As thus far in my past three months at Howard Johnson’s of Ocala, I’ve strictly been on A or B shift, never C shift.
A shift, “the dream team” as its been affectionately called, has been my favorite shift to be a part of. Especially on Sundays when the dream team contains my boyfriend, my favorite boss, and myself. I love the smell of coffee brewing, saying “good morning” and “how was your stay” a bajillion times, and I really, really love seeing the morning light dance across the hotel as all the guests wake up. There’s just something special about paperwork, talking to housekeepers, guests, maintenance, the kitchen staff, and all of the front desk crew.
B shift is “the night train”, another affectionate term that has almost been relieved completely because all of the essential folks on the night train have moved on. Night train is the revenue. Its where the money is made, where deals are cut, where we up-sell, upgrade, and smile too much. We take care of the guests as though they were family; extra this, extra that, more of this, less of that. Some, like my boyfriend and my favorite boss, know the layout of the hotel so well that they can spout off what kind of room the room is if you just tell them a number. I’m great at night train. It isn’t my favorite, by far, but its definitely something I’m good at.
C shift has been a mystery to me. The “night audit”, “graveyard”, and extensively long night shift. Its usually an 11 pm – 7 am shift. The night auditor has goals, a lot of power, and they’re completely in charge at night. They settle credit cards, close out the day completely, set-up everyone else for the next day, take care of late arriving guests, deal with people being loud at night, guest issues, and all the in-between. Some of the night auditors somehow manage to sneak Netflix in the mix, but I don’t know how.
My favorite boss and I were supposed to both be off by 11 pm last night. The night auditor never showed up. No one else could come in. He ran to the store for Monsters and boiled peanuts, while I went and grabbed the grossest coffee I’ve ever had. It was $1.79, I should have expected it.
The plan was that I was to stay until 12:30-ish so he could get all of his paperwork ready and I could take care of any guests. I ended up staying until almost 5 a.m.
That shift started on B shift. I worked from 3 p.m. until 5 a.m. Never a complaint. Never a thought that I didn’t want to be there. It was just such an interesting feeling to be at the hotel that late. It was interesting that there were still guests arriving, that the doors were locked, the lights were still on, and hours were fading away.
It was quite a night. I drove home sleepier than I’ve ever driven home from work. But I now appreciate each shift equally. I now have a respect that’s quite high for the night auditor.