So let’s talk about dreams. Let’s talk about sticking to your guns through thick and through thin to get what you want. Ya so maybe I have silly dreams but I just like what I like. I think accomplishing little dreams can help me have more little dreams that pop up after each successive accomplishment. I don’t need to dream up the next nightclub empire because I want to take steps to get there.
So what was my first step? Well if you have been reading my blog, especially my Dream Path category you know a little about my current situation, and to reward my list of growing readers I will add yet another chapter to this growing story. The fun part is, you know about as much about where this story is going as I do, and, to me, that’s kinda fucking exciting!
So for the past 4 nights (days really but…) I have been a fucking Zombie. I started shifting my sleep, and for a Sleep Apneatic (I don’t know if that’s the right name for what I am but… It is now 😉 ) that is like a fucking horror show. I have literally been in zombie mode for 4 days straight probably. At least it feels like it. I started shifting my sleep to allow myself to stay up until 3 am. Why on earth would someone purposely do that kind of nonsense?
Let’s hint at it (because I believe in long elaboration as you may know if you are a reg here).
My search for the Holy Bartending Position:
So I have been sending out resume after resume, going to interview after interview. Open calls really, and open calls can be something I usually do pretty well at. For all intents and purposes, here in Chicago, I was finding things quite interesting. I would go to some OCs and maybe the manager would be completely disinterested, “Thanks… Is this your contact info… ? ok great. We’re calling people in the next few days.” That’s basically a long winded and polite way of saying, “No.” But when you do open calls that’s pretty common. Some of the cooler Managers would at least admit, “We’re looking for girls.” But no one wants to get sued, and most managers aren’t really as cool as you think (and therefor can’t tell that I have no interest in suing anyone). Or maybe they weren’t looking for girls but are looking for someone they think can double as a promoter. Or maybe they want…. Well who the hell knows.
As far as resumes go, I actually updated my resume with this kickass style that I stole from Jefferey Morgenthaler’s blog about How to write a bartending resume. I actually had a 3 page, well written resume, and yet still…. Nothing. I would get emails for a couple places saying something like, “Thanks for your interest but we decided to pursue other applicants.” and being the smart ass I am I would reply to those emails asking, “Well that was a dumb decision.” or maybe asking them how they could come to that decision without actually interviewing me, since I was by far the best choice for the position.
But in my case I kept plugging away. Eventually I started getting a common theme built up which was going to interviews and hearing, “You know what? You have a GREAT personality! We really like you! We’ll be in touch!!” and then….
… And then I’d follow up and either get no response or, “Oh.. Ya.. Well we already filled the position but we’ll put you on file for…..” Yuck. There was one place where the ad said they were doing open inteviews, and I went in with my resume. When I got there, the manager handed me an application that I filled out. There was NO ONE else there applying for the position when I was there. I took my app to the manager who shifted nervously, thanked me and said he would be in touch. I put him under pressure. “Oh I thought there were going to be open interviews today.”
Then the OWNER (or the guy who described himself with the last name as the restaurant) cut into the conversation and we went back and forth with strained politeness about how they were doing their interview process. They also wanted me to fill out a bunch of other forms that would have only made sense for me to fill out IF I was actually hired. So I left. The valet dude asked me, “how did it go?”. I had chatted him up a little on the way in. I was in a good mood. I don’t know if it was him asking me that sparked it or not but I marched back in to that restaurant and asked for my resume back. 🙂 I said, “You know, I got kind of a weird vibe from you guys and maybe you felt the same way. But I would actually like my resume back.” I felt really good about it too. The owner guy tried to pretend he didn’t know what I was talking about, which made me even more sure it would have been a shitty place for me to work at anyway.
In my mind, I am as much interviewing them as they are me. No no, really. I get that times are tough and I am broke as fuck, but why make it worse on myself and work for a place where I will hate it and end up quitting anyway. It happened twice with bartending when I first moved to Chicago and that’s what prompted me to do this silly leasing stuff in the first place.
