A common question that I get as a bartender is, “So when are you going to get a real job?” Here is my answer to all of you:
I work up to 30 hours a week, and do not have to work more than 3 days a week. Yes, I get to have fun at work; however, it is not a constant party!
While working I must listen to several drinks being ordered at a time, remember what goes in the drinks, count the shots as I pour, add the prices in my head, and count the change once I make a transaction. Odds are, 6 other people are calling my name, I have 3 other orders to remember that I’ve already taken, and the music is blaring louder than my thoughts. I also have the one creepy guy who wants to talk to me for an hour about his five children, ex-wife, and dog that urinates in his bedroom, whom I have to continuously smile at and nod my head in acknowledgment that I am half-way listening.
Bartenders usually work in tight space. On slower nights, a bartender may work the whole bar or one side of it, but on a busy night, he or she is generally confined to working in one well space. At most, this may be 4 feet long.
The bartender is constantly grabbing bottles and putting them down. This works the arms! He or she is also constantly walking around in a circle to grab, pour from, and put down the bottles on the back shelf. The beer is generally in a cooler, which is down low. This requires repetitive bending of the knees. This is the reason I will need a knee replacement before I’m 40!
Though it is nice to think that a bartender gets to sleep in all week, that is not the case in most situations. Most other businesses are not open at night, so your bartender still has to wake up at the crack of dawn (1 PM) on Monday morning to go deposit all those ones and quarters you paid him or her last night. I promise you, every girl bartender has told her banker at least five times, “I swear I am not a stripper.”
Also, many bartenders have day jobs or go to school. Even though they may have worked until 4 in the morning, they are up by 7 to prepare themselves for that REAL JOB everybody is talking about.
The most important part, obviously. It’s why we all do it. The money is not consistent; this is true. It is, however, cash money and enough to pay the bills. The money bartenders make is different in every bar, in every city, of every state. I cannot speak for anybody but myself when it comes to this aspect of the job. I can say this though: If the money was not worth it, I promise you, your bartender would not be dealing with your drunk ass!