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My name is Eleanor Banks and I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for 5+ years, of which began like most do working part-time on 0hour contracts for a bit of extra money when I was younger. My love for the industry soon became apparent when I went to work over in America as part of my degree. I lived what everyone calls “The American Dream” however I soon realised that most of that dream actually meant working 70-80 hours are week and selling my soul to my job. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved everything about my job, interacting with customers, staff and the overall buzz that you get in the industry but that was all my life was.

When I got back from America to finish my degree, I knew I needed a part-time job again so found myself at a local venue in Manchester. Before I could even blink, I was working shifts until 5 am and sleeping in till 4 pm the next day. I didn’t really think much into the craziness of what I was actually doing at the time, hard and tiring yes, but a fun work environment and a job to pay the bills while at university, even more so. 

After graduating with a 2:1 in Events Management I was straight back on that plane to America after being offered a position as Dining Room Manager from my past placement. I was thrilled for the opportunity but for another year all I did was live and breathe hospitality, and even more so now I had more responsibility. I was drinking to sleep, smoking to relax and my diet was all over the place, hardly eating while working and binging on my one day off a week. 

Upon returning home in July I decided I wanted to use my degree and get into Events more, however mid pandemic and no events taking place meant there also wasn’t any relatable jobs. Luckily enough towards the end of the year, I landed myself another managerial role in a local restaurant. It felt great to be working again and doing what I loved to do. Unfortunately, this was only for a month until multiple lockdowns were put into place meaning I was again off work until April. I found myself very productive, I really go into my fitness and started an online personal training course, eating well, not smoking and can happily say I never felt better, considering we were basically locked in our house with little to no social interactions. 

After returning to work, in short, I lost myself. 14-hour shifts, 20-minute breaks, eating rubbish and not eating enough, no time to exercise or do the things which made me feel so good during lockdown. I started smoking again just to get that extra 5-minute break and drinking after work because we had been so busy, I needed it just to relax and get me to sleep. After my first week back, my mum looked at me and honestly said “Elly you look awful, you don’t look like yourself”, and it was at this point I could see summer coming and me working crazy hours, every weekend and not getting a chance to enjoy life, let alone destroying everything I had built up in myself over lockdown. It was at that point I knew I had to say goodbye to the industry. My love for the industry will never change, but I had to look at the bigger picture, I’m 24 and want to enjoy everything life has to offer. 

That’s why I reached out to So Lets Talk, as I knew I didn’t want to completely let go of the industry, and also knew that there are probably millions of people in the same situation as me, who won’t and shouldn’t need to leave the industry if the right changes are made. 

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