Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Kings Of The Resorts: Seasonal workers

It was the summer of 1981. Greece. The island of Poros, or was it Paros? It doesn't matter. The tour operator was, as was typical at that time, a small, specialist concern. The tour rep was a few years older than myself. In her thirties. She was very pleasant, knowledgeable, helpful, spoke some Greek. What you might hope for from a tour rep, in other words. She also had, so I was to discover, a reputation. It was said that she gave the best blow-job in the Aegean.

Four years later, a different Greek island, a different tour operator, but the same tour rep. I mentioned to friends the tales of four years previously. I remember her name, but I'm not about to state it. She was still living up to her reputation.

Age should not be a barrier to having a good sex life and certainly not when it comes to a holiday or being a tour rep. The rep-sex relationship is the stuff of legend. There has rarely been one without the other. But there are legitimate levels of enjoyment and there are levels which go beyond the legitimate. Just as there are legitimate levels of what should be expected of reps - their knowledge etc. - and those which fail to meet these expected levels. And for reps, read also seasonal workers in bars and in other businesses.

Once upon a time, reps, whether they were interested in gaining similar reputations to the lady in Greece or not, did tend to be more mature, as in they weren't very young. As the summers and seasons went by, they became more mature. Even if they were inclined to enjoy pleasures of the flesh, as one in Greece did, they were valued by tour operators because of their knowledge and their understanding of resorts and destinations. Younger reps did of course come onto the scene, especially as there were so many positions to be filled. But older reps might typically have continued for many years, their experience being unmatched.

Then, and this has been the case in recent times, tour operators started to lose their experienced reps. They didn't renew their contracts. It might have cost them, especially if they were reps in Mallorca operating under the peculiarity of the Spanish "fijo discontinuo" employment contract (basically, one that means permanent seasonal work but which gives an entitlement to benefits), but the tour operators needed to save money, to cut the number of reps and to dispense with more highly paid ones. As a consequence, there are far, far fewer reps than was once the case, and those that there are tend not to be particularly experienced, if at all.

To paint one picture of the tour rep of today would be unfair, but that picture has increasingly become that of the unknowledgeable party animal and little more. And today's rep has also become far less important in the hierarchy of resorts. Time was, reps ruled resorts. They certainly don't now. Far more important are the seasonal workers, especially the ones who return every season or who actually live in resorts all year. Many, most of these workers are highly professional and responsible. Oh yes, they certainly know how to party and they are not necessarily abstemious angels, but they take their work seriously and they have the knowledge. They are the ones to whom holidaymakers turn, and not the reps.

There is, though, another category of seasonal worker. One who doesn't understand or obey the rules. A seasonal worker can and does get drunk, he or she can and does get laid or maybe take drugs. But the seasonal worker who gets on knows that as soon as he or she steps over the mark, his or her name becomes mud. The whole resort gets to know. And overstepping the mark can be done in different ways - not turning up for work, being clearly drunk or stoned while at work or throwing a made-up sicky.

I am of course not going to identify the bar owner, but he took on one such seasonal worker who plainly didn't understand the rules. He arrived in Mallorca only a few days ago. He is on his way out of Mallorca, more or less as I write. It is his fortune to be leaving in one piece, so angry had he made his employer. He failed to turn up for work twice in the space of a handful of days. The reason? A combination of things, and you can imagine what.

For some young people (and not always young people), a summer job in Mallorca is only about getting hold of the wherewithal (money) in order to spend it on drink and drugs, it is only about partying, getting laid and going to the beach. And for some, or one certainly, this can mean being sent packing very quickly. They are fools to themselves, because, if they are good, if they play by the rules, they can keep coming back. And when they come back, they will find that they have a status. The kings and queens of the resorts. But these are titles reserved for the responsible and professional ones.

Any comments to please.

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