My first season with Club Med is slowly coming to an end.
Yup, already four months!
It was a shortened season for me since I arrived here in Punta Cana in July, two months after the Summer 2016 season had already started. But it’s mind-blowing to think of everything I’ve accomplished!
July and August flew by, each day crazier than the last. Summer is a very busy season for Club Med in Punta Cana. This is the time when Europeans travel, and because it’s such a big trip for them (long flights, time difference, jet lag, etc) they all tend to stay way more than a week. Some families stayed with us for as long as three weeks! The village was at full capacity for most of August, which is a lot of people considering Punta Cana has the second biggest Club Med village in the world (after the Kamarina village in Italy, which is only open 6 months/year). Needless to say, we G.Os were kept very busy.
In September, the season got quieter. A LOT. We went from full occupancy to maybe a quarter-full in less than a week! With school starting again, we started seeing less families, and more singles and couples. There was a nationality shift in our G.Ms too… We had less Europeans and more North Americans, who only tend to stay a week or 10 days. With lower occupancy in the village, we all started breathing a bit better. G.Os were encouraged to take vacation, while others were offered more training since there was more time for it.
This slower time of the season is also what we call here Transition Time. This is when G.Os leave for their next destination, and when new G.O’s start arriving. There are usually a few days, sometimes weeks, when the former G.O and the new G.O coexist in order to train and prepare for next season. When the new G.O is deemed ready, the former G.O packs up and leaves for his or her next village, where they’ll in turn be trained by the G.O who’s also waiting to leave for his or her next village… It’s an endless wheel, but it all ends up making sense somehow. In Punta Cana, our former chef de village Abdel has already left for his next village in Cancun, and our new chef de village, Aziz, has settled in to take his place.
For me, it was all a little disconcerting at first. I’d first arrived in Punta Cana at the busiest time of the year, at a time when processes were already put in place for the season and colleagues were settled into their jobs. When September rolled in, I really wasn’t used to this sudden slower pace, or even all this change with colleagues leaving and new ones arriving. It felt different to witness this other facet of Club Med, of G.O life. Saying good-bye to colleagues is hard, because you not only work together for long hours and for days on end… You also live together. Many tears have been shed over the last few weeks, and it’s not over yet. Apparently, and unfortunately, I’m told this is the part of G.O life that never gets easier.
I was given the opportunity during this slower time to learn a new job. I went from Guest Relations to Reception (which is actually pretty similar, and sort of managed by the same team… But hey, new skills are new skills!)
I learned how to manage the front desk (with a more professional face than this one), open accounts, handle payments, balance cash, and coordinate room changes.
I also learned fun stuff like how to explain housekeeping and maintenance issues. In Spanish. Into a walkie talkie. At 11 o’clock at night.
Out of my comfort zone you say? (There was some laughter involved. Some of it mine. Most of it coming out of the walkie talkie.)
Since then, I’ve been dividing my time between Guest Relations and Reception, and more than ever, I feel like I have a better grasp on each job. I love how learning new skills and taking on more responsibilities can help you understand aspects of the job you were doing before, and WHY you were doing those things in the first place. Every department is tied in together in some way, and it’s fascinating to understand how it all happens. If any new G.Os are reading this, I highly encourage accepting as many opportunities as possible to get more training, or to try your hand at something different. Not only will it help you become a better employee, but it’ll also give you more confidence in the long run since you’ll really get to know every facet of your job. It’ll feel like pieces of a puzzle just snapping right into place.
In October, I was invited to take my vacation. At Club Med, you get two weeks vacation per season. One week paid, one unpaid. You can choose to take only that paid week if you prefer, but I decided on the two weeks and used the opportunity to fly back home to Montreal to visit my family and friends, and yes, even my Global News peeps! 🙂
But here’s what you should know if you’re a G.O going on vacation back home:
- Everyone will want to see you.
- Everyone will want to see you MORE THAN ONCE.
- You will overbook your vacation to try and do everything, and you will not really rest.
- No matter how hard you try, you will not be able to see everyone, and you will feel guilty.
- Those you will see, you probably won’t have much time with, and you’ll feel like you didn’t go in depth into conversations.
- You will overpack your suitcase on your way back to Club Med, because you will remember all the things you missed in the last months and you will want to make up for it. Not to mention all the things other G.Os will ask you to bring back for them. Be organized, and try not to go overboard. (That didn’t work for me. Ask the Air Transat agent who charged me 180$ in overweight fees).
Also, here’s what will happen in the first few days away from Club Med:
- You will smile and say hello to everyone you cross paths with, whether you’re at the shopping mall, the pharmacy, or just walking down the street
- You will accidentally slip out Spanish words (I said “Gracias!” to the very French Canadian cashier after paying for my groceries at IGA.)
- You will not be able to hear a Crazy Sign song on the radio without going through the steps in your head.
- You will annoy your friends and family because you will actually show the steps, and force them to dance with you.
- Regardless, you will love seeing everyone and will feel mentally charged up and ready to get back to work. Goodbyes are not easier the second time around, but somehow you’ll feel more at peace because you know what you’re getting yourself back into. It’ll honestly feel like you’re travelling from one home to another. (That’s if you’re coming back to the same village and not going to another one, but that’s for a different blog post.)
And so… Here I go again. There are still a few days left to this season, and I plan to enjoy each and every one.
That said, I’m VERY anxious to find out more about season 2…