Hidden benefits to bartending

By Brandon Zegiel , Columnist

zegielbrandon_cutoutThe Red Lion, KAMs and Brothers, just to name a few, are a big part of the heart of the Illinois campus. While we all work hard on the weekdays, we play just as hard on the weekends, where we socialize and unite as students.

People may look in and refer to us as partiers, labeling the student body negatively, but the truth is that many of us reward ourselves from a devastating workload during the week with time for fun with our friends.

Our weekend experiences at bars would not be possible without the help of the men and women who stand up in the front lines taking thirsty students’ orders on different drinks they want.

They listen, engage and witness everything that happens on those crazy nights where we crawl from bar to bar, and they get paid in the process. Bartenders hear some of deepest irrational thoughts among students, and they engage in our crazy plots.

What better way for students looking for a job to get the social experience of interacting with many different personalities? People from many different lifestyles bring different opinions through the doors of the University’s bars every weekend.

And as a bartender, many students will approach you asking you for a drink, and depending on their blood alcohol concentration, you may get more of their life story than you planned. Bottom line: A bartender has a prime position to meet people of all different backgrounds, and naturally, he or she will know many people because of his or her job.

And while many may say a grocery bagger or cashier meet the same number of people, it’s important to note that people are drinking while they are in a bar and are more socially active, providing conversations that never happen in a grocery store. The mood is entirely different; perhaps not just because of the drinks, but the atmosphere as well. And the bartender gets the privilege of utilizing that atmosphere to socially engage with others.

The increased social activity can also produce monetary benefits for a bartender, because tips on any given night can be astronomical. Once again, the social atmosphere psychologically plays into the mind of a socialite who is buying a drink. And if the bartender is social, happy and dressed well, the probability of a tip is very high.

Not every customer will tip well, and possibly some won’t at all, but the more people a given bartender has conversations with, the better he or she will do.

Other bartenders have attested to this, but perhaps actor Nick Frost put it best saying, “I was an amazing bartender and a great waiter, I think, in a way, that was my acting school.”

Frost is correct in saying that he learned to look, act and play the part of a bartender, which demands much of the same attributes a successful actor needs.

Becoming a bartender is socially and personally a great path to choose when looking for a part-time job throughout college.

The late nights may be hard to agree to right away, especially with the rough exam schedules and endless papers professors love to give all at one time, but bartending can be invaluable for a college student.

Brandon is a sophomore in LAS.

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