But then like I said, the last few places I interviewed at were giving me big Thumbs Up, they just weren’t hiring me.
Until one day…
My friend called me to tell me he heard about a place that was hiring. To be honest I was getting a little impatient but little things kept happening to hint, “Stay on your path dude!” I decided to check it out and got all duded up and drove out to check it out. This was not a joke at all, there were a ton of people. There was a line out the door when I arrived and a line out the door behind me when I left. There were some hot lookin people all snazzied up. There were a lot of important people, handshakes and sideline discussions happening, and most of all there was not 1 manager to interview everyone. On the contrary, there was a panel of like 6 people. They were herding people up to the panel, the person would give his speal , they would then write that person’s name on a little platic writing slate that he or she would hold up for a mug-shot.
This place smelled of Industry all over. That’s good. That’s exactly what a bartender wants. A bartender wants to work in a good industry joint because they are likely to have tons of promotion and tons of people and tons of business and tons of connections with other Industry people. That, to me, spells ‘my kind of place.’ These are usually the types of places that are very tough to get into once they do their hiring and thin out the staff to the “keepers”. No one wants to go anywhere and the only people that get hired know someone. Apparently they wanted to mix it up and get in some fresh faces.
So I immediately started chatting up the first person I saw. The guy with the applications. I made some small talk. I didn’t want to be a stiff and stand in line like I was being led off to my death. I wanted to show my social side. So as the line moved forward I chatted up the guy behind me, who had just moved to the city and also wanted to be a bartender. I watched the guys and gals go up before me, in this cold, construction site of an interview spot (complete with kerosene heaters – 1 jet blower and 1 regular stand alone parked next to the management “panel”), and realized that many of them were making the same mistake. They were giving a “sell myself” speech.” The droll and bored look on the management team’s faces kind of gave it away. They were filtering. They were looking for something but they sure as hell weren’t going to give anyone any helpful hints as to what it was. My guess? Personality. Snazz. Pazzaz. Charm.
So I started thinking about different ways to approach the situation so that I wouldn’t become one of the faceless applicants walking the line of Doom. I had a few different ideas of what to do and say, but it sort of popped into my head spontaneously once I got up to the front of the line. I was cold. My turn. I walked up towards the panel and extended my hand, one of the managers nearest me extended his to intercept me for the handshake. I bypassed him and …
… help my hand out in front of the kerosene heater next to him. “Man, it’s cold in here. I don’t wanna give you guys the cold hand,” I said smiling. A couple guys laughed. Go time. I shook all their hands and started talking. One of the managers was smiling the whole time. A couple other times I said some things that brought smiles to their faces or made someone laugh. By the end of it, the main guy (or who I assumed was the main guy) said, “Thanks for coming. You have a great personality.” He was the guy who was smiling the whole time.
I don’t want to bore you with all the little details but I will give you a little email love:
Me: Hi. I Was actually told at the interview the other day that I should
follow up by email. Regardless of that I still wanted to thank you for
the opportunity to interview with all of you the other day for a
bartending position. Also thanks on the compliments of telling me I
had an excellent personality. Even though I already know that It’s
still good to hear people tell me. 😉 Anyway I hope you guys decide to
go with me as one of your bartenders. I feel confident you will be
very happy with your decision. Thanks! Ronnie
Manager: Hi Ronnie,
You met me, Jonnie and Phil (these names are false – this is an anonymous blog afterall). We all think you can be a great bartender for Venue and we shared this thought with our other 2 partners. We have 1 more open call to do this Monday, from 3 to 7pm. We’re not doing formal 2nd interviews, but if you can, it wouldn’t hurt if you stopped in towards the end and met our other 2 partners. Either way, we’ll contact you after this process. We’re hoping to hire our staff shortly after Thanksgiving.
I attached your mug for your scrapbook.
