After all the tears and hard work, you’re finally working for a global brand that you’ve always admired and in New York no less, the most enviable city in the world. To everyone else, you’re living the dream and they would be right to assume that you love your job, so why leave to hop across the other side of the planet? This is the position Tania Getzova found herself in when she was working as General Manager of the award-winning Hotel Indigo Lower East Side New York.
While we can almost feel your ears pricking up at the mention of that vibrant and constantly evolving neighbourhood, Tania says the decision to leave it all behind for a chance to join InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay in sunny Singapore was written in the stars.
“My coming here happened by a miracle and I’m very grateful to the universe that the stars aligned for me somehow and I was approached for this opportunity. Of course, after 20 years of living in Manhattan, I had to ask myself if this was the right time to leave my family, my close circle of friends, my good quality of life and my good habits behind but the timing will never be perfect and you will never be fully prepared,” says Tania, who is originally from Bulgaria.
“Sometimes when you’re about to make a leap of faith you just have to follow your instincts and keep an open mind. Everybody was shocked when I told them I was coming to live in Singapore but I felt such a good vibe when I came to this city despite being here for only 72 hours for my interview. When the universe throws something good your way, follow it.”
And she’s been doing just that since taking on her new role last August. While Tania has been a hotelier for the better part of two decades, she still faces challenges along the way. Ahead, she shares how she overcomes her setbacks in the office and how to navigate your way to the top of your game:
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“I think having a good mentor is very, very important. Throughout my career – from when I was interning at hotels in Paris to the time I was Director of Rooms at The St Regis in New York – I’ve had amazing teachers in the managers I worked with who supported me and inspired me. Now that I’m a General Manager myself, one of the things that gives me the greatest reward is seeing my hires grow in front of my eyes. With a mentor, you will be guided in the right direction and you will build a support system to help you progress in your field.”
“It’s very important that whatever you choose to do in your career, it must first make you happy and you must enjoy it. Otherwise, you will find coming to work every day hard. Life is too short to force yourself to do something you don’t like. Coming to work has to be enjoyable. Find your niche and follow it so you don’t waste your time and energy on doing something that doesn’t bring joy to your life. In hospitality, we always try to think of the employees’ morale first because while it sounds clichéd, happy employees lead to happy guests.”
“From my personal observation, the younger generation almost always looks for instant gratification. When they do something, they have to be immediately recognised otherwise they feel disappointed, but this shouldn’t be the case. They should adapt and not give up so easily. If you try something and it doesn’t work, do something else. To progress in my industry, you just need focus and consistency. Maybe you’re not the type of person that can deal with guests but you’re creative so you can move from front-of-house to marketing. Don’t get so hung up on one thing and one thing only.”
“When I thought about making my big move, I told myself ‘You can’t fail’ because I believe that the moment you let doubt creep in, there’s a big chance that things won’t work out. You have to have the confidence that the outcome that you want will come true but you also have to work hard. Put everything you’ve got into it and do your absolute best. If you do everything that you can and seek help from the people around you for the things that you can’t, then you will not fail.”
“In hospitality, things get busy very quickly and sometimes you have to make decisions or take action on the spot. I don’t have all the answers to all the problems that happen every day, I rely a lot on my team for that. I surround myself with experts in their own field and my role is to get everyone together so we can perform optimally as a group. It’s like the relationship between a conductor and his orchestra. It’s not a one man job, team work is very important.”
Tania says having a post-work ritual is important because many of us struggle to find the right balance between our careers and everything else. Here, she shares her tips on how to unwind after a stressful day at the office:
“A few years ago I started meditating by pure coincidence. I’m still not a pro because it takes focus but the act of meditation is so peaceful, it has made me a better person. At InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay, I’ve also found a sanctuary in the city where it’s really easy to relax.”
“Getting enough sleep is very important for me. I try to get at least seven hours sleep, even though eight hours is ideal, I save that for weekends only.”
“I used to swim professionally when I was younger but in New York it was so hard to swim, the pools are so out of the way. At InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay, there’s a wonderful pool where I can spend half an hour swimming even if I finish work at 9pm – priceless.”
“I love interval training because I’m competitive and if I see other people doing 20 push-ups then I’ll want to do 20 too. There’s a workout studio just behind the hotel where I can pop by for a quick class.”
“Travel for me is a little escape. Two or three days is all I need to go somewhere new where I can see something different, get some inspiration, and come up with fresh ideas.”
(All photos courtesy of InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay.)