Straddling a high-flying international career

Diploma in Airline Ticketing and Travel Management Courses Mumbai, India

Assuming that at one of the various campus interviews held at Blue Whale Academy, you are offered the job of a flight crew for a reputed foreign airline. And supposing you have taken it up, after very carefully scrutinising the offer letter and signing it as a gesture of acceptance, here’s all the dope on the prep you’d compulsorily need before taking off.

Since it’s an international airline, they will have stringent background checks. So make sure that the contacts you share as references on your CV/job application form (in all likelihood your college teachers assuming you are a fresh graduate) are informed well in advance and a convenient time slot booked for them when the HR might call them. No teacher likes being called during lectures and we’re sure yours is no exception too. Also, give them all the dope on your selection process and expectations so that they don’t appear thunderstruck when the HR calls.

Again, nowadays, all international airlines mandate swimming as a compulsory requirement for flight crew. Even if they didn’t ask you to swim at the interview, which wasn’t at the beach anyway, chances are there that as part of the induction, there’ll be a poolside/beach party for freshmen to meet and interact – a nice way to test how well you take to water. If you’ve lied through the interview, you’ll be caught unless you’ve learnt swimming in the interim period between the interview and actual joining, which mightn’t be possible for everyone. For it is widely speculated that fire signs like Leo take to water less easily than water signs like Cancer. So, remember, lying is never a good idea, least of all at an interview. So, if knowing how to swim is mandatory, go ahead and learn before you apply. At least don’t hide it. For all you know, if they like you otherwise, they might teach you swimming at the induction level before you actually start flying.

Then comes the very potent issue of dealing with transcontinental time zones. You’d do very well to remind yourself that your body is after all a machine with a mind of its own. A mind that very often tends to be mindless when disturbed or tampered with. One of the commonest issues international flight crews face is the issue of juggling multiple time zones. Thus, it is very important to train your mind and body by adopting holistic health practices complete with balanced diets, healthy habits and six to eight hours of sound uninterrupted and peaceful sleep. This is so because like the plane you shall shortly board to reach your work destination, and the many flights you will routinely board subsequently as your career progresses, your body too is a machine. As any doctor will tell you willingly, sleep is nothing but the body’s time to be grounded and refuelled so as to take on another day. It is a misconception that the body stops functioning during sleep. If that was the case, how’d you be breathing? That’s the circulatory system at work, for starters. Plus, there’s the digestive, nervous and all other systems that are in fact working along in tandem so as to recharge your batteries. A good night’s sleep, as Nature has told us very clearly through birds and bees, is very healthy and essential. What is it that they say about being early to bed or and early to rise awarding wisdom or something such?

In a similar fashion, your body needs to be sleep-trained by opting to sleep and wake up as per the country you are flying to. This can be very easily done by logging on to the internet and looking up local times at your destination city and adjusting your clocks accordingly. This is to be followed by trying to sleep at and wake up at the host city’s timings at least a fortnight prior to flying rather than plunge into it only after you land in your hotel suite jet-lagged and weary.

Also, familiarise yourself with your destination’s cultural milieu for some cultural shock absorption padding. This is to say, for instance, if your base city is the exotic Middle-Eastern city of Abu Dhabi, where all the girls headed for Sex and the City 2, please note that they work on Sundays and Fridays and Saturdays usually serve as weekly holidays unlike India. Also, you might opt for religion-specific holidays like choosing to work during Eid while opting for compensatory offs during Christmas and New Year holidays.

Also, researching the place’s quirks and eccentricities, food practices, laws, acceptable and non-acceptable public behaviour, dress codes, traffic rules, ethics and morals on the Internet is a good idea rather than fall flat on our face when we encounter spatial oddities first hand upon reaching the destination.
Again, avoid drinking pre-boarding or during the flight. Liquors are very dehydrating and you never want to start a career with a mid-air crisis! Plus a drink too many can put you off guard to reveal a side of your personality that can only be acceptable to your dearest relatives and friends.

