Recently I have been honoured to participate in a ‘So Lets Talk’ zoom presentation where by some invaluable information and wisdom was passed on. I have been asked to write a few words about how my lifestyle has changed and I am more than happy to share this with the big wide world! What I wanted to share specifically is some of the mistakes I have made early on in my hospitality career, not the professional mistakes but the real stuff, life shit!
At the age of 20, my first mistake was taking my first hospitality job too soon. I literally started my first job as a bar back at The Living Room in Manchester one day after I had finished my studies. Looking back, I wish I had taken a little bit of time out away from work whilst I still could to live a little – going away to travel, spend quality time with family or even just chill out with friends.
My second mistake and probably the most crucial thing of all. It was getting the ‘balance’ wrong. I drove myself into a rut where all I was doing was bartending, partying and sleeping and when I say sleeping, I mean not a lot! I found myself feeling really low and not myself and realised that something had to change. I also went into work one day without sleep and was in serious bother!
I decided I needed a passion, an escape, something other than drinking or bartending. I decided to look into something where I could get away from everything as I felt it was best for me to be away from all the influences I had. I went on and found a job working in the French Alps. I fell in love with snowboarding and the mountains. I found another purpose, and a huge passion.
I then, after 3 short years, came back to Manchester and found other ways of balancing my life. I developed a new passion for running, I made sure I went and did other things and learned from my previous mistake.
My humble advice to anyone who is new to hospitality, considering coming into hospitality or who has maybe done a couple of years, is to try to keep that ‘balance’ right. It can be easy to get yourself into a rut and there are ways of preventing it. You don’t have to go travelling or to extreme lengths that I did to get out of a rut. You don’t have to go out partying every night of the week whilst working 55 hours in an intense bar. You do have a choice. You can speak to your manager about the hours you are working. You can find a passion without travelling the world.
I wish at this stage of my life I had looked after myself better and I remember at the time I really didn’t want to talk about it. Ruts can be avoided by just being aware of the choices you make.
I’m not saying don’t go out, don’t go partying, or drinking. Just find something else that interests you and something else that gives you purpose other than pouring a pint of beer or dinking one.