Life after being a PIHMS Degree Graduate

19 September 2022

My time at PIHMS opened my eyes to an entirely new world, it showed me a life that I had been missing out on! I loved having the opportunity to meet new people every day, living with my friends and all having the same shared interests. Being a part of the PSA was the most fun I’ve had over the course of my studies, and that coupled with classes was a balancing act that helped me finish my degree with such a rewarding feeling. I’ve seen firsthand what it’s like to manage ‘staff’ at school, preparing myself for managing staff out in the industry!

I would say that the most important lesson I’ve learnt from PIHMS was the opportunity to see what it’s like out in the industry, and how to manage yourself & set both your own and your boss’ expectations. It’s crucial to have good relationships with your managers and your staff, and PIHMS has taught me all about the human psychology behind motivation, positive reinforcement, and how to make sure your employees are looking forward to coming to work every day. Having been working in a management role since I’ve left New Plymouth, there hasn’t been a day where I regret taking my studies so far.  

While PIHMS has lined me up with contacts high-up in the hotel industry that will be useful for the rest of my life. I was approached by my current boss to help them fill-in for their previous manager, who was leaving after years of running the show. I was incredibly lucky, it’s almost a once in a lifetime opportunity to be offered this position! She had heard about me through the grapevine in my hometown, Taupo.

Life after PIHMS within the Industry   

I am currently working at Sorrento Dinning in Taupo as the Assistant Manager for the past 5 months. However, over the past month, I have had the opportunity to step up as Acting Restaurant Manager. I have loved the responsibility that comes with the role; managing a team of passionate workers who all want the best for our family-style restaurant. Since the restaurant is not part of a bigger chain, it gives us freedom to put our own ideas forward for the business! Doing things like – making cocktails and dishes that WE like helps us to convey our passion, customers can tell that we love what we do!  

Throughout my time here, I’ve jumped into organising the restaurant. I am updating our files. I’m also making rosters, ordering stock for the restaurant, managing our suppliers and creating partnerships with other local businesses! Recently, I have taken a Gateway student under my wing from one of the local high schools. I’m teaching them all about hospitality management and the unseen parts of the industry. Performance reviews, relationship management and replying to online reviews are all a part of my role here – plus a good portion of the administration, organising functions and replying to emails are a daily task that I share with my manager.  In the future, I want to climb the totem pole and get to the top of what I can do in hospitality.

“I genuinely think I’ve found the industry for me, and I cannot wait to see where I end up.”

The industry chose me, rather than the other way around. I fell into PIHMS out of a lack of confidence in my future, hoping to learn some skills and see what I could do while I figured out what I wanted to do for my career. But I liked what I saw in hotels and the opportunity to meet, help, and make great memories with people – so why not give it a go? I put my all into doing my best at PIHMS and my work, and it turns out that I haven’t been doing half-bad so far!  

No two days are the same!

My absolute favourite part about the industry, and what I get to do daily, is experiencing something new every day. The variety is incredible, trying new wines and delicious food from around the world is a dream. There is never a night that runs the same as the last, and there’s never a function that bores you. I love the constantly changing experiences, people that cycle through the front door – and having the opportunity to make changes, try new things and see new places on a whim just keeps drawing me further in. I have my entire life ahead of me, and life lasts a long time! There are a few places in mind that I’d like to visit, work in and tick off my bucket list!  

The first thing that really took me by surprise when I got deep into Sorrento was the support that we receive from other people in the industry, PLUS the locals that love to see us thrive. Whether the feedback is good or bad, it’s given with the intention of improvement – no one wants to go to a restaurant and have a bad experience, but when it does happen, we have all the help we could ever need to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We have competing restaurants loaning us spare kegs when we run out, and we have staff coming in from all across town to help us in our most dire moments. The benefits of being a small-business in a small-tourist-town are widespread, and we wouldn’t have been nominated for a Stella Award without our incredible staff and customers.  

Tips and tricks to take on the industry

If you’ve found something unique, if you have an idea that no one else has done yet, give it a go! Put it on your menu, draw up the idea on a poster and just give it your best effort. Do what you want to do, what you’re passionate about – don’t fake it until you make it. If you’re unhappy, it’s not going to change unless you do. If something makes you excited, or if you have a goal in mind that you want to hit, you won’t achieve it without trying to make progress. 

Happiness comes from a whole bunch of things. You should be in a place that you feel safe and welcome. Find yourself a good boss, sleep well, and drink HEAPS of water 🙂 

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