Saturday 3 May 2008


I really like my job. I'm starting to understand it better, I'm enjoying the work I'm doing, and the people there are great. But... well, there's always a but.

On Friday I was asked to sign another copy of my contract, as there had been a mistake on the original. I'd spotted and pointed out the mistake when I signed the first copy (the start date was 25 May instead of 25 April) so it was crossed out and corrected, and initialled by me, and by my manager, and by the General Manager - and I was told that would be fine. But the Personnel department have said that it needs to be re-signed. So I've been given a new, corrected, contract. However, on the original contract, there were a couple of points that weren't entirely clear. So before signing the new copy, I thought I should take the opportunity to ask some questions (which weren't things I'd thought it appropriate to ask during either of my interviews). And all of the answers I got were not the ones I wanted.

So, there are a few "problems", most of which have only just become apparent to me...

At my first interview I was told that I would have to work "some Saturdays". At my second interview I was told I would be working "Saturdays in the summer". According to my contract I work "6 days a week" (with no mention of summer/winter) - this is, in fact, the case. So the only time I have that is properly "free" is Saturday night and, having just worked 6 days in a row, I am basically too exhausted to do much other than come home and collapse! Most days I've been out of the house for about 11 hours - as well as working 8 hours a day (with an hour for lunch), and obviously getting there and back, I've also had to fit in everything else, like going shopping, and going to the bank, and, well, everything, really - because on Sundays, of course, almost everywhere is closed!

I wasn't told at either of the interviews that I wouldn't get public holidays off work. I didn't find this out until the day before I started - I was a bit surprised but, at the time, I didn't think about it too much. I started on Good Friday, when most of the people I know here were just starting a week's holiday (as Easter Monday and Tuesday, and Thursday 1 May, were public holidays too). So that was a little irritating, but I figured I'd already had a month "off", so what did a few days matter? Then I started thinking, but what happens at Christmas? So this was one of the things I asked. I was told that I could of course take time off at Christmas if I wanted to, but that it would come out of my annual leave allowance (and yes, that does include Christmas Day - unless it happens to fall on a Sunday!).

So I asked a few more general questions about how this annual leave thing actually works. I get 24 days annual leave (based on a 6-day week, this is 4 weeks' holiday). I have to accrue this holiday before I can take it, i.e. I have to work a month before I am entitled to take 2 days off, therefore if I want to take a week (6 days) off, I have to have worked 3 months. I can't (or at least it is "expected" that I don't) take any holiday during the Summer (April/May to September/October) - especially in August, which is the hotel's busiest month. I could "perhaps" take a "long weekend" (i.e. what I would think of as a normal weekend), but any more than this would be "frowned upon". It was "suggested" that I should save my annual leave for the winter, as the hotel is likely to be closing at some point for refurbishment, and therefore there won't be any work for me to do then anyway. Which seems a bit unfair.

I have been told that all of this is "normal" for the hotel industry in Cyprus. But there's another woman who works at the hotel (the PA to the General Manager, no less!) who doesn't work at weekends or on public holidays. Hmmm.

I thought my salary was fairly good, but now that I've worked out how many days/hours I'm actually going to be working, the hourly rate is not that good at all. And it appears that I'm not going to get paid for another five weeks.

So, they're the problems. And the fact that I enjoy the job really doesn't make up for them.

Whilst I understand that a resort hotel's busiest time is going to be the summer (kinda obvious when you think about it, I guess), I didn't realise that meant there would be restrictions on when I could take holiday. I already have flights back to the UK booked - in August - if I stay at the hotel, I'm going to have to cancel them, and lose quite a lot of money, which is rubbish. But aside from that, I don't honestly think I can work 6 days a week for the next 6 months (or so) without any decent amount of time off.

I left my last job due to (amongst other reasons) stress caused by working unreasonable hours, and I moved here for (amongst other reasons) a better quality of life. I don't want my job to be my life. I have other interests, other things I want to spend my time doing. As well as this, I need a bit of "me" time. And if I don't have the time to enjoy and appreciate being where I am, I might just as well be anywhere. (Looking at it another way, if I was working similar hours, days, etc. in a similar job in the UK, I would have more or less the same, i.e. poor, quality of life, but would be earning at least twice as much money...)

Anyway, I'm feeling somewhat misled, but I'm also feeling pretty damn stupid for not having asked any of these questions before I accepted the job. But hey, we live and learn...

So I bought the paper today and have started job hunt number two. Again, I'll be applying for anything and everything - but this time, definitely not jobs in hotels, posh or otherwise! What I want is a nice Monday to Friday job, with a reasonable amount of annual leave (which I can take when I choose to take it!) and all public holidays (of which there are 14 - yes, count them, 14!) - I know that such jobs exist, now it's just a matter of finding one... I don't care if I don't like/enjoy it. Or if it's less money. Or both, even! My quality of life, ultimately my health and happiness (and my sanity!) are far more important.

But it's not all doom and gloom. I borrowed a ladder and changed the dead lightbulb:-)


MrOrsom said...

Your employers are arsebiscuity wankbollocks; tell them that from me.

The right job is waiting for you in the land of lovely sunshine, you just have to find it. And as nice as the work there might be, and as nice as the environment there might be, you can't work those kind of dumb hours / day, or it defeats your entire purpose for going there.

Give them a slap, and go get a proper job, hippy!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure there's a good metaphor in borrowing a ladder to achieve light somewhere, but it's a bit late for thinking...

The good job, she will come...

Anonymous said...

I'm sure this job will act as a stepping stone in the right direction for you. Good luck with the hunt! :-)