Well, I probably just lost my mind when I said yes to an animator’s job offer. I’ve actually never been in a hotel before where they have animation. Of course, I saw pictures, short videos, insta posts about it, maybe I have read some blog posts as well, but never really experienced it. So I guess I thought the same as most people think about animation: It is fun! You just have to be around the pool, you have to be cheerful, have to do some activities, and that is it. Sounds like fun to me, what could be difficult about it?
So I was like, yeah let’s do this! I’ll be in Greece, sea, sun, sand and palmtrees. What could go wrong? – Famous last sentences.
I packed my stuff and was quite excited about the whole experience. You know, traveling alone, doing things, that I’ve never done before. Exciting. Especially because I actually had no clue where/which hotel I was exactly going. I only know that someone will pick me up at the airport and take me to the place where I was going to spend my next 2 months. At the moment I saw this nice, pretty, young lady at the terminal with a paper in her hands ( my name written on it ) I had two thoughts:
- Well, here we are it’s so nice that she comes to pick me up. Everything is gonna be alright.
- Well, this could be the next Taken movie. Because I am pretty sure that this is a way to actually kidnap young naive, unartful girls.
Since you are reading this you are actually right if you assumed that the first scenario will be the truth.
Well, I am glad too!
An introverted animator
So let’s get back to animation, why did I think that I lost my mind when I undertook this role? Well, let me introduce myself a little bit more. Most of the time I am a quiet observer in the „room”. I like to have nice conversations, but in the last few years, I just realized that I am not as extroverted as I thought. Well, actually I am more likely an introvert (let’s say I am an extroverted introvert). It was a little hard, to admit the fact to myself. I enjoy being on my own, I love to stay in and read a book, or listen to music and just be in my own head. But when you are an animator, you could forget about those things for a while.
You HAVE to be around people (well, actually you have to be around a few hundreds of people almost every day) and these people are changing weekly. So even if you managed to get close to some of them, you would even say that you are friends, they will leave eventually and then you have to find some other people to be around because it is a part of your role… And you will miss these people, you will miss your new friends, and there is a possibility that you will never see them again.
A day in the life for an animator
Okay, that’s enough emotions in one single paragraph. Let’s talk about the „serious” things, how does a day looks like if you work as an animator. Well, in my case the working days started at 10:00 o’clock in the morning, but we had to be backstage at 09:45. We were lucky because we actually ate the same food as the guest at the (5-star) hotel, which was approximately 8-10 minutes walking distance from our apartment. So every morning we usually started at the hotel at 9:00 to have breakfast. The first activity was morning stretching/yoga which happened to be my favorite. In the beginning, I just took part in the class, and eventually, I hold the stretching/yoga sessions for the guests. I loved it! I always asked for some feedback, and actually, 100% of it was positive. People liked it, and returned day by day for the little morning ritual. I think that was the best acknowledgment for me throughout these 2 months.
The next activity (for me usually) was the aqua gym. You know, when the animators stand next to the pool with the pool noodles (the colorful long thingies that don’t sink in the water – I actually never heard this word before – my bad) and they are jumping around screaming and showing the guests what to do with the noodles. Totally not me… in front of dozens of people who are staring at you around the pool. Waiting for your instructions, waiting for you to jump around for the music. But anyways I did it, I even enjoyed it (most of the time), and I tried to make the classes as diverse as I could.
We also took people to play volleyball, football, boccia/petanque (it’s a game with metallic balls – you have to throw the metallic balls as close to a little wooden ball as possible – but it also comes in handy when you wanna do some exercises at backstage, like squats and you only have these heavy balls in a bag as weights.) Sometimes it was easy to have a whole group of people who wanted to play, but other times you really had to convince them, even beg, to go and play with you, otherwise, if you don’t have people for your activity you have to be around the pool and have to talk to the guests. I know it sounds kind of silly, that I was afraid of that, but then again just imagine yourself in the following situation.
„Okay, I have to find someone again who I can talk to. There is a girl there, pushing her phone on the sunbed, maybe I can try it, she seems a little bored, maybe she will be up for a little chit-chat…
I am standing here, next to her, what should I say? Should I make a compliment on her bikini, or on her nails? But I did that last time too, I am bored of this kind of conversations. Should I ask where did she come from, or how long will she stay? Same, over and over again. But okay anyways I have to say something… anything… because it started to be awkward that I am just standing here next to her, staring at her, saying nothing…”
Then I just wished her a lovely day and went for another round around the pool, searching for someone who I could finally really talk to.
