What's warmer than home?
When I realized I could not find an easy answer, I instantly knew where my place in the world was. I wanted to provide that very feeling of warmth and comfort for as many people I was able to. So I made it my job. I work as the head housekeeper in a London hotel.
Working as a housekeeper is often frowned upon, a true eyebrow raiser. It doesn't fit with a certain definition of success.
My college buddies, who all work in the city, ask me again and again: "With your MBAs you are only a housekeeper?"
I always reply: "How big an asset portfolio are you managing at the moment?" And the reply is usually a very proud "25.8 million", or "44.7 million!"
Then I give them my happiest smile and say: "I manage 60 million in real estate and equipment, every day, I know personally all the shareholders involved and I turn around profits by making people feeling at home. I use my passion for art and design every day, I have real, flesh and blood friends by the dozens -- although I do not have a Facebook profile and never will. I go home to my husband every evening and grow my vegetables in the garden. Did you miss those passages in our Finance and Economics classes?"
They dark circled eyes would then look at me with that certain surprise...
When it comes to redefining success and plotting lifelong happiness into the equation, I feel I was so very lucky growing up in an Italian common-sense led family: Our home and all of us around the table at night were the essence, the tangible symbols of our values.
Every day now, in the hotel I manage, I secretly wait to see on each person the very same look that my dad had when coming through the front door at night. Both my staff and my guests must wear that look or else, surely, I have failed to deliver.
The house is the heart of our days, wherever we are in the world, and I put all my heart into my job of caring for my guests and colleagues.
This is not housekeeping. This is heartkeeping. And it should be taught in some of the classes at my old college.