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Getting a second job at a bar/restaurant in the Bay Area: which one? how to survive working two jobs?
May 29, 2007 12:19 PM   Subscribe

I’m thinking of getting a second job at a bar or restaurant in the Bay Area, on top of a serious day job. Any tips on 1) places to apply and 2) how to survive working two jobs?

Here are my various criteria:

1) A fun place to work – cool, interesting people and a fairly relaxed atmosphere. Part of why I'd do this is to meet people I wouldn't usually meet. I couldn’t deal with fine dining. In fact, the less of a required “uniform,” the better.

2) Location. It’s a bit tricky, because my day job is in SF (south of the Montgomery BART) but I live on the Oakland/Emeryville border.

The most convenient location would be Emeryville or anywhere on the San Pablo corridor. The second most convenient would be somewhere near my work. I could start earlier if I worked in SF, but getting home would be harder (after 12:30 AM I’d be limited to the once-hourly All Nighter bus).

More broadly, I could probably work anywhere in downtown SF, the Mission, downtown Oakland, Rockridge, Emeryville, or downtown Berkeley.

3) Actually getting hired. : ) I'd prefer bartending but don't know if I could get hired -- I have fairly minimal bartending experience (I’ve poured beer and wine). I have a fair amount of restaurant experience (a brick oven pizzeria, serving, food prep, catering), and I'm a hard worker, so I think I'd be okay once I got in the door. I could be a hostess or food runner for a few months while trying to work my way up the ladder. Seen any Help Wanted signs lately? :) How should I address the fact that I have another job?

4) The schedule. Do you think it’d be tricky to find shifts that start after my normal work hours? I’ll probably have to have shifts that start fairly late. Right now I work here 9:30-7 but could move that to 8-5:30 and maybe even leave here at 4 pm once a week. I'm completely flexible on weekends.

5) Money – obviously, good tips are better. : ) I’m doing this most of all to raise extra money for an exciting personal goal (buying some land).

Overall, I’m still trying to figure out whether this idea is going to work. How hard is it to have a second job on top of a serious career-path office job? If you’ve done this, how did it work out for you? I can probably handle being sleep deprived for awhile, but I’d eventually have to reduce my hours to something that doesn’t make me totally exhausted.

Any tips – things I should consider, things that made it easier for you? Thanks for any ideas!
posted by salvia to Work & Money (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
The big question is how having this second job will affect your ability to effectively do your main job, which I'm assuming will make up the majority of your income.

If you mess up your day job because you have very little free time, are tired and worn out from this second job, then you're going to be a lot further from your goal than you are now.

if you're tending bar you very well may have to work till at least till 2 and then probably later for clean up, and man, coming into work at 8 or 9 or even 10 after that every day would suck...

in all honestly, you really must have some down time to be able to perform your day job (depending on what it is i guess)

it might be worth looking into how you can save money now by budgeting etc, because it doesn't sound like you'll make tons doing work in the environment you're describing, and with proper budgeting you may be able to put away a good chunk of what you'd make in a second job w/o jeopardizing your main gig

what about working the 2nd job just on weekends? it's a busy time for most bars and restaurants where they may need extra man power, and it won't put as much stress on you...

i work full time and also run a small business selling art and antiques, but i have the luxury of doing this side pursuit as much or as little as a i please, and when i please...which is a world away from working for the man on a regular schedule
posted by Salvatorparadise at 12:46 PM on May 29, 2007


I work 8:00 am - 4:30 pm every day at my regular day job, and work 3 nights a week at 5 pm until "whenever" (which usually turns out to be 3 am, closing down the bar) and it's hard. I wish I could sugar coat it. :)
I am not the healthiest person so I wouldn't necessarily take my advice - but I rely heavily on caffeine to make it through the day, the occassional sugar jolt, and I smoke too, which "helps" with the whole stimulant thing. I sometimes try to sneak in cat naps on my lunch hour or whenever. I'm usually pretty exhausted and the nights I don't work at the bar, I go home and crash on my couch anyway. So it doesn't leave a whole lot of room for a life!
But it is do-able... When I started this schedule at the beginning of April I thought I'd never survive. Now, I'm still tired all the time and I believe pretty hard to be around because I'm a lot crankier than normal - but it has gotten A LOT easier. This too is for a quasi short-term goal (paying off credit card debt) and if I have a couple good nights this week I should be all set. THAT is a terrific feeling, and totally worth sleeping 10 hours a week. :)
Good luck!!!!!
posted by slyboots421 at 1:01 PM on May 29, 2007


Bartending might earn you the most cash, but as a server, you will get to go home earlier. Its really all about balancing how quickly you want your money for your goal. I used to work a regular 8-5 kind of kig and then run like the wind to wait talbes from 5-1, that sucked and would be nigh impossible if they weren't close enough that I could leave one five minutes early to get to the other five minutes late.

What I do now is work every other Sat. from about 5-3am at the bar and every Sunday from 6-1. It ends up very reasonable. Of course, you can't budget anything, the money will be spotty. Last weekend, I made over $400, this weekend I made $145 (working both nights, Memorial Day weekend apparently sucks at my bar, who knew?), but since I have a salaried job, its all "gravy" so to speak.

I average about $800-$1,000 a month for my six days/mth schedule, which is pretty nice, so I really think it is worth it and doable and plus, being a bartender is pretty awesome.

What I look for in a bartending job includes:
Side duties, anything particularly gross?
Complete discretion in who I serve and who I kick out
Slightly older crowd
More conversation less shouting, "partying"
posted by stormygrey at 1:06 PM on May 29, 2007


I just quit my second job after a year and a half and I am ecstatic. On top of my 7-5, I was working 3 nights a week and both days on the weekend. I was getting really burned out at the end. The problem is that what small amount of down time you have is eaten up by life's trivial minutia...paying bills, cleaning the bathroom, going to the dentist. Your clear goal might help you persevere. If you have no family or relationship obligations, that might also be helpful. But it's not easy.
posted by Otis at 5:00 PM on May 29, 2007


How to survive: feel free to take a day off when you need to. If you find yourself needing too many, then two jobs is one too much. It is a real pain to do, but if you are young then go for it, cuz you got nothing to lose.
posted by valentinepig at 5:04 PM on May 29, 2007


Thanks for all the comments so far! My ideal would be only Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, but my thought was that I'd have to put up with some slow Monday shifts too, at least in the beginning.

I'm actually a little more productive at my main gig when I'm beat down (I stop chatting and brainstorming and focus on just getting this s*!# done). At least, historically I have been, but that doesn't mean I can't push it too far. :) So, thanks for that warning Salvatorparadise.

I hadn't thought about the leaving times of servers vs. bartenders. Good point! All I'd thought about was that it looked like bartending might be 10% less physically tiring because there'd be less walking (though still quite a bit).
posted by salvia at 5:22 PM on May 29, 2007


Re: two jobs:
two jobs
another two jobs
sleep deprivation
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:52 PM on May 29, 2007


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