Most of the people were really lovely, and friendly, and even curious about me, but some of them were just plain dismissive with us. It happened a few times that I went up to people ask them if they wanted to join the activities, and they were pretending that they didn’t hear me, or they just looked through me like I wasn’t even there. I learned to handle rejection, but it still hurt a little bit every time it happened.
It wasn’t this difficult every time, of course, I just wanted to share the struggles that I went through during the days. The nights were even tougher for me most of the time. People, families, groups of friends come to sit around the pool bar and the stage waiting for the show of the night (that was different every night for two weeks, then it started all over again, singers, dancers, acrobats). So our role was to be around the people, to sit at their table, have a little chit-chat, for a maximum of 15-20 minutes, then we had to go to another table to do the same. Seriously, if you go for a holiday with your family or friends and you go to see the show of the night do you want to be bothered by a random animator of the hotel? I don’t think so.
Probably it was just me who thought that if you are an animator you only have to do the activities, you have to be there to answer questions about the programs, shows, and that’s it. Apparently, I was quite wrong about it.
And let’s talk about the „dark” side of it. At least these were things that I personally didn’t like, even hate sometimes.
- You have no life outside of the hotel. Basically, you spend the majority of your day (6 days a week) there. You work from the morning till late night, and even if you have breaks (twice a day 2,5 hours) you cannot really do anything besides going to the beach (which I did every day) and go for lunch or dinner to the hotel. At the end of the day you are happy to hit your bed, and in the morning you are lucky if you could manage to wake up in time.
- SMILE – all day all night. When I accidentally forget to put my smile on people tend to ask me if something was wrong. And I was like „Nope, it’s just my natural face.” (without a fake smile…)
- Selling Animation T-shirts. Seriously, why would anyone want to have a west with the colors of the rainbow, ( with not so high-quality material – this was a huge euphemism, I didn’t want to be rude) with an Animation label on it. Well I am not a salesman, and I am quite an honest person, so I think I don’t even have to tell that I didn’t sell any. I cannot be persuasive if I don’t believe in the product myself. Sorry for not being sorry.
- The tombola nights. Well, the idea itself is good, I like it, let the people play, have some fun. They could buy the tombola tickets from the animators, then before the night show starts, we pick the winning numbers from a hat. My problem here was with the prizes. They could win wine and champagne (let me remind you that we were in an all- inclusive hotel…) animation t-shirts, shorts and hat (check out the 3. point) free watersport pass (this was a good prize) and in the main season they could even win a free car rental for a day (this was their favorite, also one good prize). So with a little more effort, this whole tombola thing could have been a really fun stuff, but this way I sometimes felt embarrassed.
- We had to take out the guests to specific bars, yes you can guess why…well, someone had some interest in the bar’s income. But imagine yourself as a guest in an all-inclusive five-star hotel, where you can actually get drunk every day, every night without paying for it (well yeah, you paid a huge amount of money for it in advance) So would you go out to a bar, that has nothing really special to offer? I don’t think so. Now you can imagine how successful was it to bring people to this places. And well, boss wasn’t happy about it…
So did I regret that I tried the Animator-life for a short period of time? Nope. I am thankful for the experience! But do I want to do it again? Hell no. This is a thing that is not for me. I want to have a life besides my job. I don’t want to be „forced” to be around people and talk to them just because I have to. Don’t get me wrong there were many reasons to smile, and I had many good days and moments and had a lot of positive outcomes of this experience:
- Sea, Sun, Sand <3
- I got to know many valuable and nice people
- I was able to swim in the sea every single day
- I could eat fish& salad&fruits every day in the hotel restaurant (being a foodie and a healthy lifestyle-junkie this is important)
- I actually didn’t have to spend money on food or accommodation for 2 month
- I could try many watersports (waterskiing, parasailing etc.)
- I fell in love with yoga – Namaste
- I learned (again) that I am able to do anything that I set my mind to
- I gained confidence to talk to strangers
- On my off-days I could go to nice places (Symi, Lindos, Prasonisi)
For me this kind of job was only manageable for these two months, that I would never ever change for anything, I’ll remember this for the rest of my life, I’ve been there, done that, tried it.
I didn’t want to dissuade anyone from doing it. But I think you have to be a specific person, with a specific personality to be a match for this role. If you feel like it, do it, go for it! Give it a try, and decide for yourself, if it’s your thing, or not. Every hotel is different, every company is different, this is just my experience, a subjective way that I saw and felt it. I didn’t want to offend anyone, just wanted to be 100% honest, which I was. If you are thinking about being an animator and have some questions, don’t hesitate to send me a message and I’ll try to help as I can.