I’m 22, have a Bachelor’s degree, working towards my Masters, and I feel tremendous guilt about handing in my notice for my job.
You may think I am a social worker worried about the safety of children, or a conservationist fretting about the seasons’ turtle hatchings, or even an NHS hero. Unfortunately, you would be incorrect.
I am a part-time bartender making just over minimum wage, yet I’m overworked and burnt out.
You may also think, ‘Hey I’ve been to a bar before, the bartenders there had great fun, all they did was make cocktails and maybe wash a glass once in a while.’
You would once again be wrong.
Bartending is hard. Not only do you have to make the drinks (could have orders with six different cocktails or one tap water), but these all need to be a high standard and done extremely fast. I agree that you should not serve a drink you wouldn’t want to receive, so high standards are a given but customers recently are so oblivious to anyone in a bar but them. The number of times that I’ve had customers be angry that their drink wasn’t served immediately is unbelievable. Entitlement is the most difficult part of my job, as I want to be human and understand they may have had a hard day, but sadly they want to be repugnant and ruin mine.
But the reason I feel guilty is due to the labour shortage. Since post-Covid life has commenced, and the roaring 20s have begun, it seems no one wants to pull a pint or stand for nine hours listening to Bob and Karen complain about their *correctly-cooked* steak. I get it, but for the past few months, I haven’t had a choice. The government’s Postgraduate loan system doesn’t leave much after rent, so for anything other than surviving, I need a job.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a job since I was 16, six years in hospitality, two seasons at a Summer camp in Utah, and working in a warehouse during Covid, all while either at university or college, alongside internships and you know, enjoying life. I’m no stranger to having a job and prioritising my time, which is why handing in my notice made me feel like such a failure. If it was any other job I know I could handle the pressure.
I feel bad for my friends for whom I know that being one team member down will be rough. I feel bad as they still haven’t rehired after the last team member that left two months ago. I feel bad as I picked up their slack and was working three times as hard because someone had to do it. But I can’t do it, and honestly, I shouldn’t have to.
When I sat down with my manager and told them I was unhappy they said “It’ll be exactly the same everywhere else” and, you know what, they’re probably right.
So next time you’re in a bar and service may be a *little* slow, think how many staff are actually on shift right now, are they really being paid less than a cocktail an hour, and most of all, be nice. We need it.