Looking for a job, even changing jobs, is something that is almost always stressful, no matter what field you are in. Bartending is no different. There are some bartenders out there that go from one place to the next without investing too much time at any one establishment. Most of these types use bartending as a second income.
But then there are those who are in it for the long haul, who do invest a lot of time in one place and the customers there. Those whose primary income comes from bartending have a lot to think about when it comes to the prospect of changing gigs.
First, I’d like to talk about the actual search for that next gig. No matter how good your resume is, it’s still hard. Most bar owners aren’t very trusting — and for good reason. You will never come across a bar owner who hasn’t been subject to a corrupt bartender. Although there are plenty of honest bartenders out there, those aren’t the ones prospective employers think about as they scan over your resume. Then there’s the availability. If you’re in a smaller town, bars are few. In bigger cities, like Los Angeles, there are lots of bars — and, of course, a lot of people looking for the same work.
Now, any exceptional bartender is often subject to quite a few job offers. Even though being offered that job is great, and eliminates the search, there are still so many things to consider. If you have worked at your current establishment for a long time, you risk losing your job security. Then there’s the customer base, one that takes time to establish. Starting a new place means a whole new group of regulars who know the other bartenders, not you. Although any good bartender will bring customers with them, that bartender still has to gain the trust and respect of an entirely new group of faces. Going from the top of the totem pole to the bottom is another consideration, that sucks, no matter what you do.
Lastly, and most importantly, is the money. After working at a place for a long time, you know the minimum, and maximum amount of money you can make. You adjust your life, and your budget, to that sum. Even though that prospective job sounds like a definite moneymaker, that isn’t always the case. A job in a busy dive bar can be just as lucrative, a lot of times more so, than one in an upscale nightclub. Volume sales is where the money is.
All that being said, I’d like to add that in bartending, or any other profession, change can often be good. Who knows what’ll happen if you take a chance, it may just pan out to be the best move you could’ve made.