Did it feel weird to you when someone claimed that they were born to do something? Does it make you feel like you’re nothing, while they are something special? Or is it just some kind of Icarus syndrome, when people take themselves a bit too serious? Personally, I don’t believe in the whole “born-to-do-something” narrative because there is nothing fun about a “riches-to-riches” or “rags-to-rags” type of story. It is human nature to expect people to be assumed with cluelessness before getting close to their life goals. But Peggy was an interesting outlier.
First, she was naturally good.
Sometimes, I wonder how Peggy manages to decide for herself as she is so good at so many things. While I often know her as the First President of Vin-A-House Dance Club, others recognize her as one of the top students among her Hospitality cohort.
Second, she actually made an effort.
Since titles and academic achievement are the least to matter when you work in hospitality (No customers care if their waiter graduated from Harvard), real experiences remain the key to excelling in hotels or restaurants. And which better way to gain authentic customer experience than to be the customer yourself. Of the myriad of places she frequented, Peggy's favorite haunt was a cozy little café named All Day Cafe, where she comes every now and then to sip on hot coffee and finish school assignments. But rather than passively enjoying coffee and posting Instagram-worthy stories, Peggy had a habit of observing waiters and other customers, not to judge, but to look for places she could do differently if she were one of them.
At this point, the typical plot would have Peggy …suffering because how could she manage to succeed if she never failed before? And that’s how it went. When Peggy got her first internship in Vinpearl Nha Trang, she was welcomed with not so much the hospitality she’s seen before as a customer as the harsh and stressful behind the scenes at one of the busiest hotel chains in Vietnam.
Despite her initial excitement to roll up her sleeves and put a smile on people’s faces, reality hit her faster than VinUni hit me with my Canvas assignments. Peggy did share:
People tend to expect that because you’re young, you will be able to look at things from a fresher, different perspective. In fact, you don’t. So make sure to observe first, question second, and talk later. When you miss the first 2 steps, your ideas are simply useless.
Thankfully, Peggy never thought of giving up. Post Vinpearl, she continued to aim high and managed to land an internship at the prestigious Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi. Working as a F&B Marketing Intern not only placed her in charge of critical tasks, such as designing the welcoming amenities for the CEO of Accor during his visit to Metropole, but also introduced her to a league of extraordinary individuals. Her boss, for example, was a Food & Beverage Director (FBD) before 30.
It was probably during her time at Sofitel that Peggy began to take her dream of becoming a FBD before 30 and owning a Michelin-starred restaurant before 40 more seriously. After all, she is learning and observing from the best.
As we come to the aftermath of Peggy’s story, I have to say I am still not completely convinced that any person is born to accomplish something. However, I believe that anyone, with the same level of determination and hard work as Peggy’s, is deserving of anything that they set their hearts on. For Peggy, no matter if she was born to do hospitality or not, the truth is she persuasively earned her place as a hotelier.
For yearning students who are also working to prove that their hospitality careers are meant to be, the born hotelier was thrilled to offer her invaluable advice.
If you have never interned before, prepare for nightmare. Hospitality is not all the glitz and glamor. Try to be as professional and detail oriented as possible. That will help you make a truly good impression on your colleagues and customers. Most importantly, immerse yourself into the working world and you will soon figure it out!
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