One thing many college students have gotten used to is juggling 12-18 credits, extra curriculars, a part time job, and even an internship. The service industry is a tricky business to get into, but so many college students love the fast cash, flexible hours, and are young and spritely enough to handle the running around. But there are pros and cons in the service industry, especially bartending.
Although bartending is usually portrayed as a glamorous and fun job, and many pay hundreds for mixology school, it does have its downsides. Here are the best and worst of bartending as a college student.
Of course, one of the most obvious pros to bartending is that you make your money through tips. Although you don't get paid a good wage, on busy nights in a high volume restaurant, tips can be pretty good. Plus who doesn't like cold hard cash?
Fail: Physically demanding, hard work
Okay so I'm not going to say that bartending is the hardest job ever or that its rocket science or anything-- but it can be pretty difficult. Not only are you up on your feet all day or night, but you are running around trying to remember the 5+ different things that have to get done RIGHT NOW. On busy nights, you can have 3-4 bartenders and 50-60 people at the bar, each one only concerned with what they want, and not keeping in mind that you're a human being with only two hands.
Win: Meeting New People
One of my favorite things about this job is the fact that when I'm not running around like a crazy person, I actually get to talk to people. I meet new people every single day, and then we also have our bar regulars that you get to catch up with once or twice a week. Plus, at the end of a long day of work, the bartender is like, everyone's favorite person.
Fail: People can be so rude.
On the flip side of the "meeting new people can be great" coin, people can be horrible. As a bartender at a restaurant, I have been vilified over things that aren't my fault at all, or simple mistakes I've made. I've had people scream in my face because their food wasn't out yet, or snap their fingers and wave me down while I'm clearly trying to help another guest. Seriously, people have made me cry when I first got into the service industry. You definitely have to have thick skin.
Win: It can be fast paced and fun.
As crazy as things get, I love my job. I love the stress and the frenzy of what I do, and it sure does make time fly by.
Fail: Sometimes, you have to get down and dirty.
Let me explain-- working in a bar in a restaurant, there is opportunity at every corner to get dirty. I've had kegs explode on me, taps spurt out beer all over me, sangria spill down my shirt, and food stain my clothes. Plus who do you think cleans the bar at the end of the night when everyone goes home? Definitely not the most glamorous part of my job.
Win: Making Instagram worthy cocktails
Nothing beats the feeling of making a drink that not only tastes good, but also LOOKS delectable, and watching a bar guest whip out their phone and take a picture for Snapchat.
Fail: Cuts and Lemon Juice
A paper cut on your hand may feel like no big deal, until you get lemon juice or vodka in it... And you just have to push through because-- those tips girl.
Win: Getting to try new things
Becoming a bartender not long after I turned 21, most of what I know about beer, liquor, and wine comes from my job. I've learned what red wines I like, how to make a damn good old fashioned, and the pros and cons of being a Cosmo girl.
Fail: Late nights and early mornings... And holidays
Luckily, working for corporate, the bar is only open until 10 on weekdays and 11 on weekends, so I'm usually out by 12:30 at the latest. The bad part is coming in at 9:30am to prep the bar for the day. And people who work at nightlife bars don't get out until after 2am.
Plus working New Year Day at 9:30 after ringing in the New Year... all night long... not the most fun.
Behind the bar, I get compliments all the time, from my hair and makeup, to my eyes and complexion-- from men and women alike. It can be a nice confidence boost, to be honest!
Fail: Being hit on.
The downside to compliments, is sometimes people take it too far. When I get hit on, unfortunately it usually isn't the really hot guy that just sat down at the bar. I've had men old enough to be my grandfather ask to take me home, and guys give me their number who didn't know when to leave well enough alone. Luckily, I have amazing coworkers who will pretend to be my boyfriend if need be, or walk me to my car if someone is just a little too sketch.
So there you have it. Even with its ups and downs, I couldn't imagine working in any other industry to pay my way through my undergrad adventures.