For the past semester of Grade 12, I’ve had the incredible opportunity of being a part of a 30-level class called Career and Work Education 30. This class put on jointly by the Saskatoon Public School Board and by local businesses, is a phenomenal way to gain experience and insight into one (or two) careers you may be exploring one day.

I chose the latter, two placements. My first placement was with a local financial consulting firm – Richard Kilburn and Associates, located in the Investors Group NE Saskatoon office. It was here – from October to Mid November – that I got my first real “office” experience per se. Now, I’ve worked many jobs in my time but I’ve never been that immersed in an office each day. I was able to learn about the way Investors Group operates (and frankly, what the company was!), how the office was set up, how good the Blue Jays are… I mean totally didn’t watch a game in the office due to it being playoffs…

I actually did quite a lot and learned an incredible amount about the world of finance, how their company operates, how they’ve been successful for so long in our city. I was able to create a financial plan for myself, multiple clients (hopefully they turned out alright), learn about how the stock market and investments work, and one thing I never thought I’d ever find so exciting – TAXES! Seriously, they’re really interesting (and for once on here, I’m not being sarcastic).

After my time at Investors Group was complete, I headed over and checked myself into the Hampton Inn and Suites YXE Airport. See what I did there? I found that funny.

The first thing I’ll say: there is an incredible amount of work that goes into each guest’s stay, so next time you have the chance to say thank you to an employee in the service industry, do it please!

Each week at the hotel was something different. I was able to shadow each management role – Maintenance, Housekeeping, Front Desk, Sales/Marketing and General Management – to get a true, in-depth look at what it was liking running a property. And yes, I did clean rooms.

And yes, it wasn’t my favorite thing ever. However, it did make me learn one very crucial skill (even more so than I already know it): respect. In fact, cleaning and checking the cleanliness of said rooms wasn’t actually that bad – especially when the hotel is as new as the Hampton and the guests were – generally – good about cleaning up after themselves. Spending time with Tim, the Maintenance Manager was equally as rewarding. I recall my second day with him: hanging up a shower door – it’s much harder than it sounds. We prevailed and got the job done. It was exciting to constantly be doing something and learning about the inner workings of the property at the same time (and I definitely know how to choose which hotels to stay at now).

Outside of my time with Housekeeping and Maintenance, I was able to learn a lot about the administrative duties of running the hotel.

Tip #1: Communication is key. There was nothing more evident to me as I saw each department work together to constantly achieve goals and strive to be better. The General Manager and the Sales Manager both worked with me and allowed me to chime in on business conversations which allowed me to learn quite a bit about what it takes to make it: not only in hospitality but business in general. One of my fondest memories of my experience at the Hampton was being able to sit through an interview with prospective overnight maintenance staff members. I believe that seeing an interview from the side of the employer will make any future interviews I have to attend that much easier, and made myself much more confident about doing so.

All in all, while this blog post doesn’t completely sum up what I did each day at both placements, I hope this does give you some insight into why it would be a good class to think about taking.

And with that,

Thank you to both employers for hosting me for the two 5-week stints, and know that I graciously appreciated the time and effort everyone put into making this a memorable experience for myself.

– T