Me: Gotcha! So I suppose I’ll swing by this monday around 7 and say hello. . Thanks
And I did. The funny part of it was, no one except the guy who emailed me expected me, so I stood there shouldering through the haze of awkwardness with a huge attitude of aloofness. All around me were investors, partners, managers and other key staff. They all seemed very disinterested in my presence, and the guy who invited me apologized for the confusion. Another manager I talked to, though I was cool and enthusiastic told me, “Ya. I think he must have sent you that email by mistake.” I felt like I was in a room of wolves who, if they smelled any weakness, would have devoured me. Ok, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but in situations like this if I caved to the weirdness of being in a place with a bunch of the investors and partners and managers, etc, it may have cut my throat for any chance I had of getting hired. So I played it cool and left.
Inside, after I left, I could feel my hopes dry up. “Fuck! What bad luck. I thought this was the place.” And I started getting the feeling inside that I was going to have to resort to leasing or live broke for more months. This has been really cutting into my life and things definitely needed to change as far as employment goes. I started following up with a real estate company that called me, offering me a position.
Then one morning in the shower I checked my phone. (Yes, I check my phone in the shower. I talk in the shower, text in the shower, read YOUR blog in the shower from time to time… The key is, don’t let the phone get water on it. I just knocked on the wooden bar at the Starbucks I am writing this at.):
Manager: Hi Ronnie,
Hope you had a good Thanksgiving. I know you came by a 2nd time already, but turns out we are having official 2nd/final interviews. Are you available to come in this Friday or Saturday between 5-6 or 6-7?
Pls let me know, thanks.
Me: Absolutely. Let me know what time works and I’ll be there.
Manager: Let’s do Friday, 6-7. Let me know if that works for you. Thanks.
Sent from my iPhone
Me: Works for me. I’ll swoop in about 6. Hopefully I don’t get a bunch of
strange and uncomfortable looks again. . lol. JK. I look forward to
seeing you all. 🙂
Manager: Haha sounds good.Sent from my iPhone
The second interview was really not that spectacular. Still the same smiles, but also a lot of blank stares. They were drilling me. They wanted to make sure. This one was sit down and only 4 managers this time, and one of them was the guy who was at the door (whom I chatted up) the first time around. He was also the same guy who gave me the, “Ya. I think he must have sent you that email by mistake.” the second time around. Of course he was the guy giving me the hardest chops. He also seemed to supersede rank from the guy who was the main dude during the initial interview. He both opened and closed the interview. I concluded this interview with a feeling of, “meh…”
And the suspense of it all was killing me so that night:
Me: So lay it on me. 😉 How’d it go? Good, bad? Be blunt too. I Like to
know my good and my bad points in an interview like that. Thanks
Manager: As expected, everyone thought you were great. We have another round of final interviews tomorrow, then we’ll get in contact with you next week.
So I started getting the feeling. I started thinking to myself that I may need to be able to stay up a little later than usual. I felt like it was on. And yesterday I got a call. It was a gal from this bar telling me they thought I would make a great bartender but still needed a little more time till they open. They offered me the position and she asked me availability for the Holiday season. Of course I told them, I want to work, which is true. If I’m gonna do new years I LOVE doing it behind a bar. I have done it at least 2 times in the last 3 or 4 years and it’s always a trip. In Key West there was a huge Pool Party / Karaoke contest and literally I don’t remember 1 song nor could I tell you who won, it was so busy. But it’s like playing tetris or something. I keep laying down drinks and people keep coming up for more. The tips keep coming too. 😉
It’s not 100% until I’m standing behind that bar slinging drinks but for now the word is…. I’m in!
- A Tale of Two Choices (librachronicles.wordpress.com)
- How to Become a Bartender (lenestrada.com)
- How Much Does A Bartender Make? (celebritynetworth.com)
How does one brush up on their bartending skills after taking a year and a half off? Ya sure, some of the drinks stick, and some don’t. I sure as hell don’t want to study books. Youtube is good.
But then sometimes watching can blur in the mind and one forgets. Another way is Drunken Masters: