Most of the time, people in the industry arrive in their early 20s, with the whole world spread out before them, at this stage time seems like an inexhaustible resource. Their bodies are young and recover easily from wild nights, their livers break down the alcohol molecules flowing in their blood with irritating ease.
They come directly from a bartending course, which offers professional training and experiential course, they arrive in the job market in a mental state closer to a high schooler than to the world of adults. The search for thrills and fun sometimes disrupts their professional judgment, to the extent that an inexperienced person can be considered a “professional.”
I have no particular desire to bash the young people here, I was once young too () and it’s clear that this is a stage in life which we all go through… except that specifically in the field for which we gathered here (bartending, etc.) The worst characteristics of this age.
I like to divide those involved in the craft into three types:
The first type: those who come from the beginning for a limited time, temporary work, a year or two maybe three, to save for a trip, on the way to the degree etc.. This type includes the vast majority of people who found themselves bartending for a living at some point in their lives. These are exactly the type of people this blog is less aimed at, obviously.
The second type, those who take it seriously. Want to deepen as much as possible, want to learn, excel, love the position, are drawn to creativity, to a challenge, mixology, wine course, Artenders, bar managers and participants in competitions, the more serious people. These types are undoubtedly a minority in the industry, and by necessity they are also the people who have the most influence on the industry from within.
The third type are those who were first of the first type, and over time fell in love/swept away and suddenly found themselves in the second type, without intending to.
So as mentioned, regarding the first type there is really nothing to add, in the end they are a by-product of the bartending schools, which sell first and foremost “alcohol kindergarten.” They themselves will testify that they decided to do a bartending course “for fun”.. their full right. Not my cup of tea though, not the workers I would like to employ. Young people in general, who are in the infancy of their adult lives are allowed to choose to do whatever they want and “fun” speaks to them a lot. This is where the “Bartending Course” was born. It grew, out of a desire to fill a demand for “fun” among young people, not to meet the demands of the businesses that sells an entertainment experience who would like to put a seriously trained professional behind the bar.
I say from knowledge and personal experience, people who have recently completed a bartending course, even with honors, and even if their potential is sky high, cannot under any circumstances manage as bartenders in place with high professional demand. Conversation between colleagues between one bar owner and another often revolves around the plight of professional manpower and rightly so.
Those who belong to the second and third groups, a minority of course, are likely to stay in the bar for many years. And it seems to me that no one, at any stage, explains to them the principles that will help them live a good and decent life at the same time as the night work. Certainly not in their basic training intended to make them professionals. Inability to manage a productive schedule, drinking (excessively) on a regular basis during work, waking up at noon, drawing disproportionately from a system that usually requires a lot of its employees, not setting boundaries, poor nutrition, a lack of daylight hours in the winter, to summarize in one sentence: An unhealthy life physically and mentally. No wonder a bartender’s “career” (a professional, not a bartender) ranges about 5 to 10 years.
If for a moment there’s any doubt, I speak from experience. As an active bartender for quite a few years, long before ArtenderTLV was born, I have sinned in everything described in the previous paragraph, no joke. Today in retrospect, I think I could have been a better bartender, for many times longer, if a person/business/mentor had explained to me at the right time the price involved in the decisions and habits ingrained in the early 20s.
We (ArtenderTLV) first of all deal with technical and aesthetic coaching and training, this is the center and heart of the business and the vision that drives it. And since these take a long time and a lot of investment, I get to be part of a process that is mainly mental in front of young people of the age in question. What begins with equipment control, muscle memory, aesthetics, good habits, training… continues with a deeper understanding of the spectrum of possibilities that lies before us as professionals, in the early stages of our careers.
The messages are spiritual and the atmosphere is philosophical, this is the time to say: control of the body and equipment comes from the head, the same head that is responsible for controlling our lives and our actions. It’s not separated, it’s the same and it will also be the case with my students, at least for those who are ready.