Beware of Bartender Burnout

Congrats! You finally got the job you always wanted behind the bar.  The bar manager gave you a shot and everything is going great.  Your learning at a rapid pace and the customers and fellow staff think your great.  The manager gave you Tuesday and Thursday nights and your making some decent cash. After 3 weeks the bar manager approaches you and asks if you can do the Tuesday day shift cause the girl who is doing it, doesn’t want it anymore.  You are thankful that you have a job behind the bar and are glad to help the manager out.  Your now working a Tuesday double (day and night) and Thursday night.  Three weeks later the guy who works Friday and Saturday gets fired for stealing.  The manager then asks you if you want them.  These are the prime nights and you gladly say yes.  After the first week you are making some SERIOUS cash.  Everything is great.  Well guess what.  It’s not.  You’re on your way to becoming burnt out.

Burnout is one of the most common problems that bartenders experience.  Being a new bartender who has been dying for that first job, it is very easy to get sucked into the burnout cycle.  Before we discuss how to avoid burnout, lets go over some of the signs and symptoms of burnout.

1)   You make $450 bucks that night and your pissed you didn’t make $600.
2)   A customer asks you for a glass of water and it pisses you off.
3)   Someone asks you for a bud light, tips you a dollar and you want to smash a bottle over their head.
4)   You complain to management about EVERYTHING!!
5)   You take frequent breaks behind the bar and often disappear for long periods of time.
6)   You always come in late and always want to leave early.
7)   Someone asks you for a recommendation and you tell them to go fuck themselves.
8)   Frequently need off and ask others to cover your shifts.

I could go on with this list but the point is this; burnout leads to 2 things

1)   The people you work with hating you
2)   You getting fired.

It is important that you take the necessary steps to avoid getting burnt out behind the bar.

Don’t be afraid to tell your manager/owner no.

I know its hard to say no the person who may have given you the job but its essential if you want your bartending career to last and be enjoyable.  Managers need to fill undesirable shifts and its much easier to ask a current employee than to hire a new one.   In my experience, most managers/owners pay very little attention to burnout (until they want to fire you).  They simply want their shifts filled asap.  If you say yes every time he asks you to take a shift, your on way to becoming burnt out.

If you need a break, ask for one.

Every bartender goes through ups and downs behind the bar.  If your feeling exhausted, ask for a day off.  Some times all you need is to recharge your battery.

Burnout is a serious problem in the bar and restaurant industry.  It happens very quickly and often leads to getting fired.  Don’t let it happen to you.



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