As I write this, I’m sitting at work on a break. My shift is what I sometimes refer to as the ‘Lone Ranger’ shift because I started at 10 AM and will likely finish around 10 PM. You just have to think about the theme tune for this classic television series to get this?
This is Sunday and most of my 6 shifts this week have been similar. One thing about being in the kitchen instead of bar is that I don’t have to work till the early hours in the morning. Suffice it to say that each part of the operation comes with its own stress factors. One of the craziest (and painful) shifts I can remember doing in my time has been open bar/close kitchen/back on the bar till close. I’ve only done this once I think, and remember promising myself not to ever repeat the experience.
I’m far from unique in this respect and a great many people within this industry do similar and more.
The reasons for this would require a separate blog post topic and I may venture there at another time. Briefly, though, this industry has a high turnover of those for whom it isn’t a career. They will leave education and move into a role in line with their attained qualifications, or perhaps it’s a part-time second job. It sometimes tends to be those who do it full time as a career who pick up the slack when needed. Their stake in the business long term tends to be greater while students, for example, tend to already be holding down full-time study hours.
Working unsocial hours is just a part of the job that you get used to. There’s a slight irony in the term unsocial, in that working hours which are unsocial for me, are very social for my guests. There’s also a very social aspect to keeping these kinds of hours, particularly in the bar trade. When the shift ends and it’s time for those who just spent all day serving guests, get to have their social time together, the late clubs and casinos fill with just finished bar staff out to unwind.
That said, while I started this post during my break at work, I’m now finishing it at home after the day is over. Not all long shifts end with a beer.