When Enough is Enough…

There are days in our lives when getting out of bed is a chore, let alone the thought of going to work.

We all have had days like this – some have had more than one or two…

With the recent passing of Anthony Bourdain, 3-star Michelin chef Benoit Violier (some years ago) and one of Australia’s most celebrated chefs, Darren Simpson, who left us also far too early one year ago, it would only be right to ask if anything could have prevented this?

Alcoholism, drug use and their side effects are a real cause for concern, not to mention the ‘D’ word – depression.

When the vodka is on the table for breakfast or an illegally purchased bottle of whiskey brought to work in Saudi Arabia, things can get very ugly, very fast…for both employee and employer!

So in this age of enhanced privacy protection and political correctness, it can be a minefield to find out those negative habits that can seriously affect employees work performance. Reference checks tell you only so much and It can be extremely difficult to find out anything personal from them, as employers are reluctant to reveal anything personal in order to protect themselves from litigation. This is particularly true in America but increasingly in the rest of the world. Some employers refuse to give even their best past employees references as a company policy.

So with candidate screening, when asking anything remotely personal is off limits, how does the potential employer find out the information that may protect them as well as probably save the candidate from themselves?

We can cite incidents where a candidate has an exceptional career record and received 5 star references, but when hired in a stressful location, such as a remote resort, turns to the bottle to get through the day – they had been doing this for years, but in these difficult living environments where work and life have less separation, it becomes an enormous problem.

I can think of a couple of General Managers that had a very close and intimate relationship with the bottle, starting mid-morning and being happy by lunchtime.

In the mid-80’s, I remember an excellent Housekeeper who would have a bottle of apple wine in her drawer for a good morning gurgle, followed by a few after lunch spritzers. She was always happy and accommodating unless she ran out of ‘her medicine’, as she called it.

Also, in the 80’s when I worked in Zaire (as it was called then) the Chief Steward had his own plantation in a window planter box where he went for his daily smoke – everyone knew but nobody objected… Sometimes we felt that some of the management were in cahoots judging by the way they acted, but that was then and much has changed, not necessarily for the better and drugs now seem to pervade our daily life.

My point is that in today’s work environment it might be good and advisable to look around and see if some of your colleagues are acting strangely or have changed their behavior in recent times.

A word of advice or support could help people from heading down the road of no return, sliding into drug addiction, alcoholism or depression.

Hotel management teams are small, very personal and in many ways are like an extended family, especially for expats living overseas.

So, the next time you notice that your colleague or close friend starts acting strangely or talking irrationally, dig a little deeper and see if you can help!

About the author

rsz_karl_faux_ccKarl Faux is a veteran Hotelier and Managing Partner with Elite Search – a leading hospitality recruitment firm.
For more information about Karl and Elite Search visit http://www.elitesearch.com.au and The Elite Hotelier http://www.elitehotelier.net

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