I HATE TO SAY I TOLD YOU SO (OR WHY DO YOU THINK I DIDN’T CALL YOU ABOUT THE GIG?)

I HATE TO SAY I TOLD YOU SO (OR WHY DO YOU THINK I DIDN’T CALL YOU ABOUT THE GIG?)

August 26, 2015
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Dear Candidates:

It may not have occurred to you that now that my hair has gone gray, I may have become a source of good advice.

I’m no E.F. Hutton, yet, but when I speak, people (should) listen. Frequently, jobs are poison, some of them lethal. I am more likely to be aware of the risks and pitfalls than you are. Realistically, if you are desperately looking to make a move (whether you are gainfully employed or not) you may be likely not to see the negatives in the history of the job.

You have no idea the number of times I get calls from some highly respectable senior execs in our profession pulling their hair out because the company they have recently joined has no clue about luxury, or quality, or people management, or maintenance of their product, or budgeting for capital expenditures, or being realistic with expected financial returns. There are some hotels out there who do not let their General Managers spend ANYTHING on capital refurbishment until the product is completely dropped from its competitive set. Who wants to ride the elevator with a rodent as sole companion? The idea is to squeeze every penny out of the property since its real estate value increases every year: even a 70-year old former landmark downgraded to a Three-Star status with a miserable ATR of under $200 can be sold at a $100 million profit in the right city at the right time.

Yes I do get these calls: “They told me they were going to invest $40 million in a top-to-bottom renovation, but now they want to delay it by two years.” I do feel for you. But did you research their history, their corporate culture, the importance of that asset within their portfolio? Did you speak with your predecessor(s)? Would you like me to share with you the “black list” of the hotel companies no self-respecting individual should even bother considering? The folks promising a $40 million renovation have been the same for many years and will continue to be the same for many more years to come. And will never invest a red cent.

Give me a map of any major city, domestically or internationally, and I can circle the properties you should not even consider.

And do not tell me you have a “bulletproof contract”: there is no such thing in this market where “employment at will” rules. Termination can always become “for fault” at the convenience of your past employer’s attorney. In the meantime, your severance pay, if you are owed any, will be held hostage until you cry UNCLE.

Always search out all of the available resources when considering a job change. And be open to hearing both the good and the bad…you will thank me time and time again!

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