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Thoughts, observations, and introspections from an art student waiter/bartender in South Beach. Arcane humor ensues.
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:: Monday, November 05, 2007 ::

:: Server Stories: Promotion ::
I was at The Abby a few weekends ago and ran into and old buddy that used to work there. He took a job at the Biltmore Hotel in Coconut Grove managing one of their restaurants and he's doing well. He's been bartending for years and this is his first job where he's strictly managing, and he likes to joke how he "sold out" because he went from working a grungy bar like The Abby to a fine dining restaurant where's forced to wear both a suit AND a name tag.

We talk shop and he reflects on his reasons for leaving even though he had to take a large pay cut to manage. One of the reasons is he's now married to his beautiful wife, and he didn't want to keep coming home at six in the morning so he could spend time with family since she works a "normal" job with "normal" hours. There was also the earning potential if he stayed at it as well as the benefits that comes with working for a large company. He's been there almost ten months now working diligently and he's already been promoted from "Assistant Supervisor" to "Assistant General Manager." He gets a wine commission in addition to his base salary, as well as the perks that come with managing a high-end restaurant (read: free booze).

Like me, he's more of a dive bar and beer guy and we share stories (read: talk shit) about customers who march into our restaurants and demand the staff kiss their ass for no other reason than that they're rich. Since I’ve been working the day bar bartender twice a week, we talk more shop about drinks and drunks. After about thirty minutes he tells me this: "we've been looking for a guy to take my old job after I got promoted and if you cut your hair and shave your goatee, you have a standing offer to come work for me."

I thought it was the alcohol talking. For a longtime bartender who's full Irish, his tolerance is amazingly low (his nickname is "Plastic Paddy"). But I've seen him completely sloshed and his speech wasn't slurring so it seems he was serious. I told him the logistics; it was a 20 minute drive and I don't have a car, I didn't want to take a pay cut, and I've never managed anything in my life. He insisted. And I thought about it; wasn't my whole reason for moving to Miami was to go to art school so I'll advance my career in advertising?

Still, however briefly, I considered it. I've been working on and off on my book and plan to find my "real job" in the next few months. But while he was going on about the perks of the job, the thought of advancing my career in the service industry, in many aspects, seemed appealing. I have a few months of bartending under my belt and I enjoy working behind bars (umm, as in serving drinks; not in a prison or anything), making drinks, socializing and meeting people.

If I was to be completely honest the thought of being a career bartender is appealing; I'd make pretty good money, the hours are great (I’m a night owl and I'd never have to wake up before noon), it's probably a good way to meet women (it's how Paddy met his wife), and I'd enjoy other perks (read: free booze). Except I devoted two years of my life to art school where I discovered that I'm actually good at this Art Director thing. I may not be the greatest or anything but I'm a good creative thinker, I like deadlines, I can wake up at 7am on a regular basis if need be, and most important, I enjoy it.

It strengthened my resolve to find my advertising job even more. All I know is I can't put off my art career much longer. I'll never know how good I'll be at it unless I get that first job. My future may well be as a bartender, or maybe even something completely different, but I'll never know unless I give it a shot.

In the meantime, I turned to my buddy and replied, "I'm flattered but I gotta go give my art career a shot first but I'll tell you what; five years from now, if I decide I'm sick of that line of work, I'll look you up and come work for you. How's that sound?" He smiled and reached out his hand.


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:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 11:06 PM [+] :: | 0 comments

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