What I Learned As A Hotel General Manager At The Age Of 24

4 min readJul 11, 2020

The hospitality industry is ruthless and angry. Here is how I became a hotel manager and why I quit.

Photo by Aw Creative on Unsplash

July 11, 2016, was the day my life completely changed. I finally made it on Upwork. I found a job with fixed hours and a stable income. I was the happiest person alive. I thought that finally I can work and travel and become financially independent. My job was customer support for an Airbnb host.

The owner had 6 properties in the USA and he was advertising them on Airbnb and Booking. Pretty cool. My work was limited to 35h, Monday to Friday, between 3–8 pm European time.

So I started strong, I worked every single day, even when I wasn’t supposed to work I would check email and respond, I always wanted to learn more, improve, advance and make good for the company and myself.

Soon after the 1st month, my boss noticed my progress and that is when my real growth started.

To make this story short I will tell you what happened over the course of 2 years:

  • the owner bought more properties
  • the owner came in Europe and opened properties in Italy, Latvia, Greece
  • we expanded to advertising on 10 more platforms including Expedia, Hotels, Kayak, Trip Advisor, etc.
  • we hired property managers, cleaners and customer support personnel
  • I was personally responsible for hiring new people
  • I was responsible for expanding our advertisement plan and constantly signing up with new sites
  • I was responsible for the marketing plan
  • I was responsible for the financial plan including but not limited to creating monthly budgets, controlling all expenses, salaries, paying utility bills for all properties
  • I was the head manager for all existing teams in several different timezones
  • I was the person in charge when there was a problem
  • I was filling in for the customer support hours
  • we worked on opening new properties in France, Spain, England
  • I had to be available 24h/7 days a week
Photo by Andrea Davis on Unsplash

From this point of view, things looked amazing and the sky was the only limit.

On top of this, I got to travel and stay for free in our properties, I received a new laptop, I was also receiving a small percentage of the monthly profit.

There was only one thing I didn’t have — free time.

My title was soon promoted to a hotel general manager because I was doing everything and there wasn’t a proper title for my position.

Overall I was happy. I had money, I had a title, I could afford so many things in life. My parents were happy. I was able to take my family and friends on almost free vacations all around Europe and buy things I never even dreamed of.

Soon after, this dream became a true nightmare.

I became my prisoner. I was a slave to a dream which was so distant and unreal.

I would travel to a location and I would spend 10h in a day on the computer. I would wake up at 5 am to prepare everything for the European team and stay very late to catch up with the US team. I would sleep with the internet on the phone and a laptop under the bed so I never miss any call or email.

The burnout.

Not having a personal life, being constantly on the phone, being under crazy pressure and stress was severely impacting my life.

On top of this, I was still finishing my studies (double degree) and I survived a terrible break up at the end of February 2018.

Outside my world looked amazing, inside my world was shattering into tiny bits.

The last piece that overfilled the glass was not being able to take days off. So many processes and things were connected personally to me so I could never really disconnect.

I asked for days off. They allowed it. It never happened.

I couldn’t be really on vacation and disconnect because my phone was constantly ringing.

I was in a bad headspace when I finally quit.

The outcome.

It was my fault for taking more than I can chew and for investing so much of my time and effort. Most of all it was my fault that I couldn’t SET BOUNDARIES.

I got caught up in the moment, overly excited for the first real work experience and I gave all in. Generally, I am a person who always goes all in and this time that backfired.

I don’t want the glamourous title or the money if I can’t have myself.

I don’t want the travel opportunity if I can’t enjoy it for at least 1h.

I don’t want the job if I can’t have the opportunity to disconnect.

When I realized that I was hurting the company more than I was contributing — I left and it was the best decision I have ever made.

Some may say that it was weak to leave a company when I already invested so much and they invested in me. Others may say that it is insane to leave such a good position. It was the most courageous thing I have ever done.

I gained experience, knowledge, great friends, fell in love with Rome, and prepared for my new life.

fun fact: My parents said I was insane for leaving a job when I was doing so good but things turned out pretty good at the end.

The most honorable characteristic of a person is to know when it’s the right time to leave.