From Nashville, TN — 07/23/2008
The Gaylord Opryland Hotel is a very nice hotel that focuses it's business on large conventions. I worked here over the Christmas 2007 season as part-time retail help. I was supposed to work over in the "ICE" exhibit where the dress was casual (company provided sweatshirts), but instead I was moved over into the hotel (which has about 12 retail shops), where dress is a tie and slacks.
The respect the company gives is pretty fair. We had a meeting every morning to discuss changes and other need to know news, as well as paperwork that was handed out describing the day's events and how many people were going to be in the hotel, and what convention they were with. If you had a problem or a question, this was the time to submit it: during the meeting, because you weren't going to see your floor supervisor for the rest of the shift for the most part.
As I was part-time I didn't get benefits, but the full time people probably did. Job security wasn't an issue, it was a seasonal job designed to end on 1-1-08, but since they had pretty high turnover in the retail department, I wasn't worried about it. I probably could have stayed on after the Xmas season if I had wanted to, but I quit because I developed plantar fascitis in my foot - a sharp pain that kept me from working on my feet. The reason for this was the store had marble floors and the rubber mat in the store was too thin. There wasn't even a mat until I complained about it. The stores are also very small and you don't get to walk around too much to get the pressure of your legs and feet, and you aren't allowed to sit down (there's nowhere to sit anyway). The company did provide a free meal per shift in the company cafeteria in the basement. The food was usually pretty good, and it's hard to beat a free meal. It's a nice buffet, with many options and free soft drinks too. Lots of deserts. There are tv's to watch and a room for napping even.
Work/life balance: Not the best. This was a second job for me, as it was for many of my new co-workers. The management gave lip service to trying to give you a break, but that did not happen often. Even though most of us were free in the evenings to work, if we had a day job, we weren't normally allowed to come in to work the evening shift, but instead were put on the weekend shift, which means you work 7 days a week. Okay, I'm the one who the second job, so that's my problem, I agree, but most people realize that you must give a person who works two jobs a weekend day off at least twice a month to allow them a day to recouperate fully.
Career potential: I don't know - never planned on working here forever.
Location: The hotel is kind of out of the way for 3/4 of Nashville. It's off Briley Parkway, and you have to fight a lot of traffic to get into the employee parking lot. The employee parking lot is about 300 yards from the employee entrance, which is about 800 yards from the main hotel, which in itself is huge, so it could take a full 30 minutes to get from your car to your work station, which increases your commute time. You had to walk 20 minutes just to get to the time clock, so that's free work in my book. Of course, you have to do all this walking at the end of your shift when you're tired too. They need a shuttle. There aren't many obese people working here.
Co-worker competence: Pretty good. The people were friendly. Most people working here really love their job, and there is a lot to like. Gaylord treats it's people pretty well with free stuff, a good discount, and free uniforms for most of the hotel personnel... it's just the retail side that's so lame, but retail isn't the best career option in the world period. I did have the VP for retail come into the store I was working one day and just help himself to whatever he wanted. I thought that was a little unfair (I can't take whatever I want or I'd be arrested/fired). So, there is definitely a class system in place.
Work envrionment: The hotel is really pretty, but very large. The pay was pretty good. Base salary for retail was $9 an hour wth 1% commission on all sales, so I averaged between $11- $14 an hour typically, which is really good for non-management retail in my experience.
Overall, a good company to work for, but not in the retail department. Go with guest services, the concierge desk, or something else.