It’s a wonderful (hospo) life, but…


The ups and downs of the hospitality life

Rant by Joe Worthington

There comes a point in every bartender’s life when the cosmic question comes to light (usually after a 16 hour shift): What the actual fuck am I doing with my life?

Don’t lie ladies and gents, we’ve all been there, and some more often than others. We’ve all come home, had a look at ourselves in the mirror, and started crying uncontrollably at the sight of that old promo Heineken tee shirt that’s covered in 2 months of stale suspect substance because you work so hard and long that you haven’t fondled someone of the opposite sex since the Ice Age. No? Ok, just me then.


I’ve seen strong colleagues, seriously mentally strong people crumble after a big shift. I feel lucky that I was at home when I burst into tears — rather than in the disabled bathroom cleaning up nine feet of pure Din Tai Fung vomit.

This life isn’t for everyone but I will go as far as saying everyone could do it. If it wasn’t for the stigma attached of working in hospitality where everybody who doesn’t work in hospitality thinks all we do is drink, do drugs, finger each other and pour schooners of Tooheys New all day, every day (which by the way sounds fucking great) then I think we’d have a much higher staff retention rate and probably, let’s face it, more friends.

I love my job. Of course, I have those days where I still ask that cosmic question but fuck me, I bet Leonardo Di Caprio does too — albeit amidst all that cocaine and among those supermodels.

I’m sure there’s at least one day a decade that all he wants is a wife, a baby boy called Pablo, a five door sedan and a semi-detached home in Connecticut.

I’ve had the greatest two and a half years in Sydney, it has gone by so fast and ferociously and in such whirlwind fashion that sometimes I do think I have forgotten to enjoy every second along the way. There are times — 100 times more than the times when I question my job— where I get home and I’m genuinely happy with how my day, week, month or year has been. I’m proud of myself and everyone in this industry should be too. Particularly in Sydney, there’s something amazing happening in hospitality here right now and whether you can see it or not, you are a part of it. In 20 years time the cocktail and hospitality world will remember the insurgence of the Australian bar scene from 2010-2020 and how its members took it by the scruff of the neck and, for a period of time, blew the rest of the globe out the water.

Keep doing what you’re doing, keep fighting the fight. I’ve never had more fun to be around such weird and fucking wonderful people. Don’t listen to old mate, who is a nine to five disposable lighter technician who thinks it’s his right — no, his duty — to tell you his Manhattan doesn’t have any fucking sugar syrup in it and you should get a real job. Tell him to fuck off back home to his blow-up girlfriend and to suck on a big bag of dicks. It takes heart to do what we do, I’m not glorifying it, I’m just reiterating that we do a job that is actually enjoyable.

Work to live, don’t live to work.

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