School Daze: John Coleman - Respect yourself and all else will fall into place

School Daze: John Coleman - Respect yourself and all else will fall into place
John Coleman, The Metropole Hotel, Cork. Picture: Miki Barlok


MY MOST vivid memory of primary school is the build-up to school tours: There was no motorway, so we would be up at the crack of dawn to take off and there would be a 2am return.

Secondary school was all about coming to terms with moving rooms for each class and being late for every class, due to running the wrong way.

The primary school I went to was within walking distance, but my secondary school was a bus-journey away and I missed the bus on the first day — probably due to talking — but I had to tell my parents I was at the wrong location.

What kind of child was I? I thought I was a cool child, but others may have a different opinion.

Anyone that knows me knows that practical subjects were not my strong point, but my strength was my theory subjects.

The lessons I learned during my school years that apply to my life today are to have respect for people and respect for yourself and everything else will fall into place. If I were to meet that kid today, I would say: Always stand up for what you believe is right and peer pressure is wrong, but will always pass.

I had a good circle of friends and still meet with a few. I was very friendly with a classmate and we made a pact at the end of school to meet up always, but, as this was pre-social media days, that never materialised.

The best advice I got back then was to follow your dreams, follow what you believe to be right, and what is for you won’t pass you by.

The teacher that influenced me the most was my Irish teacher, as he gave the time to talk to you like an individual and give you values for life. As for school discos, I wasn’t permitted to go, but I was happy with this decision from my parents, as I quite shy at the time.

I didn’t always know that I would end up working in hospitality, but customer service would have always been my background and it was always on my bucket list.

John Coleman, The Metropole Hotel, Cork. Picture: Miki Barlok
John Coleman, The Metropole Hotel, Cork. Picture: Miki Barlok

What do I love about it? I love that every day ends up being different to what you planned and always meeting new and interesting people, from all walks of life. Every day is an opportunity to be positive.

As the head concierge at The Metropole, I was totally blown away by the recent award presented to me for the recognition for the work that I do every day, and delighted for the hotel to also pick up an award.

I feel I am very lucky to be in the position I am in, due to the changing social culture around hotels, but I am so glad that The Metropole Hotel restored the classic concierge that would have existed in most hotels not that long ago.

The most exciting part of my job is the unknown, as it is what makes it interesting. The team at The Metropole is one big family.

From the top down, everybody helps out. Cork is a very unique, compact, and accessible city. It’s no surprise we were voted the friendliest city; our tourist attractions are second to none.

What would 13-year-old John say to me today? I would hope that he would be proud and understanding that following your dreams works. As for these strange times, this will pass, and as humans, we will always adapt and the wheel always turns.

I’ve learned from life experiences to make every day count and take a positive from each day, and even in your darkest day, there will be light at the end of the tunnel.

I am someone who took a personal journey to follow my dreams and am delighted to be where I am, doing what I am doing today. I take my job and my personal experience with me throughout every day.

  • John Coleman is the head concierge of The Metropole Hotel in Cork City and helps guests plan their visit. His objective is to make each guest’s stay as enjoyable as possible. He was named ‘concierge of the year’ for Munster and Ireland at the Irish Hotel Awards 2020. The Metropole Hotel was awarded the ‘Great Place to Stay Quality Award’. 

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