What Is A Night Manager? They Do A Lot, Even If They're Not Spies Like Jonathan Pine
AMC's new mini-series The Night Manager follows one man — Jonathan Pine — as he goes from being a mild-mannered night manager at a luxury hotel to becoming the key element in an espionage plot to take down a massive weapons distributer. Like most professions presented on television, being a night manager isn't quite as exciting as it's portrayed in the series. Pine makes a great makeshift spy not just because he's a night manager, but because he did two tours in Iraq as a solider. Certainly the skills that Jonathan Pine learns tending to the patrons of wealthy resorts gives him some experience, though. What exactly is it that night managers do in real life?
On paper, the responsibilities of a night manager are pretty self-explanatory. You're a manager... but at night. In some smaller hotels, these responsibilities are shifted to a position of Night Auditor that performs the same functions as a manager, except without any staff to supervise. According to Wisegeek, Night Managers and Auditors are primarily responsible for "[overseeing] the work of other night shift employees while also helping guests with checking in or any other needs they may have." However, the definition of "any other needs" can vary wildly between experiences.
Many responsibilities of Night Managers are administrative, as a position description from The Hay Adams hotel describes responsibilities ranging from "enforcing financial controls throughout the department," and "improve guest services and foster cross departmental communication." From the front lines, however, reports of the duties of working overnight at a hotel are far less glamorous.
The subreddit "Tales From The Front Desk" features hospitality workers' alleged first hand accounts of working shifts at hotels — often overnight, as that seems to be when the oddest things occur — and they often lack the mystique and luxury that Jonathan Pine is able to enjoy. Reddit user Rothriel remembers an evening as night auditor that involved duties such as "dealing with random dog that came inside" and "cleaning up the breakfast bar because it was a battlefield by the looks of it." While Jonathan Pine may be able to seduce women and help stop evil in its tracks, he likely also had to do some pretty interesting things as a Night Manager from time to time.
Being a real life night manager isn't all guns-and-explosions. It's a lot of cleaning, maintenance, and customer service — which, in its own way, is just as high-stakes as the kinds of conflicts that Jonathan Pine gets himself into. While the safety of the world isn't on the line, anyone who has ever worked in a service industry — especially hospitality — knows that a particularly angry customer can sometimes feel like the end of the world. The Night Manager skips over many of the more practical duties of the job, but a show about preparing the breakfast bar and wiping down the front desk likely wouldn't draw a large crowd. But, perhaps it is precisely Pine's experience in customer service that makes him such an ideal spy — a good spy needs to know how to interact with anyone they come across, after all, and a night manager needs to know how to deal with other people, above all else. If anything, it's a surprise that Jonathan Pine seems to be the only spy that came from working in a hotel.
Image: Mitch Jenkins/AMC, hiddlescheekbatch/tumblr