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Crew Story At The Pool Bar

Submitted by kgnadmin on

I never accepted becoming part of the poor and biased management system on board the ship. I met only a few great managers during my long career in the bar department. Those people are a real rarity; they are gems in the management system on cruise ships.

Unfortunately, many inexperienced managers who lacked pure human qualities, compassion, empathy, and effective leadership were scared of the change I was persistently proposing on board. I always fought hard for the rights of crew members on board. The managers on board could not understand that. I was ready to go alone against the rotten values and poor management onboard the cruise ship. 

Sunny sea day at the pool bar

It was a gorgeous sunny day with spectacular views from the pool bar on the deck. Work was constantly busy, and it was boiling humid. Short and friendly interaction with the guests was part of my daily work routine. 

The assistant bar manager observed the entire operation from the corner of the pool bar; he gave us that scrutinizing look. Suddenly, he approached one of the bar waiters going around with the tray and started loudly and publicly humiliating his work performance.

"Your bar tray is a mess! How many drinks did you sell in the past 1 hour? If you want to keep your job, ensure that your sales are high enough! Get back to work now!" the assistant bar manager screamed at the poor bar waiter.

Many of our guests sipping their cocktails on the bar counter overheard our colleague's horrible, biased treatment. Spontaneously, while changing a beer keg, I shouted to my guests at the bar counter:

"Can anyone buy a drink for that serious man in the white uniform over there? Relax, buddy, the waiter you just shouted at is doing a fantastic job all day long; be kind to him."

In return, the assistant bar manager just gave me a sour smile and left the bar scene.

Indeed, I knew it immediately; he left to complain to the beverage operations manager, but I did not care. I was fed up with his poor management atitude, which had lasted for months already, and I was ready to face any consequences. 

When he left, most of my guests at the bar counter still looked at me, confused. My colleagues were also in disbelief, mainly because I was not scared of the assistant manager. Why would I be? I did not regret my words at all. In a way, the assistant manager was my supervisor, but more importantly, I did not like how he handled the bar servers in the Pool bar. 

One of my favorite guests, Mr. Jo, shook his head in disbelief and said to me:

"What a prick, that guy in a white uniform. How does he dare to treat poor bar servers like that, especially in front of many of us who witnessed his arrogance? If any of us can help with a statement or support your side of the story on the customer's service desk, we would love to help. We hope you will not end up in trouble; that guy looks like he was after making some drama." 

"Thanks Jo, you are awesome, dude. Honestly, I could not help it; sorry that you had to witness that heated argument between us, "I replied to the guest.

Shortly after, the bar phone rang. It was my Bar manager, who wanted to see me in his office in no time. Remembering that moment like yesterday, many guests wanted to go downstairs to support my version of the story.

A few minutes later, I calmly entered the bar manager's office. I knew what my manager would say by the word, but that did not bother me; I decided to stand behind my opinion. After entering the messy bar office, I noticed two familiar faces. They were silent, and both of them refused to make eye contact with me. I did the opposite by looking at their eyes straight, ready to shoot justice anytime. Politely and firmly, I decided first to open up the conversation: 

" Any problems here, sir? I have a job to do if you will stay silent all day?" The assistant bar manager was putting his thumb finger under his arrogant chin, attempting to look smarter. I decided to surprise him a little more, so I made a few more steps toward him.

 "Did you have to come to cry to the bar manager? You did not dare to deal with me on your own?"- I could not help it with my direct question.

 He kept quiet. 

Instead, the bar manager promptly took the word instead," Listen, you cannot talk to my assistant like that. He is your supervisor, and you must respect him, regardless of your opinion!"

I answered promptly:" Sir, our respect is earned, not given. You have to side up this arrogant, assistant manager who mistaken his job description onboard the ship; I completely understand that. But let me also remind you of one thing, "Management's role on the ship is mainly to inspire and motivate crew members, not to make them feel more stressful and anxious about doing their job. That's what happened earlier at the Serenity bar". 

The assistant manager was still surprisingly quiet; he probably still gathered the courage to say something, probably knowing that I would diplomatically smash him on the spot. Finally, he mumbled something unclear without even making eye contact:  I don't know why you needed to respond to me in that manner earlier; I was doing my job," the assistant bar manager said.

"No, sir, you were not doing your job; that is the main problem here. If you treat people in my bar like slaves, I can assure you that won't happen. Your uniform does not make you earn our respect; your actions towards the crew should be the first inevitable lesson of ethically sustainable leadership onboard the cruise ship." 

I was not sure if he understood my point.

The Bar manager looked up at me and said:" I will not give you a written warning today; because of your high ratings in customer service, we all know how you perform at your job, and therefore you will be given one more chance," he concluded his point.

This was one of many ship examples of inappropriate management that happens worldwide daily...

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