MANY of us have at some point worked in hospitality.
Personally, I had a short and largely unmemorable stint at a takeaway food joint as a teenager - unlike many of my peers, it wasn't McDonald's.
Of those of us who dipped a toe into the waters of the hospitality sector, for many the visit was fleeting. For teenagers and students, in particular, largely casual employment, combined with weekend and after-hours work makes hospitality a perfect introduction to working life.
But hospitality doesn't need to be something you do while you're studying to become something else. There are plenty of rewarding career opportunities in the sector that don't involve delivering pizzas on a Friday night or cleaning soft-serve machines.
Take Debbie Simister for example. She's the national learning and talent development manager for hotel giant Accor, a role that puts her in the upper echelons of the company's management team, but still keeps her in touch with the best and brightest of Accor's employees.
Debbie said that while her initial career goals hadn't included hospitality, once she'd had a taste of the industry her career pathway changed.
"I always aspired to be a primary school teacher. In high school I taught five-year-old children to play the piano, and got an immense amount of satisfaction out of seeing a young child's knowledge and ability grow and develop. Ironic that I now work in learning and development," she said.
"My first job was as a hotel receptionist for a NZ hotel chain. I loved it.
"It was exciting, talking to guests, solving their problems and making them happy.
"It was a very social and fun team, which was important given I was in my early 20s.
"I remember proudly showing my Mum and Dad my receptionist suit - grey skirt, jacket and white shirt. Not sure I'd be so fond of it now, but I really felt very important back then."
She said she found motivation and inspiration in her role and her colleagues every day.
"Accor has given me many opportunities over the years to develop, both personally and professionally."
For information about careers with Accor, visit jobsataccor.com.au