Also, true even at 40,000 feet above the ground – drink only after a heavy meal, never mix spirits and keep sipping water and nibbling on cheeses and nuts.
Drink if you absolutely must, or your future colleagues insist on raising a toast to you – but leave it at that. They aren’t allowed to drink on duty as it is. So mock raise a symbolic glass and clink it too, but try not to plunge into it with gusto. The flight crew isn’t your friend yet. And this could be staged under instructions from the higher ups. Plus, aren’t there cameras in-flight?

Plus, you’ll mostly be flying the carrier you’ll take up work for and there are in-flight attendants who are monitoring your every move and reporting it to the minutest details. Don’t get spooked but even drab details like your posture and body language, interaction with co-passengers, communication with the flight crew, choice of in-flight content, handling of in-flight materials like quilts and magazines, table manners, adherence to safety instructions and even toilet etiquette is being closely monitored.

So, start shopping for essentials – multi-socket adaptors, warm clothes et al – and start packing your bags. Always carry a book, essential toiletries and allowed weight only. Remember to not take a lot of fluids, never take inflammable or contraband stuff or liquor. Also, there are declaration and VISA formalities to be completed on arrival. Always be truthful in your responses as the city shall treat you the way you treat the city.
So, have a great flight!

PS: This is an unabashedly indicative list

Before accepting the campus offer…

Campus-Recruitment, Interviews & Offers

Once you’ve passed all the campus interviews with flying colours, you’re faced with the enviable task of choosing the best offer. And this necessarily isn’t the best in terms of money. As any experienced professional will readily tell you, your career contour is, if not totally, at least significantly, decided by the first job you take up.

Apart from the fact that a campus placement on your CV is a definite plus, as you shall subsequently find out in your future job searches, you need to justify why you chose the offer you eventually did. And later, why at all are you looking for a change if its such a sparkling profile as you make it sound?

So, always choose your first jobs very very cautiously, weighing all the pros and cons, heeding all the advice that comes your way very cautiously and researching as much as you can. In this regard, it is a good idea to speak to trusted current and past employees about the company’s work ethics and culture, albeit in a non-intrusive and conversational tone which doesn’t serve to put them off. Just in case you didn’t know, they might just carry tales to your potential HRs.

You’d also do very well to remember that offer letters come with an expiry date which is very clearly mentioned in the letter or e-mail. Do a backward calculation to see if it suits you. If it doesn’t, make your expectations clear rather than go back on your word once you’ve hit the ‘send’ button on the e-mail soliciting your approval or signed a copy of the offer letter in black and white.

Now comes the trickiest bit – salaries! Most companies, be they hospitality or aviation, have their own pay structures and entry level salaries and often offer the best they can at campuses. If you are unclear on this, a good way of going about it is asking your seniors who have taken up such offers so as to lay all doubts to rest. If you think you deserve better, politely but firmly ask the HR if the offer can be tweaked to a more mutually-suitable one.

And be patient while this is being done. Re-working offers often involves multiple levels and layers of approvals which might take time. In the meanwhile, it’s never a good idea to stalk the HR on social media or WhatsApp for an update. She’s on the job, and the job being hers, she knows it well and has her KRAs to match too. Rest assured, she’ll pass on the information whenever she has some. It is very well-known that one of the biggest challenges any HR team faces is reducing the on-boarding time or the time taken to get a person to join the organisation. This is especially true in case of experienced professionals who straddle hectic schedules. In your case, since it’s a campus, and it’s your first job, your enthusiasm will be judged by seeing how eager you are to join the organisation.

Also, don’t forget to account for the time you are likely to spend at the Goan vacation that was planned long ago with your besties. You’ll seldom be able to extract time off work for an outstation holiday post joining. So, its a good idea to let your hair down while you still aren’t answerable to bosses.

Again, don’t ask for too much time as the HR will most likely retract the offer and make it to the next person in the queue. Remember, no one is irreplaceable and asking for too much time as a fresher is really not advisable. With experienced candidates of course, it’s a different story as there are mandatory notice periods to be served and severance penalties and buy backs that come into play.

So, the bottom-line is, please read the offer letter carefully before you sign an acceptance. Get help if you need to. Just don’t be in a hurry but don’t slack around for too long too! Follow up by a courtesy call to the HR informing her of your acceptance and ask about the office timings. You don’t want to reach late on the first day, ideally ever.

