To be or not to be... A JMC Holiday Rep
by Lucy Corne
Walking past the bar for the fourth time, trying to decide whether to go in on alone or just go home to sleep I was thinking, 'What am I doing? Why am I here? I want my mum!!!' I'd arrived in Gran Canaria that day, to spend four months working as a children's rep. A mix up at the airport led to me being dumped alone in the wrong resort with no-one to welcome me. Not exactly the start I'd expected. But I got chatting to a restaurant promoter and a couple of hours later I had to drag myself away from the bars so that I could get enough sleep and be ready to start work in the morning. I felt very pleased with myself for getting out, not moping about in the hotel room.
It was mostly uphill from there although if ever there was a job with peaks and troughs, a holiday rep would be it. The hours are long, the times where you wake up at 4 a.m. with face stuck to a vinyl chair waiting for a delayed flight are far from pleasant, there are complaining guests, drunken teenagers who need carrying to their rooms, drunken adults who need help understanding the policeman that's arrested them and it can be a lonely job.
But then there is light at the end of the tunnel. Salvation. Bliss . Your day off. As you lie on the beach soaking up the sun or set off on a boat trip around the bay, the horrors of the week are soon forgotten. And while it can be lonely far away from friends and family, a sense of camaraderie develops like nowhere else. You live with the other reps, you work with them. They are both your friends and your family and close relationships form so quickly.
Don't expect an easy run. The guests will comment on what a wonderful job you have, living in the sun. What they don't realise is that you only see the sun one day a week and by that time you're so tired you rarely make it out of bed before three in the afternoon (or maybe that's just me!). During the week, as you drag yourself out of bed after another two-hour night, the thought of a welcome meeting for 200 people is not ideal, nor is a trip to the mini golf with a group of screaming eight-year-olds. Then when a guest comes to you on their last day with a gift or a teary 'thank you, you really made our holiday' it makes everything right again.
An average week could see you hosting three welcome meetings, selling excursions (a big supplement to your income), the odd trip to a doctor or hospital, leading the way on an all-night bar crawl, dancing in front of hundreds at the reps' cabaret, guiding a boat trip or camel trek and dealing with a host of problems and complaints. You're seen as a shoulder to cry on, a target for abuse, a saviour and a friend.
I would personally recommend being a Kids' rep - you have marginally fewer hours, slightly more pay (although less chance to top it up with sales) and the reward of a group of smiling children (of course, not good if you don't like kids!). One night, as I'd almost made up my mind to leave early having had the worst week ever, I was moping about at Cabaret night, desperately trying not to cry when seven-year old Daniel asked me to dance and said he would miss me once he'd gone home. I made up my mind there and then to stay until the bitter end, and of course once the end arrived I could barely drag myself away. I'll be back there next summer (if they'll have me!) after a two-year absence - I really miss it. Perhaps I'll see you there.
Pay: Around £500 a month - not much but you should be able to claim all of your tax back, leaving you with £500 to spend on food and drink.
Accommodation: Is included, so you have no bills to pay. Expect to live in a reasonable self catered holiday apartment - no five star hotels!
Flights: Are also included, as is a transfer and allegedly an airport welcome!
Applying: Most companies will take new reps throughout the year. Major operators to contact are JMC, Thompson, Cosmos, Virgin, First Choice.
Perks: Cheap or if you're lucky free drinks in local bars, free entrance to clubs. By far the greatest perk is walking around in your uniform and being left alone by those annoying folk who give out flyers for clubs and bars!
Directory > Tourism, Catering & Hospitality
Image courtesy El Coleccionista de Instantes Fotografía & Video