ASK AMY: Is it bad to be a bartender for life?

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Dear Amy,

The teaching market is dead for me and I am mulling over getting my Masters in Social Work but quite frankly I’ve been unhappy since getting my teaching degree and even though I enjoy school I am regretting going back and find I was happier and had more money doing “menial or blue collar” work. Is it bad to be a bartender for life?

-Rocky Road in Rocky Point

Dear Rocky,

There isn’t anything wrong with your desire to be a bartender. What’s “wrong” may be that you’re afraid you have “settled” for a career that isn’t up to the standards of those in your professional or personal circle. If you are happy bartending, why do you feel you have to live up to someone else’s standards? Who (a person) or what (society in general) is telling you that being a bartender is not enough?

We’re trained, even in this day and age, to believe that satisfaction is equated with climbing the corporate career ladder. The more impressive the title, the happier the worker? Not necessarily so. There’s something that is lost in today’s modern office workplace with its cozy corner office and fancy suits and ties. What gets lost are the pleasures of hands-on work, the crucial role craftsmanship, the art of crafting jewelry, the skill of making fine shoes and clothing and the talent of mixing the perfect drink like only the best mixologist can do.

There is an idea out there that says that if you work with your hands you don’t use your brain. Not true. Unfortunately, we are teaching this to our children and not allowing them to express their full potential because we’ve created a false hierarchy of the kinds of work that matter. The default setting in this country right now is to debase hands-on, manual work.

Why is there a stigma against blue collar workers? Why are are people so quick to judge the work they do? A skilled trade worker can oftentimes earn more money than a person with a graduate degree. Thank about that!

Here’s a great compromise – keep your day job – and do some bartending on the weekends/evenings. See how you like it – and decide then. But decide based on YOUR THOUGHTS and feelings about what makes you feel happy, satisfied, financially secure and content – not based on what other people might say!

Here’s a fun resource to help you out:


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