During The Great Recession, thanks to frequent-flyer points and a vacation club exchange, we spent a week in Hawaii for the cost of a rental car and food. While a fun and relaxing vacation, it was strange to be at an ocean-front Maui resort during peak tourist season, without the tourists. Several restaurants on this forty-acre property were even closed.
The bellman who showed us around told us he’d been working at the resort for 11 years and hadn’t seen anything like it. “I used to work full-time,” he told us. “Now I’m on a rotation with 16 others and lucky to get one day a week. I’m not sure how I can make it, even with unemployment.”
In comparison to that distressed bellman, on the last evening of vacation we chatted with a man who delivered our room service, commenting to him about the empty hotel. “Oh,” he said. “It’s kind of nice. I see this like a mini-vacation. I know it’ll pick up, and if not, I have some other things in the works.”
These were contrasting reactions to the same event. The bellman felt powerless and stressed-out while the room service staffer was calm and taking action. It reminded me of an experiment discussed in Time magazine about stress. In the experiment, (continue reading →)