“Why I Quit Working in the Luxury Hotel Industry”

Posted September 27, 2022, at 07.00

“When you finish your Master 2 with an internship, you have to make choices and start your professional career. Often this results in a placement in the structure where we did our final internship.

During these six months in a prestigious company, and despite the fact that my colleagues were very friendly and the internship was very interesting, I understood that I served absolutely no social or ecological purpose. I participated indirectly, through the activity of my company, in the destruction of the planet (+70% of the clientele is international and comes by plane). When I redoubled my efforts in my personal life to protect my environment, reduce my waste, eat less meat, switch banks, travel by train and bike…

I just couldn’t see myself there.

The fact that I developed within a structure allowed me to understand things better. So the decision to leave the world of high-end and luxury hotels was forced upon me. It was the only thing for me to do, I had understood that I did not want to change things from the inside, because it is the whole business model of companies that depend on international tourism that needed to be rethought.

Faced with his cognitive dissonance

I was actually in a situation of cognitive dissonance: I performed actions (the internship) that went against my real values ​​(environment and ecology).

Then comes a deep need for coherence, with my values, the meaning I want to give to my life, my work. The famous search for meaning that we often hear about, which arises when young people are confronted with the disillusionment of the world of work, of the economic system in which we find ourselves, which leads us with its search for endless growth, towards a climate. disaster.

I had remained in denial about a reality that I did not want to see

I have always had an organic fiber and I have always been careful, I have never had a car, I have always tried to limit my consumption of meat, clothes, conscious of the ecological footprint of my individual choices. . But my awareness grew when I wrote my thesis on corporate social responsibility in the hotel sector, with high-end and luxury hotels as a field of study.

I have also read scientific articles on this topic, but also the latest IPCC report, Jean-Marc Jancovici’s cartoon and other sources of information on this topic. It is all these readings that led me to this observation: the luxury hotel industry and more broadly international tourism based on aviation is very harmful to the environment and is not sustainable in a sober future.

Deep down I knew without a doubt, but I remained in denial about a reality I didn’t want to see. A few years ago, I had the strong desire to climb the ladder, to have a position of high responsibility, to earn a lot of money, and I somewhat naively thought that it was possible and potentially compatible with respect for the environment. I had forged a dream of values ​​that I thought were mine.

He is leaving the hotel business, but not the tourism sector

I would also like to point out that many of my comrades have the same feeling as me, but that they cannot necessarily make this decision, at least not immediately. As we know, it is always difficult to turn down interesting professional opportunities at the start of your career, to ask yourself these questions about meaning in work, about values… when you have financial constraints.

I’m lucky that I don’t have financial problems, after working a lot alongside my studies for the last five years, between extra and summer seasons, I could put some money aside to not have to go back to work directly. Giving up like I do is an impossible luxury for anyone with a mortgage to repay, a child to feed, to raise.

I am not leaving the tourism or hospitality sector completely. There are many things to do in this environment, to transform so that tomorrow we can continue to travel. But for me it will involve the development of more sustainable and sustainable initiatives in a sober future: camping, holiday town, responsible hotels, alternative accommodation, development of sustainable tourism, cycling tourism…

At the moment I am taking a little vacation to think about my professional future. I’m just going to experiment with another way of traveling: when I travel by bike, I have to go alone for 2 months to reach Sicily…”

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