Do you feel like you should be doing more than just bartending? A friend asked me this as research for an article she was writing. Its an interesting question. One that, as I told her, I could speak for days on given the chance. The short answer is no, there’s no where else I’d rather be. But its not as simple as that, there’s also so much more I want to do with it.
While I was at uni, before I was working in a bar full time, I didn’t understand why real adults would choose this as a career not just a gap year or paying your way while you pursue something else. Obviously I don’t think that way now but it’s definitely a mind set I used to have. When I started in the industry it felt like a quick fix, something you do for a bit just to earn some money but not sustainable as a long term plan. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Now I’ve been working in this industry for over 7 years and it is my long term plan.
I do go through cycles of feeling like I should be doing more especially anytime I’ve taken a step back from management. Although there’s always a reason why I’ve made the decision to step backwards, like when I went from a bar manager position in a gastro pub at age 20 to a supervisor at a high end hotel restaurant. The point of that was serving at a higher level than in the gastro pub and learning to do it properly rather than sort of learning things as I had to. For example I learnt to line clean because the only manager who knew how went on maternity leave and I learnt to run a training session when there was a new cocktail menu coming out and no one else had enough of an interest in bar to train it so I left doing that for structure and training on how to be a manager. In the end I didn’t receive the development I was seeking, instead I was working long hours and burning myself out.
This time around I’ve chosen to stick with an unintentional return to bartending rather than managing because I spent last year working on restoring my mental health and now this year I’m working at finishing my degree. So although I often feel like I’ve taken a step backwards and I should be doing more I can also rationalise it with there’s an alterior motive and I’m doing it with a purpose in mind.
Besides I bloody love just turning up to a shift throwing some drinks around then going home again.