Jan Vidts' Story
I wasn’t intending to join hospitality. I studied Germanic languages at university and after that I had the opportunity to do an extra year to get a teaching qualification. I was destined to become a teacher but I never did it professionally.
I’ve always wanted to travel and once I was 16 years old, I started working in restaurants to finance that. I enjoyed serving people and I think that’s why, after my studies, when I stumbled on a vacancy at the ibis hotel in Leuven, my home town, I sent my CV and was quickly invited to an interview. Three weeks later I started work there and that was the beginning of my career in hospitality 16 years ago. It was the best professional decision I have ever made.
I have not done any hospitality studies but I think the most important contribution to my success is that I have always been myself and shown who I really am; a passion for the industry helps as well.
You have to learn to be patient, to learn about yourself and be honest with yourself. I recently had a manager who said I am realistic; I am not going to apply for a job I am not ready for. I take one step at a time, but sometimes, when an opportunity comes by you do have to jump into it.
Being surrounded by the right people is very important. Part of the reason for my success is that I have always worked with people who have helped me develop and discover myself. It is thanks to colleagues I have had over the years that I have reached the position I am in – being successful is never an individual achievement.
To someone who is newly in the sector, I would say Go for it! The advantage of starting in the industry is the mass of opportunities to have new experiences professionally and personally. In hospitality you meet people every day through providing services to them and seeing them enjoy that – it is one of the best things I have experienced.
It’s something to be proud of because you help them delight in an experience they wouldn’t have had if you hadn’t been so compassionate. And during your career, you are constantly discovering and rediscovering yourself, and that is unique to hospitality; it’s a lifestyle.
And to someone who is looking for work, join hospitality because of the life experience and the stories you hear; you would not get that in other sectors. You meet people from cultures across the world; each day you meet new people and have new experiences, and that is something you can’t buy.
- Jan Vidts
- Director of Telesales
- Brussels Support Office (Belgium)