Wish me luck!

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10/11/2015

Hello all, newbie here.  I guess I should give some background.

I never thought that I'd work for a bed and breakfast and yet I've worked at one for seven years now.  I suppose my job title would be housekeeper but I've done so much more than that. Day to day I do the housekeeping, but for the past four years I've been the inn sitter whenever the owners/innkeepers go on vacation.  And when they do go on vacation I do everything. Everything.... by myself, for a seven room inn. Seven rooms isn't super huge, but its more than enough to keep one person occupied for a week or two (the longest vacation has been an entire month)

I met my current boss when I was still in college for historic preservation. I chose their property for a research paper and interviewed the couple in order to gather some information. After I was done with my paper I brought them a copy of it to keep on their premises and a homemade pie. They called me the next day to say that they ate my entire pie for dinner and to offer me a part time job. I've been working for them part time ever since (when I don't work for them I rehab furniture). At the moment I do housekeeping and inn sitting for both their inn and one that is down the street. A lot of the smaller inn owners in my town know each other, so when boss #2 needed some help with last year's Christmas party I was recommended. Boss #2 has decided to call me over almost every day since.

Boss #2 has made the mistake of trying to run her 5 room inn by herself. I'm not sure mistake is the right word, I think she prefers it. She doesn't have the temperament for having employees(she has told me stories about the many people she has fired). And unlike boss #1 she doesn't have a spouse to help her. If not for my previous experience in housekeeping I'm sure I would have been fired long ago. She's just hired a worker to fill in when I can't help her out. This employee is completely new to the job and has only worked two days. Boss #2 is already talking about firing her because she's "too slow" but at least boss #2 admits that she doesn't have the patience to train anyone. Just this July I watched over boss #2's inn, by myself, for 9 days (as well as her two dogs and the five cats she keeps at her condo). If boss #2 could she would steal me away from boss#1. Its funny. I know that If I had met her instead of boss #1 I wouldn't be working at a bed and breakfast today. I didn't know how to do anything "right" but I had someone who was patient enough to teach me. Either way, I'm too loyal to boss #1, and I could write a book about why I wouldn't choose to just work for boss #2,

Something amazing might be happening. A lot of the inn owners, boss #1 and 2 included, have been trying to sell their inns. And in the last two days boss #1 has gotten two offers(they just sent in counter offers yesterday). I have met one of the interested parties. Once again boss #1 was out of town so I was inn sitting. I was there when the Realtor gave them the tour. They have told me that they would hire me to help with management. This is a wealthy couple who already owns two b&b's in other states. So I'd like to hope they know what would make a good Innkeeper and actually saw potential in me. They don't plan on running the inn just dropping by to socialize. I'd be doing the day to day management.   The next week this same couple came in town to tour more properties. And they ended up touring boss #2's inn as well. Since boss #2 was busy taking a reservation guess who had to tag along to help with the inn tour!  SUPER AWKWARD! But we all got a laugh out of it anyway. The second party seems to be interested in me as well, I haven't met them but boss #1 says that they are nice and I trust her judgment. If all goes well  I might officially become an innkeeper(after the new owners are done with their alterations to the property of course. The house does need some cosmetic updates). In the meantime I've been both excited and nervous. I don't want to get too wound up in case things fall though, but here I am posting about this at 4 am.....

Beyond that, what do I do if it does go through? I know what its like to be managed, but not how to be a manager. Since I've ran the inn by myself I only know how to work by myself, not how to lead. I'd hate to become an overly critical leader like boss #2 but it might be worse if I inadvertently swung in the other direction. I know I'm putting the cart before the horse here, but any advice would be helpful.

seashanty's picture
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06/02/2008

Wow, Croger, that is great. I am confused about inn one and two but I hope it all works out wonderfully for you. Don't worry about managing others. I think you will do quite well. 

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10/11/2015

OK! 

