When people ask me what I do, I usually answer rather vaguely “tourism” or “safaris”. When they then ask for more info and ask me what it is I do in tourism, I say I am an operations manager. People who know what that is, will say “oh, you’re in ops” (so ghetto) but for most it is still vague.
I always felt, it means “you do whatever needs doing” but that I guess that is still rather vague. In an attempt to explain what I do, I would explain that I do not sell holidays, I do not make the reservation if you would book a holiday, but you would be under my care as soon as you hit the destination. From making sure the vehicle gets you from the airport, the driver is wearing the correct uniform, the driver takes you to the right hotel and so on.. I make sure the actual operation of your itinerary goes without a glitch (or should go, I should say). If something goes wrong or it so happens that you have a complaint, I would be the one that handles it. That can go from medi-vaccing a sick guest out of the country to making sure the VIP clients get crystal glazes and their favorite brand of champagne in the tented camp.
I did not study tourism so in a way it is not self-evident that I am in this position. And the word manager also sometimes bugs me.. what is a manager, basically anyone can call himself a manager. A housewife manages the household, parents manage children, right? (I feel they really do.) I guess time and place would be the only answer to the question why I am here, doing what I am doing.
Precisely because of that ‘receiving complaints’-aspect, many do not envy my job. I do not mind it, I do not take these complaints home. I take professional pride in handling them without too much emotions. And it appears my severe case of OCD actually helps in this operational role. And I love travelling myself so being in this job, suits me more than I ever could have anticipated.