Updated: Dec 10, 2019
Anyone who has ever worked in restaurants or bars — for either short or long term — can agree that every person, at some point in his or her life, should work in the service industry.
This derives from both waiting on impatient and rude customers and also from learning lessons about people and life, whether from busing tables or tending bar.
Being a bartender does not only require you to know drink recipes and make decent cocktails; you need to be a people person to be a good bartender. It’s your job to be both the listener and the entertainer.
Bartending is similar to being a host at your own party. You anticipate your guests’ expectations and make sure that every person is enjoying him or herself.
You become a jack-of-all-trades; you’re the comedian, the storyteller, the wise advice giver and the spirit-serving therapist.
Here are five lessons that bartending provides for life.
1. Efficiently gauging different types of people
Working in a bar opens the door to all walks of life; you never know whom you’ll meet throughout your day. Sometimes, people will want to tell you all about their lives, and other times, they would rather sit in silence with their drinks.
From being surrounded by such a diverse mix of clientele — friendly and unfriendly, patient and demanding — you become chameleon-like. You adjust your work method to meet your guests’ needs, while also maintaining your own principles.
2. Developing awesome social skills
You can’t be on your phone with your back to the bar between serving drinks and ringing up customers. People frequent bars to break from their regular schedules, and eventually, over time, they start coming in to see you.
As a bartender, you’ll talk to people of all ages and from many different backgrounds. This offers an excellent opportunity to learn new things and to gain insight to the world you may not have gotten on your own.
By gaining more knowledge about the many different aspects of life, you become more equipped to discuss these topics with other people in the future.
3. Learning when to speak up for yourself
There will always be people who are unjustly entitled. Some people like to think they are better than others, and as the old adage goes, misery loves company. Whether bartending, or in life, you will always encounter unpleasant people.
Bartending provides you with the daily opportunity to exercise your own self-respect and refuse to put up with behaviors that don’t suit you.
Becoming more accustomed to distasteful people only makes you more unaffected by them. It also offers you the gratifying pleasure of tactfully putting crass people in their place.
4. Keeping your cool
Just as it’s necessary to know when you need to stand up for yourself and your beliefs, it’s also useful to know how to maintain composure in uncomfortable situations.
Whether you’re being badgered with bawdy remarks or overwhelmed with cocktail orders, it’s always important to stay calm and in control, no matter how much pressure you feel.
This trait translates perfectly into all areas of life, especially in high-pressure situations.
5. Becoming a more interesting person
Interesting people tend to be knowledgeable, social, easy-going, good listeners. A bartender must possess or adopt these traits.
We become more interesting as we engage with life and learn from others. The bar is not only a place to work or a way to make a living; it’s an entranceway to maturation. Being a bartender very well may make you a more well-rounded, erudite and polished individual.