Shawn Soole
November 17, 2006

Relationships are difficult when you both work 9-5 and see each other on the weekends. But what happens when you have fragmented hours and work every weekend? It can sometimes be stressful on both parties. Now I am not saying you shouldn’t have a relationship in this industry, I am simply saying it can be hard. It is sometimes challenging to have a romantic relationship with someone; it is a hell a lot easier to make close friends that you will depend on for the rest of your life.

Before we continue, let me say for the record I know couples who have been together for years while in this industry and I congratulate them. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bartenders out there that have had girls or guys break up with them because of the hours we work, the company we keep, and of course the mass of sexy people that pack our bar every week.

Most partners want a “normal relationship”, barbeques on the weekends, early morning walks on the beach and family dinners. The only issue with fitting this all in is the hours we keep. The last thing I feel like doing when I get to bed at 6 or 7 am is to get up before 2pm and do anything besides getting ready to go back to work that night.

When I had my first serious relationship I was 22. My partner at the time wanted me to settle down. She wanted me to get a “normal job”, but this is what I do best. I am a good barman and a very ambitious bar manager. I chose to work hard to further my career. When we separated, the only real issue was that I wasn’t at home enough, never had enough time or energy to have breakfast with them.

I have had a lot of relationships since and I always stick to one rule. Don’t date outside the industry: my opinion doesn’t necessarily need to be yours. This has always worked for me; “hospos” understand the industry and what stress put on relationships. I have had good relationships and bad relationships just like everyone else. My affair with this industry has always come between myself and my partners.

Now the mates you make while you’re working will always be with you. They will become the closest thing to family. I have never been really close with my family so I have three mates that I class as my mates, my mentors and my brothers.

I met Adam when I first started working at Jorge, we didn’t get along straight away. I tend to have an abrasive personality and he wanted the job I got. We started off on the wrong foot but soon realised that we were a lot alike and started hanging out more often. I knew he was a true friend after a girl broke my heart and he took me in and let me crash at his place for a couple of weeks. He gives clean cut advice and is one of my closest friends.

Mitch and Croft I met when we all came to take over a floundering bar on the Brisbane River. We were mates straight away and soon were hanging out every night of the week, drinking watching DVDs, and general debauchery. We were so well known around the town that we never waited in line and got free drinks everywhere we went. You wouldn’t see one of us without the others. Croft lived with me than moved in with Mitch and the circle just continued. These friendships are what make the industry worthwhile. I have my closest buddies coming to Canada to work and live with me.

If you have a healthy relationship with someone outside the industry congratulations, if you don’t, then I hope this makes you feel like there are others out there with the same issues.