress or pressure. Use these tips to help you sail through the busy season at your next temporary gig with no problems.
Take Full Advantage of Training.
Let's face it -- new-hire training can be a bit dull, and it can be tempting to let your attention drift at some point during an all-day marathon of instructional videos and dry recitation of the employee manual. But as a seasonal worker, it's especially vital that you make use of every bit of the information that is provided to you. You'll avoid a lot of unnecessary stress down the line if you force yourself to stay present and attentive during training. Be sure to take notes and ask questions about anything that's unclear.
When Faced with Conflict, Practice Detachment.
Even though you're a temporary worker, you're still expected to perform at a level that equals or exceeds your permanent counterparts. However, it's possible to provide excellent service without getting bogged down in the politics, conflict, grudge matches, and other not-so-nice parts of the organizational culture. If you encounter any unpleasantness, just let it roll off your back. Make a conscious decision to channel all of your energy toward your job responsibilities instead.
Focus on the Positive.
When things get particularly hectic, step back for a minute to remind yourself of the benefits you're getting from this seasonal position. Whether your objective is résumé-boosting experience that will further your long-term goals in the hospitality industry or earning a bit of extra money to bankroll a dream vacation, keep them planted firmly in your mind as a mental touchstone you can come back to when you're under duress. A recent study conducted by researchers at Purdue University found that highly goal-oriented seasonal workers experienced less job-related stress than their peers.
Work Some Free Time into Your Schedule.
High season can be very busy in the hospitality industry, and seasonal workers often bear the brunt of the double shifts, overtime, and late closing duties. You can avoid burnout by making room in your busy days for some rejuvenating free time. Work psychologists contend that unstructured "play" time dedicated to a hobby, leisure pursuits, exercise, recreation, or just plain idleness is vital during periods of high stress. As often as possible, schedule an appointment for "me" time -- and keep it!
If you're really feeling stressed, a one-day-at-a-time outlook may help you make it through turbulent times. Whether temporary or permanent, all jobs involve a level of frustration. Just keep your head up and keep your eyes on the prize, and before you know it, things will probably start to look brighter.