I came to Blackberry Farm nearly six months ago to get experience in the hospitality industry with the idea of someday opening a Bed and Breakfast of my own. At Blackberry Farm, I hoped to learn from one of the most prestigious places in the industry and I wanted to find out if hospitality is the right industry for me.
The verdict is, no, this is not the right career path for me. This is not in any way because Blackberry Farm is a bad place to work. (Quite the opposite! Blackberry Farm is a wonderful, beautiful place with caring, lovely people on its staff.) It is just not the right industry for me. As staff at Blackberry Farm – or at most other places in the hospitality industry – our goal is for everything to run smoothly without our being noticed. We want to provide a pleasant, calm, comfortable place for guests to relax, rest, and get away from the busyness of real life. If the staff is too loud or trying to bring attention to themselves, they are not helping in achieving that goal. I am too loud and crazy and excitable to do such work for the rest of my life. I’ve always liked the limelight too much.
I remember laughing a lot in sixth grade. I have always laughed a lot, but in sixth grade, I believe my laughter reached its peak. Apparently, my face would turn a reddish-purplish-blueish color if I laughed long enough. My classmates started cheering, “LIME GREEN LIME GREEN,” every time I laughed because they thought it would be funny for my face to turn green. (At the time, I thought that would be funny, too; but now that I think back to those days, if I turned green, I sure hope my teacher would be worried and send me to the doctor!) My classmates’ cheers only made me laugh harder because I thought it was funny that they thought it was funny how much I laughed. Then, one day in sixth grade, I fell out of my chair laughing. I promise, that first time was an actual accident! But after that, I realized how much attention that got me and I must have liked it because I kept falling out of my chair when I laughed too hard. (Right now, I am quite amazed that my sixth grade teacher didn’t strangle me! Perhaps he wanted to do so, but as a straight-A student (almost), I suppose he understood that I needed to act badly somehow… Anyway, if he strangled me, we would be dealing with a completely different issue here.) Later, in high school, my school’s junior high and high school were sent to the “modular classrooms” (basically double-wide trailers, classroom-style) as the school built a new building for the upper school. Those walls proved to be paper thin because I remember many, many times in high school when I would be laughing or talking excitedly (which also means loudly) and hearing one of my teachers in another classroom yell from his desk that I needed to be quiet. He didn’t have to come into the room to see who it was that was making so much noise. He knew it was me.
I have thankfully matured a lot since high school. I still dearly love to laugh, but I can at least control when I laugh and when I don’t. Well, sometimes. It’s a work in progress. And I can sometimes control how loudly I laugh… but still not always. All this to say, working in an environment where my goal is to not be loud and not be noticed is honestly hard for me. I feel like an awful person, admitting that I need so much attention; but no! that is how God made me and I am thankful for it. I like crazy, silly people, and I am proud to be one of them.
Two more smaller reasons why hospitality is not the right career path for me is that every day is pretty much the same. The days may change some, but not much. Every day, you serve food, clean rooms, check people in and out, and do it all over again the next day. Also, there are a lot of demanding people in this world. I know that, whatever career path I take, there will always be demanding people to work with, but at a place like Blackberry Farm, demands are only heightened. People come to Blackberry Farm expecting magic, and that is what they should get! They are paying high enough prices to expect magic. But sometimes, the magic they expect is just a little too magical for reality. Or they may get extremely worked up about a small mistake we may have made. No, we are not happy either that we make mistakes (and the big, bad mistakes should definitely be addressed), but is a small mistake really such a big deal that you must make a huge fuss about it? I have learned in the past few months that many people take themselves entirely too seriously. They expect perfection in every way – they consider themselves entitled to perfection – but perfection is humanly impossible. When something is more imperfect than they want, they think that (because they take themselves too seriously) they can complain and get heard. Yes, they will get heard, but was the complaint worth it? I am not only talking about guests here, either. I highly respect a place like Blackberry Farm that daily strives to impress people with great expectations, but I have a hard time making myself care enough to do absolutely everything perfectly when it’s really not that big of a deal if a spoon has a water stain on it or a certain desired table in the dining room is being used by other guests. The world is not going to end!
Lastly, I have realized over the past almost six months just how creative I am. I always knew I was a creative person, but I did not realize until recently that I am more creative than I thought. And because of that creativity, a career where I am not constantly creating something new, imaginative, innovative, surprising, colorful, or… (the list could go on and on) is not a career that I should pursue. I need to be able to use my creativity, I need to be able to hold something up each day and tell people, “This is what I made!” I am a tactile person and need tangible results. While there is some creativity in owning a Bed and Breakfast (through decorating, cooking creative foods, and maybe planning events), there is not enough daily creativity for my artsy side to be satisfied.
Now, I will ALWAYS have a passion for hospitality. My dream is to have a home where people feel free to drop by any time, where I host parties and events and dinners and discussion nights, where I always have a bed open for someone who needs a place to sleep, and where I always have ample amounts of tea for unexpected visitors. But I want to do that kind of hospitality for fun and not for my career.
So what does all of this mean? It means that I am an artist. I have never really thought of myself as an artist before; I have never felt quite creative enough to call myself an artist. But being an artist is not based on how much or how well you create. If you create, you are an artist. Some may turn their artistry into a career, and some may do it on the side, and some may never realize it is there in the first place. Edith Schaeffer said, “We were created in the image of the Creator, that we might create.” Does this not mean that we are all artists in our own way? Mrs. Lovett calls Sweeney Todd (The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) “a proper artist with a knife”. A surgeon could be called an artist with a knife, as well. Barbers and surgeons use their knives to create a new look or a better/mended body part. Anyone who dreams is an artist, for dreaming is creating something in the mind – be it a better life, a different job, a family, or one’s dinner. People working in the hospitality industry are artists, as well. They are creating a certain experience for their guests. I never thought of myself as worthy of the title “artist”, but that is silly because God created me to be a creator, and therefore I am quite worthy enough of the title. Now I know that I am an artist.
Just like you.
- Satisfied: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ie1jHhTSTK4
- Unexpected visitors: http://www.dana-mad.ru/gal/display.php?img=189
- “A proper artist with a knife”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD_OrQetGJc
Read from the beginning: https://soarwithlaughter.com/soar-cloud-high/