Archive for sue

Lifetime GM

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2012 by javedbabar

Because he worked the nightshift, TJ hadn’t seen much of Mr Kazantzakis, who was either in his office or remained in his room. Mr Kazantzakis had run the Lucerne Valley Hotel for twenty years and was scheduled to continue for twenty more. The hospitality industry realized the value of loyalty and required senior employees to commit for life.

Mr Kazantzakis’ title was Lifetime General Manager, but it would be more appropriate to say Working Lifetime General Manager. His contract expired when he hit sixty-five. TJ had once asked him what happened after that.

It was the only time that Mr Kazantzakis had avoided a question. He had turned away from TJ and wiped something from his eye, his snow white hair shook a little, and when he turned back his moustache was wet. TJ never again asked him about his future.

Mr Kazantzakis was a hospitality services professional. He was responsible for all areas of the business – revenue and costs, marketing and sales, effective planning, delegating, coordinating, staffing, organizing, decision making, and other day-to-day operations. He had ultimate authority over the hotel and reported directly to its owner. Mr Kazantzakis managed the management team, created and enforced business objectives, oversaw projects and renovations, and handled emergencies and other issues involving guests, employees, the facility, the media, local government and suppliers. His contract also stated that he had “Many Additional Duties”, whose acronym was MAD.

In his time working there, TJ had only disturbed the LGM four times during the night.

The first time was when a group of friends had booked out the second floor. They had a very noisy party and many guests complained to reception. TJ went up three times to ask them to keep the noise down, but to no avail. He had no choice but to wake Mr Karantzakis. The LGM went up to the second floor, saw that people were having good clean fun, and instead of closing down the party, invited all the other guests along. He said, “You are up now anyway, so you may as well enjoy yourselves.”

The second time was when TJ had double-booked the entire hotel. Four buses pulled in simultaneously and two hundred people poured into the reception area, wanting their rooms. TJ panicked and called the LGM, who sized up the guests, chatted to a few, and declared that this would be a Swinging Sixties weekend, with two couples in every room. It was a good way for people to make new friends; how good was entirely up to them. There were no requests for refunds.

The third time was when police were searching for a murder suspect. A witness said that earlier that night, she had seen the victim entering the Lucerne Valley Hotel. The police wanted to question every guest there. The LGM turned the procedure into a Whodunnit? game for the guests, and loaned the police inspector his chequered jacket and pipe “to look like Sherlock Holmes”. He asked TJ to play Watson.

The fourth time was when a guest slipped in a puddle of beer that he had himself spilt moments earlier, and threatened to sue the hotel. The LGM took the man into his office and that guest was never seen again. Later that night the LGM asked TJ to remove a heavy wet bag from his office, and gave him a packet containing $10,000, which he said was for “Inhospitality services.”

The next morning at 6a.m. TJ heard heavy footsteps coming down the main stairwell. He was tempted to say, “Good morning, Deathtime GM.”


Pattern Recognition

Posted in Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2012 by javedbabar

Shama’s success as Building Control Officer had led to a promotion. He became Training Director, responsible for skills improvement of Lucerne’s current and future workforce. Well, it seemed like a promotion at first, before he realized that it was actually another job as well. He was now doing two jobs for not much more money than before.

The lack of professional people in the valley meant that no one else was available. Inadequate facilities for their children caused any that moved here to leave soon after.

Shama had heard that at one time local jobs were coveted, and Village Hall only employed the best and brightest. Kids went to the New City, studied, graduated and returned to work here. Over time the attraction of the village faded, and kids now went anywhere but here to build their lives. Small towns were dying everywhere.

Shama buzzed the receptionist. “Good morning, Sue. Have you had your teatime? Do you have a moment? Good. Please join me in my office?”

“Which one?”

He had forgotten that he now had two offices – one as Building Control Officer, and the other as Training Director. “The Training Director’s office. I will be there in a minute.” He walked out of one door and into another, followed by Sue. He opened a file called Jobs of the Future.

“The issue is this,” he said, staring at Mt Alba, framed nicely by his office window. “We have many construction projects taking place in Lucerne. There are tax dollars coming into the local economy. But as soon as these projects are over, there will be no more income for the village. So now is the time to reverse the outflow of professional people.”

She said, “The previous Training Director planned to do that too, but instead he joined them.” Shama’s face fell.

She continued, “I am not saying we shouldn’t do something. We should, absolutely. We can’t even service the projects under way, never mind any future ones. That’s why you’re doing two jobs and I’m doing three. But the key is to ask what kind of people are needed.”

What does she mean by that? thought Shama. He said, “Go on.”

“Well, if there are no professional people available, why don’t we look for unprofessional people like you?… Oh dear! I didn’t mean that in a bad way. I meant practical people who get things done. We should look for key qualities in individuals, not people with labels, and we should think and plan ahead to avoid any more staff turnover.”

She’s pretty smart, thought Shama. People on the front line always are. They deal with unexpected situations, whoever comes in or calls right now. Those in offices deal with controlled situations; they have work plans, meetings and schedules.

“What do you suggest?” he asked.

“The first step is pattern recognition. I don’t mean pattern matching, where you look for exactly what you want, as we know that’s not available right now. We should use some fuzzy logic, and look for clusters of skills and reasonable answers. I know the lingo as I’m studying for a Human Relations diploma. From what I’ve read, it seems that future jobs will be more flexible, freelance and collaborative. That’s the approach we should take.”

Shama had an idea and said, “I need a Training Manager immediately. I could ask you to do it, but I know you’re too busy. But we need someone like you with common sense, creativity, imagination, people skills, technical awareness, and focus. Do you have a sister?”

“No, I don’t, but I do have a cousin looking for work. See, you’re learning already.”