I work full time for a nonprofit and for some unknown reason, I make less money than the local toll booth attendant who spends her entire night tweeting the states of different license plates she sees go through her golden gate of $1.25 doom. I realized I desperately needed a second job to put microwavable food on the table for me and kale in the fake-rock bowl for my turtle, so I rummaged through Craigslist and took the first >>>>looking 4 a *::FUN::* job??!?!?<<<< ad I could find. Fortunately, the ad wasn’t a scam or a case of the Craigslist serial killer, but an ad that led me to working at the best second job I’ll always hate. So today, instead of being productive at my real job, I concocted a life-changing list of pros and cons for working at a restaurant or bar in addition to your regular 9 to 5 job.
The tipping system sucks.
Busted your ass all day to find out the group of princesses who screamed at you for bringing Diet Pepsi when they specifically asked for Diet Coke left you no tip? Looks like you’ll just have to cover up your bitch face with a fake smile and move on to the next table. There is nothing you can do about it since they are not legally inclined to pay you–but if those skinny bitches ever come back, you’ll probably lose your job over the “Mean Girls” animal kingdom scene you’ll start.
Customers will treat you like shit.
People will often confuse you for a slave and respond to your “Hey how’s it going?” with, “Rum and Coke, no lime.” To them, you are nothing more than a lowlife waitress who didn’t go to college because your high school boyfriend, who you probably told your mother was “different,” knocked you up in back of his Civic. You get mocked by people the moment you walk away from their table for your accent, your ridiculous outfit the restaurant or bar makes you wear, and your clear lack of maturity since you giggled through the daily special of “turkey balls over penne pasta.”
The hours are horrible.
Closing time for bars generally ranges from around 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. To the people who do this full time, it’s whatever. They have a flip-flopped sleep schedule and are ready to go to the industry after-hours bar once they finish cleaning up. But for people like myself who have to be in an office looking presentable and focused at 7:30 a.m., these hours suck. You are forced to choose between smelling like stale liquor and getting an extra 20 minutes of sleep or looking like a well-groomed zombie. Whatever you choose, HR hates you the same.
Spending your free time working sucks.
If you work at a bar and want to make good money, say goodbye to your Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Get used to saying things like, “Damn, I wish I could, but I have to sling drinks to local drunks all night” or, “That sounds like so much fun but I already made plans to count soggy dollar bills tonight instead.”
The tipping system rocks.
For the most part, the good tables make up for the shitty tables. I once was tipped more than $1,000 for bringing out three bottles of Goose (with sparklers, of course) to a table of rich 30-year-olds who had nothing better to blow their money on. Granted, they had downed all three bottles in less than a half hour and probably thought they were tipping me for escort services. Nonetheless, I walked away that night with a belly full of free, top shelf vodka and a grand in cash for popping the top off a few bottles. Also, tons of bars and restaurants pay employees under the table. If you hate your hard earned money going toward public schools, hospitals, roads, or what have you, then this is the job for you. Tax free moolah, baby.
Customers are a great way to meet people and network.
You never know who’s going to walk through your doors, and that can make the job sort of exciting. Granted, a handful of them may be bitchier than your mother during seasonal changes amongst her menopausal days, but a few diamonds in the rough are bound to shine. I’ve gotten tons of contacts for potential partnerships by not-so-casually bringing up my full time job. Bonus: You’ll also rack in the phone numbers because something about a receipt pulls at a guy’s confidence strings. Next to it will most definitely be a tip that suggests he has a stable job and was not raised by assholes.
Hours are flexible.
Most places are open into the wee hours of the night, so shifts will be available that fit around your work schedule. Also, unlike your full time job, you can always call a sub. I usually start the sub-calling business roughly 20 minutes before my shift, when I realize I’m still too hungover to work another six hours, and I’ve never had a problem. It’s what I like to call “responsibility.”
Work is fun.
Restaurant coworkers aren’t just regular coworkers. They’ll turn into the people you go out with, they’ll have couches for you to crash on, and they’ll drive you home after you’ve had too many shots on the house. Intoxicating your friends while shoving $5 bills in your bra or pants will become the norm of your weekend nights, and you’ll question why you ever used to pay to go out for the same thing. When you do decide to go out on a night you usually work, chances are you’ll know the bartenders at every place you end up because the service industry is one big, incestuous family, full of “I got you” nods and free handouts.