Desmond Cawley’s Fascinating Career – From Ski Resorts to Hotels to the Private Sector

Desmond Cawley’s extensive career started out in ski resorts many years ago. Since then, he has worked his way up to a place where he is seen as a sought-after professional in private residences. He’s worked in five-star hotels and luxury private homes, and in our latest episode of Life in Private Staffing, he talks about this transition. 

The transition from hotels to private residences

Working in hotels teaches you discipline and management skills that you won’t find elsewhere. However, by managing a private residence you can learn how to be agile and adaptable at all times. Desmond insists you can’t be stuck in your ways while working in the private sector, because you’re dealing with constant changes each and every day. 

In Desmond’s experience, hotels are more structured and he’s found that you can rely on processes and the brand identity to remain the same. In private households, however, you are dealing with individuals and their ever-changing needs. You need to tailor your services to suit the primary client, which is quite different from working within an existing organisation. 

While the lessons he learned working in the hotel industry certainly informed his experience and helped him grow his career, there is a difference between working in a hotel and working in a private residence. For starters, you’re no longer serving guests, you’re serving residents, and you’re involved in clients’ personal lives. 

The responsibilities also vary greatly when you’re working in a private residence. In hotels, you have a set list of responsibilities, but in a private household, they can change every day. You’re responsible for everything from organising transport to ensuring the household staff perform well at their own jobs. You’re managing a team as well as a household, and you are responsible for everything that happens within that scope. 

Attitude is everything

You cannot be easily stressed if you’re working in a private residence. You need to be able to keep your calm at all times and neutralise your emotions so that you can keep a clear head and face the work with a calm rationality. If you’re easily stressed, you won’t be able to keep up with the demands of working in an ultra high net worth household. Keeping an even temperament is crucial in the private sector, which is something we’ve certainly heard from other guests on the podcast as well. 

Attitude is also something that Desmond looks for when hiring new employees within a household. There are certain skill sets and requirements for every job, but attitude is equally important. You can’t be set in your ways or unwilling to attempt new tasks if you work in private residences. The job often requires you to step outside of your comfort zone and you have to be okay with that.

The one thing that Desmond believes can stop a person from succeeding in the private sector is an inability to adapt to change and take on any new challenges. People who are rigid in their abilities tend to struggle while working in private households. Resilience and fortitude are necessary personality attributes for the job. 

Desmond’s advice: be authentic and persevere 

For those who want to get into the private sector and are just starting out, Desmond advises to stay determined and work hard, but also be authentic. Be yourself and be true to your values. Another piece of advice he has is to be able to embrace change at every turn. “There’s going to be lots of twists and turns along the road. If you’re receptive to that, and you learn as you go, the rewards can be great,” he says. 

Hear all of Desmond’s insights in episode 19 of Life in Private Staffing. Click here to listen to the podcast.

If you’d like to find out more about Silver Swan and how we can help you, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Watch the full episode 

Hear all of Desmond’s insights in episode 19 of Life in Private Staffing. Click below to listen to the podcast:

Apple Podcasts:

If you’d like to find out more about Silver Swan and how we can help you, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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