Sunday, 25 November 2012
Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky
Heads in Beds was very good light relief and I enjoyed reading it. I'm not a frequent hotel user, but I've checked into enough hotels to recognise lots of the situations detailed in the book. As always, I was shocked by how inconsiderate and rude members of the public can be towards service staff. Tomsky does come across as a bit angry in places, but having worked in retail myself (thankfully, many years ago now!), I'm sure that this anger was justified. There's only so long you can take being treated like the dirt on someone's shoe before you want to snap! There are mentions of polite customers and good experiences but these become less frequent as the book goes on and Tomsky becomes more disillusioned with his job. It's safe to say I won't be applying to be a front desk operator any time soon!
One thing I found very interesting was the comparison between the two main hotels Tomsky worked in, luxury hotels in New Orleans and New York. In New Orleans, the staff were valued and trusted and consequently often went above and beyond in order to provide good service to their guests. In New York, they were constantly monitored for any slip up, treated as if they were slackers and initiative was punished rather than rewarded. This led to resentment and poor service, with no one willing to go the extra mile. Even though Tomsky is writing specifically about the hotel industry in Heads in Beds, I've seen this kind of thing in every single working environment I have been in. When will managers learn that staff work better if you trust them, value them and simply leave them to it?
Heads in Beds was on the whole clearly written with lots of humour. It didn't set my world alight, but I found it interesting and enjoyable. I think it could have benefited from being edited down slightly as it dragged in the later sections, with too much page time being devoted to Tomsky's time as a front desk operator. I'm sure that fellow nosy readers will enjoy this book as much as I did!
Source: From the publisher via Netgalley
Publication Date: 20th November 2012
Score: 3 out of 5