Have you ever stumbled into LOVE?

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Well, I have, and that love started more than 33 years ago, it’s still going strong, and I have Gavin, to thank for this! Now, don’t get me wrong, Gavin was a great bloke, nothing like a partner, just a great friend who helped me find my real career and passion, by accident if I am honest.

It was the summer of 1984 after our High Schooling had finished, Gavin and I were bored, as most teenagers were at that time, so we took the train into the city of Brisbane to see what was happening. Walking around, somewhat aimlessly led us to an open door, lots of activity and a sign that said Now Hiring! What more could two dead-broke, bored teenagers do, but go and ask what it was all about?

Photo by Ibrahim Boran on Unsplash

As it turned out, it was the soon to open Sheraton Towers Brisbane Hotel, one of the most glamorous, five-star hotels ever to be seen in the mid-eighties in what was a big country town, as the capital of the state of Queensland, Australia. We called our hometown “Bris-Vegas” which was taking the piss as it was the complete opposite of anything Vegas, that’s why this shining, new, expensive, glamorous hotel was making such a splash.

Gavin and I walked into the back door of the hotel, spoke with the hiring team, filled out some paperwork, had all but a three-minute interview with one of the kitchen managers, and before you knew it, we were both hired! As kitchen-hands, or what is called a Kitchen Steward or Pot Rat by some of the old guard chefs. So, over 33 years ago, I started my hotel career as a pot-washer! Our first shift was more than 12 hours long, the hotel was opening in two weeks time, and they had hundreds of boxes to open up, thousands of glasses to wash, even more, plates, cups, saucers, knives and forks to clean, polish and pack-away for later use.

Photo by Adam Dachis on Unsplash

We worked our asses off that night, finished after 08:00 the next day, exhausted but with the biggest smiles on our face, and I was hooked, this was the job for me. Flexible hours, great people, beautiful workplace, uniform, meals at work, so many things to learn and see, chance to travel, yet there was nothing more on my mind than going back the next day. My very first payslip is still with me; I was earning a total of Australian$4.25 per hour, working around 60 hours a week.

That feels like a long time ago, and I am now 51 years young, lived in six countries, traveled and worked in more than 40 countries, have friends all over the world, a daughter who has more passport stamps than my entire family in Australia combined and a beautiful wife that adores Dubai.

For the past 15 years, I have worked in the Corporate Office of one of the largest hotel management companies in the world, from Australia to Singapore, Malaysia, India, Bahrain and now Dubai. Where, I am Senior Director of Commercial, looking after 53 hotels with a combined annual revenue target or more than US$785 million across five (5) countries.

Which countries, what brands, what is it like being the only non-Muslim male, within our Global company, to have stayed overnight at our Madinah Hotels in Saudi Arabia? Well, as they say, that story is for another day.

Who says you can’t work your way up from the very bottom?

Onwards, Damian

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Damian K. ten Bohmer
Senior Director @IHG

Damian is an Australian Executive living #Dubai @InterContinental Hotels Group Middle East & Africa, company man, travel lots, great family, love #SurfSki, #TRX, keep fit & do the right thing. *AVMO

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2 Comments
    • Depika Arora
      Apr 17, 2019 21:30 pm Reply

      Excellent and encouraging words for doer!

    • Ahmed Sukhera
      Apr 17, 2019 21:31 pm Reply

      you are real hero #IHG @Damian

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