For some people is a big leap to move to a foreign country to pursue the carrier ambitions, but when globetrotting runs in the veins, a relocation on, give or take, a few thousand kilometres isn’t so big a deal.
“My parents have lived in Taipei for a number of years and before them my grandparents was stationed for FL Schmidt, so from an early age it was clear to me, that I wanted to follow their footsteps out to explore the world” explains Michael Gaarde-Nielsen. For four months he has been Front Office Manager on the legendary high class hotel Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa in Kota Kinabalu in Malaysian Borneo.
Citizen of the world
The drive to travel the world was also one of the main factors behind Michael Gaarde-Nielsen’s choice of carrier.
“I have always been attracted by the hotel-business. Well, my earliest carrier ambition was to become a pilot, but it didn’t take long before I realised the potential in working in hotels. But coming to Asia to work was actually my parents’ idea. When I finished high school in Denmark, they encouraged me to join them in Taiwan to work on the local Shangri-La“ he explains adding that this experience motivated him to study hotel-management in London.
“After working in a small London hotel for a while, I decided I was ready for bigger challenges, so I found a job on major resort in Oman where I worked in three years until I got the opportunity to come to Borneo” According to Michael Gaarde-Nielsen he couldn’t have landed a better place.
“I really like Borneo, mainly because of the settings but also because of the people. Even though they island is a melting pot for various cultures and religions, everybody seems to be getting along fine – most countries could learn a lot from the Malaysians” he says.
Long hours ok
But most people would most likely also say, that positive attitude is probably is quite necessary, when they hear about the long working hours Michael Gaarde-Nielsen puts into the hotel.
“Well, the days can get pretty long on the hotel, most days I work 12-16 hours, most of them I am on my feet talking to guests, arrange logistics and solve problems for my subordinates, there is a lot to manage on a hotel with room for more than one thousand guests” he explains adding another truth that most certainty would deter most people.
“One of the ground premises of working in the tourist industry is to be at work when other people are on holiday, so I haven’t had Christmas off for many years now, but believe it or not, you get used to it after a while” he says. Despite the disadvantages of the job, Michael Gaarde-Nielsen sees no reason to change his carrietr course.
“I really thrive on this kind of living, instead of being stucked between the narrow walls of an office, I get to talk to all kinds of people, most of them relaxed and happy due to their vacation, and most of my friends work on the hotel as well so there really is such adistinct line between work and social life for me. Besides airplane tickets are much cheaper when you travel outside the season “ he smiles.