Every now and then you come across an article that makes you think, "I should've written that myself!" and I felt especially so when I read a link sent to me by one of our head-instructors. he found an article by Emily Nodine, an engineer and fitness fanatic who wrote "6 career skills I learned working as a bartender" and it was spot on. Basically, while bartending herself through college, she improved on all that stuff they don't teach you at school. Now I have always felt that working as a bartender, will allow you to develop skills that come in handy in countless other careers. So without further ado: here's Emily!
"I have a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. After I finished my Master’s degree, I had a blatant lack of interest in trying to find a job in my field and a strong desire to "go nowhere in life," so I spent three years working in a bar. When this phase of my life ended I eventually convinced someone to hire me as an engineer despite the fact that I had what most professionals would consider to be a gaping hole on my resume. Strangely I’ve managed to make something of my life that my alumni association would not be ashamed of. In hindsight, I’ve realized that social skills and practical thinking trump technical skills in most corporate environments and that my time spent working in a bar has had a much larger impact on my career success than my anything I learned in grad school.
Here are some essential career skills that I learned in a bar:"
1. Public speaking. "In the bar I would routinely have to stand on the stage in front of 200 obnoxious drunk people to introduce the band, raffle off dumb prizes, or to announce the proud winner of the wet t-shirt contest. Considering that most of my public speaking experience in the bar was done wearing little more than underwear, speaking in front of 200 people at a conference when I am fully clothed feels like a piece of cake."
2. Fail. And then keep going. "I once dropped a tray of 8 beers directly onto a baby. I was both mortified and afraid of being sued. I also had 8 other tables that wanted beer, so I had no choice but to apologize and then keep going about my business like nothing had happened (and buy the baby’s parents dinner). The longer you focus on a failure before moving on, the more it will put you in the weeds."
3. Everybody is a nobody.
"The professional world has a hierarchy, but take everyone off the corporate ladder and put them in the bar and they are all just drunk dudes. When you take someone out of the corner office and take off the shiny suit, they instantly lose the intimidation factor. In the professional world, I no longer see status, and when you remove an obstacle from its pedestal, it is much easier to work with."
4. Work outside your comfort zone.
"I vividly recall nights when no matter how quickly we worked it felt like we made no dent on the angry mob of people who wanted drinks. In the moment, I never felt we would be able to satisfy the demand with the resources we had. But we did. Every time. Eventually I learned to just focus on the present, and work as quickly and as hard as possible until it was over. You will always make it through a seemingly impossible task if you focus on one thing at a time and do the absolute best that you can."
5. No job is too small. "The bar staff is a team. There is a common goal that we all had to work towards together. I was the head bartender in my bar, but if we ran out of limes when the bar back was trying to get rid of the guy who was over served because the bouncer was already upstairs breaking up a catfight, it became my job to go in the back and cut limes. In the heat of the moment, job titles do not exist and you must step up to the plate to do whatever is needed to make sure your team succeeds."
6. Never show stress. "When working in a bar it is common that you are in a complete internal panic of how overtasked you are. Customers have no interest in knowing how busy or stressed you are and only want to feel that they are being well taken care of and that everything is under control. Bosses and clients are the same way. The more stressed you seem, the less capable you appear. Act and speak calmly thorough the duration of your internal panic attack."
So there you have it; 6 career skills learned from working as a bartender. Now apart from speaking publicly in little more than my underwear, all of that stuff is very recognizable to anyone who worked as a bartender. These skills will grow on you quickly, and they will come in handy for the rest of your life. If you'd like to become a bartender as well, do check out our courses!