Prathiba Jaiswal, alumni of IHM Hyderabad, in this exclusive interview with has shared her experiences. Enjoy reading!

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What motivated you to join hotel industry?

I really wasn’t very motivated when I decided to do hotel management. I was just interested in cooking and thought that I would be good at Hotel Management. But that did not work.

How was your industrial training experience at J.W. Marriot – Pune? 

I did my training at J.W. Marriott – Pune (December – January 2014) in banquet only and I was also hostess for Alto Vino, an Italian restaurant there. My experience was not very good because I had to work for 16 hours from day one. It was not a very pleasant experience and on top of that, we were not treated well. However, the work was not very challenging. We just had to serve coffee and clean up the tables but we were forced to work 16 hours a day.

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Why did you leave the hotel industry?

My first job was in a restaurant. The staffs at the restaurant were not very good and most of them were not even graduated. I resigned from there and joined a 5-star hotel but I didn’t find any difference between the staff at both the places. The way they worked was not very hygienic and don’t want to go into details… So I did not like how things go in kitchens in India.

I left kitchen and joined front office. I didn’t want to join a hotel but I had not many choices. Working at front office was a very good experience but the same problem was there as well. I had to work 12-13 hours and my salary was just 10,000 per month. I expected it to be better but in reality, it was not. So I decided to quit. Salary is the main reason for which I left hospitality industry.

We often hear that women in hospitality Industry have to go through a lot of harassment. How do you look at it?

This is not only in the hospitality industry but it is everywhere. In the hospitality industry, people use to pass a lot of cheap comments on you just because you are a girl. But I won’t say it is only in the Hotel industry, it is everywhere.

If you work in a good organization, like I worked in Novotel, I didn’t have to face any such thing…But when I was doing my training at J.W. Marriott – Pune, there was a lot of such incidences which was disturbing; although it is a big and reputed organization.

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What would be your advice to the girls who face all these things?

The thing is that if you can stand for yourself and say – No, I don’t want to work for so long in this department like I had to work in the banquet for long hours. As at that time, I was not very confident so I couldn’t speak for myself. So I worked however they made me work. If you can stand up for yourself and say that you are facing some problem you’ll find help. Don’t submit to harassment. Don’t listen to the manager if he controls you like a donkey. Don’t work like that.

What things according to you should be changed in the hospitality Industry?

There has to be a rise in salary and there are serious problems of under-staffing. So if the hotels manage to fill the gap it would help in dividing the workload.

I don’t think there was a lot of problem from the hotel itself. It was my personal problem that I didn’t want to work like that. But I had a lot of problems at J.W. Marriot – Pune, while I was working there. They don’t treat their trainees as human beings. I don’t know how they get awards for best hotel to work.

Are you comfortable with the working hours in this hotel industry?

I don’t think employees at the hotel should be asked to work from more than 9 to 10 hours. But in India, in every Hotel, the employees are asked to work for more than 10 hours in every department.

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What kind of issues did you face while working at Westin Pune?

It won’t be good to go into such a detail but definitely, the condition of the kitchen was not very good. The main problem was with the hygiene. So I don’t suggest or let my friends to go there. But this was the case of Westin Pune at that time when I worked there and this used to be around one and a half years back. So I don’t know how they are doing right now.

Did you ever have to face any kind of harassment in your career?

When I was working at J.W. Marriot there was only one girl except me as a trainee. Most of the time we used to work together but at several instances, we used to work alone. There were several really cheap guys around, trainees and associates also… There was one instance where two of the associates got into a fight and I didn’t even know about that. Somehow the matter reached the HR and F&B Manager. I don’t know what happened that night but the next day manager shifted me from banquet to Alto Vino as a hostess. So all I know that they were fighting for me and the manager & HR thought that I’m the culprit and I was shifted to another department. The manager thought that I’m a bad person.

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