I’ve just got back from 2 weeks away in Florida, I took my first trip to the States of 2012 to be part of the “Front End Design Conference” in Tampa. This was one of my favourite conferences of 2010 and I was thrilled and honoured to be invited back for 2012. I piggybacked my Summer holiday/vacation on the back of the conference and took a drive down to Miami for 10 days to relax my mind, and chillout after a busy year of work.

We stayed at the Mondrian on South Beach, if you like listening in on poolside conversation – this was the hotel to do it at, your earwigging would be rewarded with tales of debauchery, insider celebrity gossip or in my husbands case, an invite to an “all night session with a 20 strong bachelorette party”. It was certainly an eye opener. I digress…

The type of clientele the Mondrian attracts are celebrities, the wannabe-wealthy and models – the famous Wilhelmina model agency is on the third floor of the hotel itself. The staff are trained in discretion and catering to the every whim of the guests, which I can imagine would be fairly exhausting if you had diva demands on a daily basis however, just sitting, watching and taking in everything going on around me I witnessed some of the most genuine customer service I’ve ever seen.

When you reached the pool everyday, various “attendants” would be walking around, there was this particular attendant called David. From what I could understand of these attendants, their sole job was to get you a towel for your lounger and a towel for drying off after the pool. While they were putting these on your lounger, they would talk to you about what your plans were for the day , what you did the night before and give you tips on the best places to eat. I realise America is the tipping nation but I closely watched each day and no one was really tipping these guys, that’s not to say we didn’t but regardless of whether you did or didn’t, the service remained the same.

David would greet us each day with a cheerful “Happy (enter day of the week here)” and would remember small details about us from the day before, gradually building up a picture of why we were there, and what we were like. His passion for his job shone through, I heard on more than one occasion other hotel guests saying to him what a pleasure he was to have around and he cheerfully replied “I just really enjoy my job, they treat me well here”.

His sole job is to put towels on loungers and talk to guests, and sometimes, I imagine, in quite a demanding environment. Even though he only has a short job description, he makes it his mission to be the best he can be, and it works. I started to realise that my day has been diluted with lots of small tasks that zap the life out of me, mainly administration based and that I needed to get back to where I once was – I haven’t lost any passion for my job at all, but David made me realise I could be doing better.

Passion is perhaps a strong word to describe a feel for what we do, often mocked as it’s overused in many opening paragraphs of many web design agencies websites – the love of what we do and how it drives us counts for so much, but is completely underestimated. It can’t be learnt, it can’t even be drummed into you it’s got to come from within. Skillset, I would say, counts for about 50% of what we do, with 25% going to communication skills and 25% your drive, determination and personality. We’re all so quick to learn new skills, but rarely do we look inside ourselves and see how we can become better at the other part, the customer facing side of freelancing or business. I had an idea on the plane home for a side project on how to help with that 50% that isn’t attributed to skillset. Watch this space.

  • Loved reading this, Sarah. I’ve been re-doing my website recently and trying to get across that side of me that shows my drive, passion and just pure love I have for what I do. I totally agree with you that part of what we do is our skillset but it’s not everything – as we need that inner conviction and determination to help us be even better than we are at what we do.

    Really great read though and something that I think is going to internally help push me in a couple of projects recently where I can sense I’m not as involved as I probably could be.

    Glad you had a good holiday 🙂

  • Sarah

    Couldn’t agree more, its great to have PASSION about your job… and for those of us that share this… it shows in what we do!

    Glad you had a great time


  • When I say I am passionate about what I do, I don’t say it because I love what I do as such. I say it because I throw myself into the role wherever I am or whatever project it is, if that makes sense?

    I’ve been freelancing in Manchester for a few months and I am usually the first person here and one of the last to leave. I work lates and where other freelancers seem to stop, I’ll be still there doing what I can to help out.

    I do what I do to make a difference. Always been like that

  • Awesome when ideas start to flow when on vacation or just taking a break from the rush rush. I think Miami are probably one of the top in terms of hospitality for hotels (i.e., Mondrian, tides, hotel victor, …). they are swanky and still have that magic city touch which I love.

    What I realize from these places is exactly on the money on what you said, passion. The passion to love what you do, know every detail of what you do to the best. It makes you feel good, confident, and reassured that when you wake up in the morning.. its great to tackle something fun and challenging.

    good times!

  • Kirsty

    Just read your blog Sarah, and I had a moment like that today. I love my job, but have been getting quite stressed with the amount of paperwork I have to do especially at the moment as its report writing time of year! But i had two moments today that made me rrealise that I still have passion for my job. 1 I had my class assembly and it bought a smile to my face to see a class of 6/7 years old singing to the lion sleeps tonight! (the assembly was about the rainforest!) 2, I was observed teaching a history lesson about past and present Olympics by another teacher who said to me at the end that she had never seen me teach and that it lived up to her expectations! Was so chuffed with that comment!!
    Can’t wait to hear all about your holiday! Kirsty the ex neighbour!

  • I think we should count ourselves lucky that we work in a field where passion for our jobs is something that almost works more in our favour than skillset. If you’re passionate you’ve got that drive to succeed at what you’re doing more. That’s why I don’t know whether I could do a job that’s *just* a job.

    Looking forward to hearing about this new side project.