Working at a theme park has many perks, but there is no denying that the job has a downside as well. Many positions are repetitive and tiring, which can, over time, lead to boredom and frustration. It can be difficult to get a full-time job, and those who work part-time often find their hours cut significantly during slower seasons. In addition, theme parks are always closing attractions, restaurants and shops to turn them into something new. Cross-training, or learning how to work in another area of your department, is a great way to combat these drawbacks and keep yourself happy, engaged, and working steadily.
It is easiest to get cross-training at a location very similar to the one where you already work. For example, when both Kongfrontation and Jaws were open, many employees were cross-trained at both. In some cases, you can cross-train at a dissimilar location, such as a non-spieling ride operator cross-training at a spieling attraction, but changing departments altogether, such as from Merchandise to Food Service, is considered a transfer.
Universal Orlando encourages cross-training, but it ultimately falls to the individual team member to request and follow up on cross-training opportunities. Here are 6 steps to successful cross-training.
1. Be awesome at your current job
Universal wants to hold onto its best employees, and many higher-ups today worked their way up the chain from the front lines. Cross-training can be a great first step towards a career path at Universal, but the company has thousands of front-line employees to choose from. Make yourself stand out by being awesome at the job you already have. Go the extra mile for both guests and team members. Volunteer for shifts that no one else wants. Throw your full enthusiasm into everything you do, from spieling to cleaning gum off the walls. Show that you are dynamic, guest-focused, and a true team player, and you will gain the support of your managers, who have to sign off on your cross-training paperwork.
2. Keep your record clean
Part of being an awesome employee is being dependable. Keep your record clean by showing up on time for every shift. Follow all the rules, no matter how silly they might seem. Make sure you are ready to work the moment you clock in, with your shirt tucked in, your hair combed, and anything you need already gathered. Everyone gets sick or has an emergency now and then, so don’t panic if you legitimately need to call in, but make it a very rare occurrence rather than a weekly event.
3. Audition or interview
Not only do you need the support of your managers, but you also need approval from the management team at the location where you want to cross-train. Spiel attractions and entertainment positions typically require an audition, while other locations ask for an interview. Each location has its own process, so you need to contact management directly for instructions. This is typically more laid-back than the audition or interview you went through to get hired originally. For example, when I was working at Earthquake, my Jaws cross-training audition took place in the Earthquake office while I was on my break. Nonetheless, it is important to always treat the audition or interview professionally. If you are not in work attire, dress as you would for any job interview. Show up on time and behave respectfully.