So that second couple has completed their offer and the closing is set on November 18th! If things continue on I will have a new boss and a new title as an innkeeper.

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

Good for you!

Lee2014's picture
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12/11/2014

  Perfect!  Congratulations!!!!

__________________

Have a great day!

 

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Joined:
10/11/2015

Thanks everyone!

That second buyer, the one that I have not met, is coming into town tomorrow. He is coming with an inspector to look over the inn. I'm going to get the chance to meet him tomorrow so hopefully hes a decent sort. I doubt they will find any major issues and unlike the other interested parties he's planning to pay in cash.

Boss #1 is pretty excited about the possibly. I'm going to fill in for them a bit tomorrow because she and her husband are going to go look at houses. They want a little place by the water, which shouldn't be to hard since we are in the low country. I just hope things go through, because I'd hate to see her disappointed. She's sorta like an aunt to me after all this time. After 17 years running the inn they are ready to retire. Although they did say that if I ever needed an inn-sitter to give her and her hubby a call.

Lee2014's picture
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12/11/2014

  Have you thought about buying it for yourself?  Just a thought., if you like it enough to work for the new buyers....why not own it?

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10/11/2015

Oh, I almost died laughing. The market where I live is sorta steep. So unless you got 1.3 million to loan me that's a no go for me at this time.

Lee2014's picture
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12/11/2014

   Ok.  Just a thought!  I'm glad that you didn't die over the laughter!  Prices are steep around here, too.  Knowing how to do furniture repair will help you out in the inn business as well.

ChrisandShelley's picture
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04/13/2014

Croger,

I hope it all works out in your favor. Sometimes we need to be stretched a little bit. I think you've got one big thing going for you and that is you want to be a good boss. Just know that you will make mistakes. You will either let something slide or you will be overly critical or somewhere in between. Managing (leading) people is a skill that is developed over time through experience. You will develop your own style. Here are a couple of things that might help:

1. Set clear expectations and standards. People are not happy if there is not a clear way of gauging their performance. Don't apologize for keeping your standards where you set them. 

2. Give constant feedback, try to make most of it positive. Then when have to address an improvement opportunity (PC for a screw up) then it is taken in a much better way. 

3. Talk to other managers who deal with employees on a daily basis. See how they deal with issues. 

4. Just know that you will not be perfect. There are times when no matter how you handle a situation, there just won't be a happy outcome.

Learning how to move on from a confrontation is one of the hardest things, at least for me. I am a huge people person and really take it hard when I have to have a difficult conversation or what I said isn't taken the way I meant it, or the person I'm talking to can't see my good intentions, or a number of other ways that a conversation goes sideways. Some people are just the way they are and you can't hold yourself responsible for that. 

By the way, I am doing a leadership development project for an offshore drill ship just now. I have 76 supervisors of all different personalities to talk with. Big personalities who mostly don't care for outsiders. Delightful. I'm ready to do B&B full time.

Seriously. 

Anyway, good luck with your new endeavor. Smiling

__________________

Christopher and Shelley Smith, Innkeepers
The Wildflower Bed & Breakfast, Mountain View, AR

 

Lee2014's picture
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12/11/2014

   Wow!  Sounds somewhat like me!  I wanted to do something different.  I went to a seminar at a retreat center and was asked to join their staff.  Nine months later I was working there.  

   Then years later my aunt needed someone to help with the maid work at my grandparents' inn.  So I said that I would help her for the summer of 2014.  I'm still here as assistant manager and maid.  Two days a week I'm here by myself running the inn.

2cat_lady's picture
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09/24/2014

Amazing story. Sounds like you've got the right stuff. 

Dont know how to advise you. I work on my own with my DH. We're both perfectionists but with different views of perfection. We're still married. 

I would think IMHO, that you would need to think of the B&B as your own. It's the only way you could commit to it. Perhaps others on this forum full give you a little guidance on what to expect as far as salary, benefits, responsibilities, etc.

Best wishes. 

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