Saturday, November 17, 2007

There's a presidential suite available, but no governor's room..."

It is way past time for an update about my life as a tour consultant assistant. I came to Starbucks today thinking since I paid $5 for my peppermint mocha that I could use their internet. I was mistaken. I’m not paying anything extra to use their wifi. I can probably steal a couple bars tonight or tomorrow. Luckily I brought a magazine so after I’m done gabbing about my new career, I can immerse myself into the world of cosmetics.

Enough. My job.

Basically what I am doing is this: I work in an office of 15 individuals. All female except our boss who is a dude. There are four tour consultants who work on laying out extravagant vacations for the very wealthy. They are each assigned a region of the world that is their specialty. One person has China, another has Europe, another has India, Turkey, and the Middle East, and the last one does South America, Africa, Aust/NZ, and Indochina. The last two are completely swamped, as India, Turkey, Indochina, and South America are hot spots. So, as an assistant, I mostly work with the two of them---

A client calls in. He wants to do our South America tour through Argentina, but also wants to add in Antarctica. The tour consultant says, “Hey, Rachel! Could you please cut and paste the itinerary together from our regularly scheduled tours? And, oh, yeah, the last leg has never been done before. We need some hotels and some sightseeing. And then email the ground operator and get a price. Once you have the price figure out the percentage markup. And then call the hotels and see if their direct rate is better. And check online. Oh, and they need flights too. Could you also send this off to them? Okay, now on to the next people…this family of 11 wants to go on a safari…” And then I have to usually creatively write something about a location, mimicking our distinctive style. “Tonight indulge in a foot massage accompanied by flutes of champagne.” Which can be really fun.

I have to say, almost every single day since beginning, I look at the clock and think, “ONE?! I better eat something today!” The mornings pass by unbelievably fast. I have to be on my toes, piecing stuff together constantly, making sure everything makes sense (thanks to my geography background it’s not so hard), and also deal with coordinating with the tour consultants who are terribly busy.

I just celebrated my four week anniversary. The first week I was learning the ropes at a nice pace. The second week, there was a death in the family for one lady and I took over her cases for the next week and a half and then I was STRESSED as I was suddenly taking on a ton of responsibility and working directly with the head dude. Then she came back and the India lady left for vacation and is still gone. And things don’t go as planned …sometimes when you think something is settled, all of a sudden there isn’t a room at the Four Seasons for someone and you are sent scrambling. My quote of this last week was “I’m so stressed I could vomit.” (I’m hoping my dedication will result in a timely promotion… I couldn’t possibly get any better training than being thrown in head first into other people’s files.)

But I love it. I love my office. I love my coworkers. They are truly very helpful and interesting people. I love our “Happy Hour” Fridays (and occasionally other days… like when our boss and his wife went out of town ---- here come the wine glasses!) where we eat fancy cheese and grapes and gulp down wine in the afternoon. I love how I can wear jeans whenever I want. Do my feet hurt? Take off the shoes for the afternoon. I like sitting in meetings while a crazy lady from Dallas waxes on about her mega-yacht trip. Yes, I might actually drool a bit listening. But so is everyone else. I’m getting paid to read luxury hotel websites, stare at maps, and drink freshly made coffee.

I enjoy taking the train, seeing my friendly ticket guy who gives me a thumbs up and a wink every morning (his happiness is contagious). I walk out of Union Station and look to my right---The Sear’s Tower and the river. I walk out at night and all the buildings are lit up. There are Christmas decorations in the main hall of Union Station. Ahhh..happiness.

Of course, all of this thinking has been absent in my life for quite sometime…basically since I used to be stressing as a real teacher (none of that Okinawa time filling stuff). I’m exhausted. 9:20 at night and I’m crawling to bed. I am also trying to work out four or five times a week… And let me tell you, a class called “Hardbody” isn’t a fluffy little workout.

Ken is proving to be very handy to have around. He makes the most delicious meals (orange roughy, gourmet chicken salad sandwiches, pumpkin soup, sweet potato everything) and is always ready with a glass of wine when I send him an email midday that says, “AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!” He’s good company. I think I’ll keep him around for a bit longer.

And I end with this thought ---- Do 9 years olds really need to be ordering Grande Gingerbread Lattes with soy milk, no whip?

Post script. Am going to pee myself. No Starbucks wifi, but Quiznos is free. ☺ Ha.


CresceNet said...
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Carly said...

Just when I think I like my job... (I consider myself working atm, because my timer is on and experiments are incubating :)

You have to go ruin it by talking about yours in a real city with a real commute and interesting people.

I comfort myself by thinking that can get free WiFi in MY starbucks. Unfortunately it's on campus surrounded by really annoying undergrads who think their parents rule the world (actually, some of them might... scary thought). But they can't even get my order right and are very unfriendly. (and no, kids shouldn't order anything but hot chocolate) Now I'm depressed.

Glad you love your job! Keep it coming - so I can live vicariously through you!

Tammy said...

well, while you get to enjoy your Sex in the City lifestyle, I'm just thankful that my mom FINALLY left....its Sunday, she's been here with my sister since Wed. WEDNESDAY!!!!!! I'm going to vomit. Oh, and did I mention I hate my job too? But at least I have christmas decorations up.....thank God for Christmas.