The life of a holiday representative is a constant party. Working with a group of other young and like-minded people, an hour or two a day in your boring hotel before the fun can really begin and you can tear up the town. Shots, drugs and sex are on top of everyone’s minds all day, every day. Running your guests around the best bars and clubs your destination has to offer and getting absolutely smashed each and every night. Life is a full-time holiday. After a small amount of time doing your duty in a resort, the rest of the week is spent chilling on the beach and getting drunk….. Or at least, that’s what everyone seems to think.
The amount of times I have received the comment, “it must be nice to be on a permanent holiday” or people thinking I spend most of my days drinking goes to show that the world is a little naive to the real world of rep life. This is no thanks to television shows these days who show only the party industry of working abroad. Although these jobs exist, that’s not the definition of a holiday rep.
When I put on my badge each morning, I take on a million different roles. I am a sales person. I am a listener. I am a problem solver. I am a geographer. I am a weather reporter. I am a currency exchanger. I am a mail deliverer. I am a welcomer. I am a bus timetable. I am a presenter. I am an island expert. I am a medical advisor. I am a recommender. I am a translator. All this plus much more – and that’s only during my hotel duties. On top of that, you have to do airport shifts (including to-and-from-resort transfers), guide events, run bar crawls, help out at charity events, and anything else that might fall under the giant umbrella of being a holiday rep.
Partying can often be the last thing on your mind; even at the destinations where you are expected to work on youth events, you still have to be professional whilst supervising a large group of intoxicated young people; and at the end of the night, you’ll only have a few hours sleep before rocking back up at your hotel the next morning.
The working week is long and not your typical 9-5. Whenever your manager says jump, you ask how high, no matter what time it is. Flights can land at any time, events can run until any time and even on your evenings off, you could still be called back to the hotel at any time. The zero-hours contract you sign gives the company ultimate flexibility so they can do whatever they want with you, whenever they want to. You can also forget your weekend as you only get one day off.
Sometimes it can feel as though you are living in the Big Brother house as you live and breathe your workmates. Not only do you work with them, you live with them and you socialise with them. They become your family for the season as those who are your blood are thousands of miles away. You’re living in a strange place with a language you don’t speak and it’s only natural that you cling to the people around you who understand. They offer a support system as they know what you’re going through and usually have your back but at the same time, spending that much time with a set group is bound to bring with it tension and drama. By the end of the season, you find yourself exhausted with it all, it’s emotionally draining and you just need a break from everyone and everything.
Then you have the customers. They say the customer is always right but on holiday, people tend to lose their brain and complain about the most pointless things. You will have to fight not to laugh in the face of some people and feeling frustrated during a conversation becomes a common occurrence. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of people are absolutely lovely but you always have the few whose entire time on holiday is creating issues out of things that aren’t really there. You also have to deal with situations that people never imagine you would encounter in this line of work.
Don’t get me wrong, rep life is incredible too. You can get to see the world and get paid whilst doing it – because if you so desire, every season can be a new destination. When you do finally get a day off, you can have incredible adventures or spend your day relaxing on a beautiful beach. You get to immerse yourself in a new culture and language which develops you as a person. You have experiences that in any other lifestyle would never be feasible and you meet people from all over the world, from all different walks of life.
It’s not just a job, it’s a way of life. You have to uproot your entire existence because it’s not just a career – it’s a new country, new friends and new surroundings. It’s an incredible opportunity if you want to live and work abroad but you have to understand that with the good, also comes the bad. As with any job, there are ups and downs. It’s a roller coaster of a journey. It’s a job you love to hate and hate to love. It drives you constantly crazy but it is also a difficult habit to break. All I can say about rep life is that it’s exactly the same as Marmite. You either love it or you hate it. You may as well give it a try.
This is a guest post by Stephanie Dring.
Stephanie is an overseas representative currently working in Tenerife, having previously worked on the island of Mallorca. She spends eight months of the year working abroad spending the remaining time at home with family and travelling. She also loves performing, theatre and travel blogging on her website Wanderlust Pulse.