Lookin' Good at 58

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Settling Down Time 1984-86

So here I was in January 1984 working in this joint called Marilyn's Hamburgers in Pointe Claire Quebec for this guy who had a personality of a sledgehammer hoping to find something that would keep me in La Belle Province ( Quebec ) however with my lack of French that was going to be a difficult thing to achieve.

Then reading through the paper I noticed there was an opportunity for a Bar Manager position and seeing that French was not mentioned in the ad I called for an interview.

It was a beautiful exclusive private club just known for it's food and beverage operations located right downtown on Mansfield in the heart of Montreal just south of Sherbrooke Street and McGill University originally opened by Stephen Leacock.

Chris Parkinson the Club Manager and I hit it off immediately and Louis the Maitre'd liked me as well. They wanted to get rid of the present bar manager as he was a bit of a drinker so the plan was January 31st after his shift they were going to let him go and I would start the following day. I said good riddens to Marilyn's and headed to the University Club of Montreal and was a Bar Manager there from that time till July of 1986.

I was not out in the open member's area but made drinks from a service bar area for the lunch crowd and was the headquarters for all the portable bars in the private rooms where liquor was needed. I had a comfy job working from 10 - 6 during the day Monday to Friday with weekends off , holidays off , and when the club closed in the summer I had a 3 week vacation to boot.

So basically I had weekends off and holidays. Pretty unheard of for a Bar Manager position. The salary was good and although in a club like this you do not receive tips if you did work overtime you got paid quite well which I did of course. Working special parties and helping out on winetasting dinners was great fun. I had the opportunity as well to do private home parties for the members of which one I recall vividly and that was when the guest of honor was a former prime minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau who was joining a member's law firm the following day. That was quite exciting being the first one to find out the news before the public did.

I myself had gotten an apartment in NDG and was happy taking the bus and subway into work. My apartment had some nice furniture and I was getting in a nice comfortable rut during those days. In those years I was 25 to 27 years of age and I was quite interested in finding someone and settling down. I had the perfect job I thought to enable me to socialize during the weekends back in Montreal but I realized a lot of people that I went to school with were no longer there either. This fact make me feel a little lost at times. Staying in for instance when you have no one to go out with.

But I was a big hit at work and I was liking it a lot there. Although I felt like it was not really happening for me and that all I was doing was just working and coming home to my nice apartment with furniture that I had bought that I was still paying off. My raise after one year was 15% and the second was 7.5%. And that after doing such a better job the second year.

So I decided to start a Hotel Motel Management Restaurant Home Study course which took about 2 years to complete. I wanted to better myself and give myself a chance to move up the ladder so to speak in the industry. Although bartending was fun and while at the University Club I was helping with the building of a new wine cellar and was active in controlling cost and managing the tempermental night time bartender , it seemed like I was reaching a peak. The pay was not going to up quickly anytime soon.

So in 1986 during the month of May when I finally did finish the course I did something that would change the course of my life for good........


MikeTheWaiterDotCom said...

writing that course was a great idea... must have taken some discipline. did you ever sell it?peace,mTw

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Mike...I hope it doesn't read like I made the course up because what it was and I will go over it in better detail next Monday is that I took a course in Hotel Motel Management to better myself and to move up the career ladder. All I had was a bartending course up to that time. I wrote this post really late last night after work and rather than save it and go over it again in the morning I hit publish button by mistake. It is not bad but the punctuation is missing and I repeat myself a couple of times. I will do better next week.

MikeTheWaiterDotCom said...

No problem, brother... I misunderstood... I am trying to do some product creation... so I thought that's what you were up to.
My fault, not yours.

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Mike..no worries. I was flattered actually. I'd like to do a book someday on my experiences though.