By Martin Yate
The holidays are upon us and many hard-working people take on seasonal party and banquet to earn needed holiday cash. Have you ever considered tending bar or another food and beverage job? What do you have to gain besides the extra income?
There is honor in all work so don’t let the ill-informed judgments of others diminish your self-respect. By far the toughest job I ever had was tending bar, and everything I learned tending bar has paid off in every job I’ve held since:
You gain exposure to a wide range of skills
You gain exposure to a wide range of skills that are used in many professional jobs.
You are in Sales and constantly fielding an enormous range of product requests that you then have to manufacture and deliver to your customers, so you also work in Quality Control as well as Production.
The Public Relations aspect of the job means you are a consistent ambassador of goodwill, to an ever-changing landscape of personalities and attitudes, some of them mindlessly belligerent.
You work in Customer Service, solving problems and misconceptions and with responsibility for up-selling your customer base; while simultaneously you are also in Plant and Equipment Maintenance as you maintain a clean workplace and happy social environment for everyone of your guests.
Accounts Receivable and reconciliation are daily responsibilities that sometimes have to be executed in scenes that can only be described as Armageddon, and even then the day isn’t done until you put on your Supply Chain hat and order stock for the next shift.
You become a more knowledgeable team player
This wide variety of work you do as a bartender gives you a working frame of reference for working in any of these departments or working with people who work these departments. The respect for other people’s work that you develop as a bartender, will also help you make the jobs you land in subsequent professions more secure because you will be a more knowledgeable, respectful and supportive of the work of others. This makes you a better team player and wins you allies in many other departments.
You develop invaluable transferable skills. As a bartender you develop the transferable skills that are common to successful people in all professions; and these are skills you can take with you from one job to another and from one profession to the next.
There are seven commonly acknowledged transferable skills and a bartender develops all of them: the work demands excellent listening and verbal skills, good social graces and professional presence. Problem solving and conflict resolution skills are a given with a job that also demands superior time management, creativity, teamwork and leadership skills.
Anyone who says tending bar or serving isn’t much of a job should try to survive a week in the profession. The only caveat, if you are employed and are planning to do this as a second job, be sure there is no conflict of interest with your current employment contract.