Yes I work in hospitality and no it's not just until I find a "real job"
Working in hospitality, seriously.
Words by Jess Temby. Header photo by Dean Smith.
I’m one of those people. You know, the ones who work at night and sleep during the day? The ones who you wonder if they’ll get a “real” job? Yep, that’s me.
I’m not a uni student, I’m not in between jobs and I’m not trying to figure out what career I’ll end up having. I have chosen hospitality and I’m damn happy about it. I get to work at a venue that promotes personality and individuality. I go to work and have to taste wine and beer and all kinds of delicious dishes. I’m encouraged to smile, talk with people and care about what I’m doing and where I work. So yeah, it’s pretty cool.
Since choosing to return to hospitality this year after a 12 month hiatus, I’ve heard it all: 'Why would you want to work late nights?' 'But how will that help you get a real job?' 'When will you get a real job?' 'Why are you throwing away all your opportunities?' 'When will you be serious about choosing a career?' 'It’s bad for your health (thanks Mum).'
But here's the thing. Hospitality is a real industry and you can make a career out of it if you want to! You don’t just have to be a waitperson on the side (although that’s cool too). You could be a Venue Manager, Venue Owner, Sommelier, Chef, Barperson, Barista, Server or other. Not your jam?
Well these venues are businesses, right? So businesses these days need people in marketing, PR, HR and Admin, too. Endless possibilities! And did I mention you get to drink beer on the reg?
Don’t get me wrong; there are things that blow about working in hospo, such as the affect it can have on your health. You’re working while everyone else is indulging at mealtime, so you have to eat at weird hours. This becomes the norm and can fuck with your downtime. Then there’s the weird sleeping patterns. I mean, I know us spring chickens can afford to have the odd all-nighter, but constant 5pm starts and 2am bedtimes are not conducive to a productive day. What about those poor souls that have to be asleep by 8pm because they have to open the café at 530am? Balls.
Your relationships can suffer, too. You constantly have to say “no” to invites for Friday and Saturday night activities, so eventually you just stop being invited. The lads then try to do you a solid by planning a cute weekend brekky catch-up, but do you really think that’s on the priority list after working an all-nighter? No thanks.
God forbid if you have a partner who isn’t understanding of you staying back for staffies, or if you have a family do on the weekend where you have to convince your loved ones that you’re actually happy in your job and that it’s your own choice to be there.
People are misinformed when they say working in hospo makes you super social.
Yes, we go out after work and have drinks all the time. However, it is always with the same people and at fucked hours. I’m talking casual after work drinks at 2am and breakfast at 2pm. “But you’re always going out to da clurbs!?” Well, mate, you try to find a cool bar open for a glass of wine after 2am! Da clurbs are the only places that’ll take us.
Don’t get me wrong: it’s pretty rad when you head to bars and people immediately like talking to you because you work at a venue they like or know the same people as they. It’s cool to chat about products, venues and brands with people who are genuinely as interested in them as you are. Plus, these badasses understand the other shit you’re dealing with (all the aforementioned thus far), and get time off during the week to do activities, just like you.
You know what makes hospo the best, though? People: those you work with and those you wait on. I’m constantly reminded how interesting each person can be by studying human nuances and body language, while being able to educate and assist people with choices they make. I get to share things I love with others every day, while having to be tolerant, understanding and open-minded. I feel like this makes me a well-rounded person and would say the same about my hospo compadres.
So the next time you think it’s okay to belittle a hospo worker, please remember: a lot of us have chosen to be exactly where we are. No matter how or why we’re there, we deserve your respect and understanding. I’m not less of a person because of the career I have chosen and neither are you.
And don’t be rude or unfairly demanding, because I might spit in your drink...