While I was a student at university I waitressed and then finally graduated to bartending. I absolutely loved working in the service industry. Never in my life have I made as much money as I did then. The mid to late 80’s were still the golden age of the service industry. Expense accounts still existed for businessmen and women and the GST had yet to rear its ugly head. I was fortunate that I got into one of the more upscale establishments that my city had to offer because there was a small fortune to be made. I remember going to school full time for my third and fourth year at uni plus working at least 30 hours a week serving. I was taking home a minimum of $600 to $700 each week which was a small fortune to a 21 year old. After graduating university I found it very difficult to give up.
By then I had become so accustomed to the tips always having money available to me rather than waiting a fortnight for a pay cheque - which we actually also got but that was just gravy - that it took me a year to finally leave the industry. I had made a lot of great friends my four years serving. Some of them were like me, students, but many were “career” people, this is all that they would end up doing. Unfortunately serving is looked down upon in the frightfully white collar city that I reside in that had I stayed in service, I would have been perceived as a failure. Back then that apparently mattered to me although I have long since gotten over that mentality. I was dragging my feet though in making my exit. Not only would it be difficult to get used to the substantial reduction in earnings but suddenly I would be expected to be part of the land of the living. Part of the allure of bartending was that you didn’t start work until dark and the people that you encountered were by far much more interesting than their daytime counterparts.
As luck would have it, the decision was taken out of my hands when I had a bad fall the week before Christmas and broke my kneecap. After crutches, a cane, physio and not driving for five months I knew that it would be tough to go back to bartending or waitressing anytime soon but I now desperately needed an income of any sort. Plus my confidence had taken quite a beating. Getting my strength back in my leg and as a result my back, et al was slow going plus when I did make an early attempt at returning to bartending I had forgotten how messy we could be and those we floors behind the bar were just another accident waiting to happen.
My immediate loss of income right after the accident also made things tough going. But you gotta take the good with the bad and as the majority of tips are never declared by servers, they end up never paying tax on this income. As a result they are then denied the benefit of collecting any type of Employment Insurance as you can only end up collecting what you contribute and if you contribute a big fat zero then you are not entitled to any thing more. So hah on me. After about three months sitting at home with my dog I started to get a little restless and started to look for a “real” job. I found one and I went to work for what turned out to be a pretty darn nice company. For nine years they treated me well and in return I think that I was a definite assest for them but I always remembered my serving days with fondness. I was starting to get itchy feet. I wanted something a little less ordinary than going to work Monday to Friday from 9am until 5pm with three weeks vacation each year and some time off at Christmas and blah, blah, blah.
I was bored and I was getting bored with myself. Surprisingly enough I even managed to spend seven of those years pretty darn squeakey clean. For shame, for shame…to be continued…
HIGH PRIESTESS OF PUNK returns in high style next!!!