Under Pressure?

Of course you are. So am I. Everyone is. I don’t know why, when they were handing out titles for various stuff, why they didn’t just call life Pressure In Some Way Or Another instead. It’s more fitting. I think, if you aren’t under pressure you aren’t actually living. You might as well be dead.

But pressure doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. I am coming to see it as something of a motivator. And here’s why.

Now, as I think I mentioned, I quit my job through mistreatment by my employer about three weeks ago. That was pressure. That decision. I’ve never been unemployed since I entered the job market. To suddenly become a member of the jobless was a pressure choice, a dive into the unknown.

Pressure with a capital P.

In lots of ways. Bills obviously being top of that list. I have outgoings the same as everyone else. And I have to eat. And I quite enjoy a shandy or two. Which is why I home brew, vastly cheaper. Anyway, that’s not the only pressure. I have a long term partner. 20 years this year, a commitment that was only matched by my career. Which is now in tatters…tatters on the street. But, there we go.

So, why take such a pressure decision? Personal pride. Pure and simple. I was bloody good at my job. Old schooled pub manager. I learned from pros back in the day when the job was respected and taking pride in being good, at a job now decried, was no bad thing. Being told by some pen pushing line manager that I had to bend over and suck my own cock for his ineptitude was not going to stand in my world. But I’ll smash him next week at my grievance meeting, so stay tuned for that gem

So lets tangent off about the pub trade a moment, because my vast experience must count for something. And I’m not bitter despite everything. I used to like the job, fuck me I even loved it for a while. I had proper dreams and ideas, then the reality of conglomerate pub work in the 21st century kicked in…and kicked me in the bollocks. Ouch. My bollocks are big too, lol

But enough of my genital peacocking, back to the pub trade. Like I said, there was a time I loved it. And I’ve made some seriously firm friends over the years. Hell, the GM I left behind with my resignation is a woman I have genuine love for. Leaving her was the biggest loss of my decision. Not the money, not the career, to let down a work colleague that I have heartfelt respect for and a deep connection to dwarfs all that nonsense. I made her a promise, to deliver her business in a perfect state following her maternity leave, and I have been forced, through absolutely zero fault of my own to break my word.

And I fucking hate breaking my word. Especially for the comical reasons that forced me from my job, which I’m not going to be specific about because that’s classless and damned unprofessional.

But, the pub trade. Try number three. You want to talk about pressure, try that job. And yes, I know that every job carries pressure, the high powered ones more than most. And public services. But you kind of buy into that when you train for and take jobs in them. Doesn’t make it easier, and thank the good lord for all people who enter those tough industries, but the pub trade, and hospitality in general in the UK, gets totally fucked over.

Its a high pressure job. From the bottom up.

Take overworked kitchen teams, often working alone – because heaven forbid someone else might be employed to scrub the walls, and clean the fifty dishes and 100 pieces of cutlery that come back with them – who are under pressure to push out these meals, and conform to safety standards, and deliver EHO and inspection standards – which includes spot visits – and could face serious disciplinary action for failing. Including job loss. For doing the basics wrong. Once. Fines, job loss. For missing out on a sticker on a pack of bacon because you got slammed by yourself on a Bank Holiday when the sun came out. And you’d been doing 14hrs straight and you were fucked.

And yes, I know we have food standards to adhere to, and people can get ill, and I’m onside with all that. It was my job. But I’m just pointing out the pressure. Just so perhaps, the next time you pop out for pub fayre, and your Hunters Chicken has taken 15.5 minutes and you are livid at waiting that extra thirty seconds, because the induction trainee said it would definitely be no more than fifteen, just remember that there are people you cant see, doing their best to deliver what is becoming a harder and harder service cycle to meet. Especially in smaller sites.

And, for a heads up, saying Your Meal Will be Fifteen Minutes is pretty much a standard, often tested part of a service cycle. No different to a script from a cold-caller. Make of that what you will.

Then we have bar staff. Did you know that a new bar team member, on their first day, could potentially get fined, lose their job and get a criminal record if they, again, make a basic mistake? Now you do. Serving underage and drunks is the crux of this one. Again, totally right, totally onside Shouldn’t serve either. But that doesn’t cover how hard that is. You have a look around the bar next time you’re having a few well earned brews. You watch a bunch of 18 year olds come in, or even a party of 50 doing Pub Golf. See how many you can guess are underage. Do a shot for each one you get right. Hell, buy it for them. They’re underage after all. But don’t do that. That’s a proxy sale and would land you a nice fine too. So scrap that.

Same with drunks. You try telling wee mental Davy, who’s had ten pints of Stella before four pm, like he does every Tuesday, that he can’t have his One For The Road. He’s obviously pissed. Not even in doubt. But he’s also done time for GBH. Best of luck with that.

One for the road. I like that. Comes from hangings back in the day. The poor prick about to be strung up would be wheeled on a cart to the gallows, and they’d stop at the first alehouse and give him an pint for the trip. One for the road. If you want to be pissed for anything, getting your neck snapped on a short drop definitely qualifies. Even the wife would allow that last beer.

But there we have pressure. Pub trade. Decried. “Oh, its only a pub job.” Mmmm. Yeah, but we can £100 on the spot fines, abuse and pints hurled at us by drunks, drugs, violence, but at least the hours aren’t long and anti social. And we don’t give up all celebratory days. Like Christmas and New Years.

Oh, wait…

But, I said there’s good pressure. I have that now. In my creative endeavours. My writing, through daily work, is creeping up in quality, and and fan base is matching it stride for stride. But there’s pressure with that. To deliver. But that’s where pressure becomes motivation. To go back and back and back to improve. And that’s where I am now.

So today I wrote a new opening chapter to my original novel. Its the one I’ve been the most happy with in years. The link is on my page somewhere. So now I have pressure to make the second, third and fourth generate the same response in me. Pressure. But I’m actually looking forward to it. I’m getting up earlier than I did in my regular job, working longer hours, but I’m happier, more energised and more motivated. With, frankly, is a bit backwards.

I suppose dropping the pressure of management is a weight off. A weight I didn’t appreciate was quite as heavy as it was until i suddenly didn’t have it anymore. It will be hard to pick it back up again when the time comes.

Which, my long-suffering partner, will start putting a lot of pressure on me to do!

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