She idles up to the bar, elbowing her way through the many patrons at The Broken Record Bar & Grill at 1166 Geneva Ave. in the Crocker-Amazon neighborhood of San Francisco. Connecting their patrons via Facebook and Yelp!, the people working there do a pretty decent job of keeping ample stock of fancy liquid libation (a mouth-watering array of the lesser-known, high-end as well as the established kind) alongside some great dive bar treats in their back room known as Hood Grub.
Though I’m shamelessly plugging this small point of interest for the people who like to drink and eat, or eat and drink, depending on your order of preference, this blog is to have a chat with the awesome bartenders, bar-backs, runners, etc who keep the worker bees sated. Well, it’s time for you to whet your appetites too.
I know that many of you make a livable wage from the pay and tips, but let’s face it: in this only upwardly mobile city of San Francisco, this means you can barely pay your rent let alone have some extra dough to go out and do some socializing of your own. Being a bartender takes great skill and a killer personality – you have to like people to do well at it and you also have to know how and when to listen. Bartenders, depending on the busy-ness of the night, must stand there and listen to our rants and raves. Why? Because we’ll keep drinking and it’s good for business. Is it because we’re cool and have something particularly interesting to say? Maybe. But more than likely, it’s to keep the libation flowing and their tip hopefully growing.
Like many jobs in urban centers in America, the people who work for us rely on tips. And it is for THOSE people that I offer this hopeful advice: You are truly unique and you can do more to make your life full of everything you want to be. Tending bar and working in clubs has its rewards, but it is not a 30-40-year-career like it was back in the early 20th century. You’ll be priced out of your living space if you don’t find more connected, mind and wallet-enriching work that satisfies you on a deeper level. Most people who work in bars that I’ve met over my 30 years of drinking and working in bars for a time myself as a sound engineer and before that, a singer, are totally talented artists, performers, musicians, and writers. (And if you’re in Los Angeles reading this, many of your bar and restaurant staff are trying to break into acting in film and television. Duh, I know.)
Here comes my pitch: Take what you do and what makes you supremely happy doing it and go HONE YOUR SKILL. Meet other people doing your craft and fulfill yourself in the embrace of education and furthering a life goal. Where can you do this? At City College of San Francisco, we have credit courses in everything from Administrative Justice & Fire Science to Women’s Studies and all other imaginable studies in between those two alphabetical bookends. In the awesome School of Fine, Applied, and Communication Arts, we offer numerous outstanding courses taught by an illustrious faculty in Art, Broadcast Electronic Media Arts, Cinema, Environmental Horticulture & Floristry, Journalism, MultiMedia Studies, Music, Photography, Speech Communication, Theater Arts and Visual Media & Design. I know that you’re harboring LOADS OF TALENT that yearns to bust out of you as you scribble words to a film idea or song lyric, and draw a cartoon graphic of people around you on that bar napkin. You have something to show the world! Let me encourage you to step away from that beautiful wood bar for a moment and tap a few letters on the web browser in your smartphone: ccsf.edu.
Maybe you’re interested to start your own business? We offer credit and non-credit courses in Business and perhaps you should share this information with the other staff in your bar/restaurant who could use a leg up by increasing their English language skills. Our ESL department is nonpareil and the largest in the entire college with over 700 credit and non-credit classes! The courses start at multiple times throughout the semester. The Noncredit ESL program is free of charge and is designed to help immigrant students develop their general ability to understand, speak, read and write English. And why not learn their language too? Check out the offerings of our ONE department with MANY VOICES – Foreign Languages. In fact, maybe you’d like to move into another part of your current employ. Where else to jumpstart your move up the ladder than in our School of Business, Fashion, and Hospitality?
Have I not yet twitched your ache to learn? Don’t let the School of Science and Math deter you! Where else can you learn Aircraft Maintenance Technology (Aeronautics), Architecture (see all of those cranes building more buildings around SF?), Astronomy, Automotive, Motorcycle, Building Maintenance & Construction, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Networking & Information Technology (how does all of this info make its way to my smartphone?), Computer Science (yes, what you’re looking at right now!), Earth Sciences, Engineering & Technology, Mathematics, Physics…
Or how about the School of Behavioral Sciences, Social Sciences, and Multicultural Studies? There is no doubt that several offerings there will enhance your current ability to keep up with those around you in the workplace and you might even find that you love it so much you’ll want to continue on and finish that degree you started or add another one to your life tools notch. And if you’re STILL NOT MOVED, then start out in our School of Health, PE and Social Services. The Physical Education & Dance department’s mission statement: “A Strong Body Makes a Strong Mind.” Thomas Jefferson
OK, so there you have it. Join the many people who are finding their way to a more fulfilling life by following their dreams and life goals at City College of San Francisco. And here is one more thought: You work late. You found a class you’re interested in, but you can’t even THINK of waking before noon. Try our Online course offerings to see if something rings a bell for you there. In Distance Learning we offer a ton of choices of fully online and hybrid courses. Go ahead. Check it out. Follow the links. Follow your muse. Pull another beer on tap, stir up a cocktail for your customer, take a break, and go discover the world. It’s right here in your backyard in this awesome 7X7 city.
Come join us. We’re here for you.