Working as a Holiday Rep
by Natalie Peck
After doing the normal school routine, finishing a stint at finishing school in London, I then started working in a large Investment Bank in the City at 17. I got into a working rut with much older colleagues, but never moaned just got on with it. I had always longed to work in the sun, but as I'd reached such a good working status earning up to £35,000 a year, I couldn't see myself stop earning to work on a small wage. All until I got an email from PAYAway, stating that Olympic Holidays were looking for holiday reps.
On reading the email, something inside made me reply, not really stopping to think about it and 20 minutes later they had rung and arranged an interview for the following week! A little apprehensive, I arrived at my interview, not really knowing what to expect or more importantly what they would expect of me! But I was met by Julian, who took me into a room where we talked briefly about the job, then he left the room to make a phonecall. 5 minutes later, he returned to tell me that there's a vacancy in Rhodes, and would it be ok for me to fly next week!! What a shock, I hadn't really thought it through, but just couldn't resist the thought of working in a sunny climate.
So there I was, at the airport waving my family (who, by the way thought I'd lost my mind) goodbye. When I arrived at Rhodes airport, I had absolutely no idea where I was going, so must have looked like a scared hamster, and one of the head reps took me under her wing. I then asked her where we were going 'Faliraki' she said, 'the liveliest resort on the island'. Fantastic!
We pulled up at my hotel which was 4* (just great I thought), and I settled in. I had 1 week to go on the trips, meet the reps and learn my 'Welcome Speech'. Well imagine if you've never done any public speaking before in your life, then having to do one in front of about 80 people!! Absolute nightmare!! But after doing two every week for about a month, it just becomes the norm! As I settled in, (it took me 2 nights of homesickness before I just thought, Natalie get a grip) I started to really have fun, going on bar crawls, booze cruises (yes, the normal tacky British drunken debauchery) and just letting your hair down (sometimes having more fun than the guests!). The good thing is you are never alone, the other reps are always around and were really friendly. You are never left alone in a situation, there are senior reps, head reps and a manager if you ever have any problems.
There are days when you just want to go home though, like when you have to pushbike (I no, I wasn't privileged enough to receive a scooter) in the scorching heat, with your uniform (polyester, scratchy and embarrassing to wear when everyone is in bikinis) on, or when you have to get up at stupid hours of the night to go to the airport (but you do get time to yourself to relax). Just getting myself out of a rut and doing something on my own, proving to my parents that I didn't rely on their purse strings anymore, gave me such a feeling of achievement, and the ability to talk to people from all walks of life and to deal with problems on your own, the minute they occur.
For me it wasn't a career option and you only earn about £400 a month (although you get commission and don't have to pay for much as you usually get things free or cheap being a rep), but the experience is invaluable, and I would recommend it to anybody, those 4 months were like staying in Greece on a long girly holiday!
Image courtesy Boss Tweed