As you embark on a new journey – one which you’ll put most of your waking life into – we wish you all the very best

How to be a good Housekeeping specialist at five star hotels

Housekeeping Specialists Course - Home Cleaning - Mumbai, India

It’s campus placement season at your prestigious Blue Whale Academy and you’ve landed your share of offers too. After very carefully scrutinising each and every offer and aligning it with your personal interests and career goals, you have decided to take up the offer that’s closest to your heart – housekeeping specialist at the city’s most famous five star. Apart from being the closest to your dream job, this offer comes with a host of advantages like – proximity (in other words, the hotel is close to your home) and the freedom to opt for a shift of your choice and most importantly good work incentives.

However, when you actually commence work there, things might not exactly be the cakewalk you imagined they would. But worry not, we’ll get you sorted.

First things first – you’d do well to remember that all that your textbooks told you were meant to be used in conjunct with on-ground realities. So to say, on the job, your absolute and lone focus should be in doing things in the quickest and easiest possible manner rather than try to align it to some theory you’ve learnt as a student. In other words, your textual learning must provide only a broad framework that you must refer to only if you absolutely must, and definitely in the spirit, not in the letter or verbatim!

Since managing the semi-literate housekeeping staff can be quite a challenging staff as one often has to negotiate language barriers too, please remember that it’s never a good idea to shout at people or boss around. Be a firm, not a nasty boss by treating every person who’s not in as fortunate a position as you as you’d like your higher-ups to treat you.

Also, housekeeping is often an extremely challenging and thankless job which you can turn around by being meticulous and stringent to details like very quick turnaround times to clear, for instance, stinky rooms after a wild party given that there’s usually only around two hours between check out and check in times. Or reacting to weather-infused or natural situations like damp smells in monsoons or termite/bedbug attacks in summers especially if the room hasn’t really been in circulation for a long-ish time.

As housekeeping is both an internal and guest-facing role, you’ll have to juggle a lot of hats and pacify a lot of frayed nerves. In other words, please remember that you will be responsible for ensuring the routine upkeep and maintenance of the hotel’s property including lobbies, conference halls, restaurants, kitchens, washrooms, internal offices and most importantly, guest rooms.

And just in case you assumed that managing housekeeping is a back-end job, please wake up! You just cannot expect to be done after your staff has done their daily wiping and cleaning job. For, there’ll be boisterous kids out on a mission to ruin all food in sight, their mom’s who’ll spill wine and daintily trip over the mop to accuse the hotel staff of hiring untrained staff and the kids’ dads will most surely join in their football, smashing a few vases on the way to the goalpost, which FYI happens to be the layered glass giant teak side table, a favourite with the promoters of the hotel. So, despite the fact that the hotel management will surely have some rules in place, guests usually don’t think twice before flouting them. So, if the kids are running around, politely but firmly ask the parents to take charge of them.

The worst guests are mostly those who come on one offs like office conferences, weddings, parties and the like. Since they do not have any intention to strike up a long-term relationship with this particular hotel, they’ll most-often not care before spilling, smashing and indulging in unacceptable behaviour in public.

Also, please remember that the bar area is the most-susceptible to damages as it’s a universal human tendency to drink far beyond one’s capacity and then get garrulous, boisterous, quarrelsome and destructive – in that order. Also, people tend to drink till tipping point and then usually throw up.

Yes, don’t cringe, though not you, but your staff will have to clear that up too. But rest assured, it’s nothing too grossly close for comfort – after all, starred hotels are so priced because they employ the latest in cleaning technology and manual scavenging is just not an option!

Again, please note that you can never get away with the excuse that your uniform is stained thanks to the nature of your job. At a seven star, right from the usher to the valet, everyone is expected to be prim and proper, no matter what time of the twenty-four hour day it is. You’ll usually have a lot of spare uniforms – use them rather than turn up in smelly wrinkled clothes that are so very revolting to the human senses. So, please be a little OCD about hygiene as no-one like to be referred to as ‘the stinky unkempt guy’!

And please remember, you’re never fully dressed unless you’ve worn a smile!