So Much For Settling Down

Last week in my job history post I found a spot in Montreal where I was a Bar Manager in an exclusive private club which serve politicians , lawyers , and other people with lots of money. It was days only with weekends off and 3 weeks off in the summer when the club closed. As well all bank holidays we were closed. Not a bad spot to maybe settle into for the next twenty years.

I loved it! I had my apartment in NDG , a suburb of Montreal , where I lived like a swinging batchelor or maybe not that swinging but just the same I was enjoying my time getting settled and so on…You would think working in the industry making some good money and having the hours I had , weekends off etc.. I would never want to change anything. Right? Wrong!

Here I was now between the ages of 25 to 27 that I worked at the University Club of Montreal enjoying a rather carefree life being a Bar Manager when I decide that perhaps there is something more than just do this until who knows when. I mean really it is human nature to want something better isn’t it?

So I decide early on in my tenure as Bar Manager to take a Home Study Hotel Motel Restaurant Management Course through Granton College. If ever financially and time wise there is a constraint to going to college full time I highly recommend a home study course. I spent the next two years about writing pages of homework assignments to learn all I could about other departments within a hotel and restaurant. Even Saturday nights I would stay in just to concentrate on the next written homework to be mailed back.

So in mid 1986 I started to get a bit ambitious. Yes I was happily in a rut you could say. Nothing I tried could settle me permanently where I was. I wanted more excitement and adventure. I graduated out of the course with my diploma and was anxious to do something new.

At the Club the management was very happy with me. Inventory and bar cost was good but like I mentioned the pay raise the first year was 15% then the following year was half of that and I felt I was doing just as good a job as the 1st year. I felt the time had come to move on and besides I missed the public interaction cause working a club service bar is not a spot where you can interact with others. A private club is a spot where you are seen and not heard from. You serve and that is it. And I had this course now so why not use it.

Well at the time the Love Boat show was pretty popular so I thought why not send my applications to a few cruise ship lines down in Miami and see if I could gain some employment on one of them. It was the month of May and I sent a few resumes down outlining my experience as Bar Manager and my course I just graduated from.

Well it wasn’t two weeks or so later I get a call from one of the cruise lines who want to hire me as a bartender. It was at work I got the call at around 3PM just after lunch from Norwegian Cruise Lines to work on the SS Norway , the biggest cruiseship in the world at the time.

You know when on the phone faced with a decision right there some people would have backed down and replied that they needed to think about it but I on the other hand agreed right there and then that I would be there in 3 weeks to start working.

I went upstairs to give my notice that afternoon to the club manager who then asked me to go tell Louis the Maitre’d that I was leaving. We went down to the wine cellar and I told him. Well I have to tell you that was the only time in my life I started crying my eyes out when I gave notice. I loved working at that place and if I wasn’t so young and restless I’d still want to be there now.

Some bartender I worked with one time told me if I was scared of leaving a place that it was the time to leave. I felt no reason to leave the University Club of Montreal that treated me so well other than I felt incomplete living as I was at the time. If I had actually settled down and met someone eventually my life would have not lived to it’s full potential. I would have just been like many others who wished they coulda , woulda , shoulda before having all the obligations.

Having thought all this out I knew I made the right decision but it was real difficult. My dad was visiting me and we were going out on these golfing trips and my nephew was now old enought to visit and I would take him out to different sites in Montreal. I felt a connection to the family unlike when I experienced the mixed up days of a few years ago.

But now it was the SS Norway in Miami. I got rid of my furniture , sold my car , and for the next ten years from 1986-96 I basically lived out of a suitcase with stops at my Mother’s between travels.

If you ever wanted to just travel on what could only be described as most of the time on a limited budget I did it during those years. The next few posts on Mondays will describe to you what anyone can do if they wish if they work in this industry. But promise yourself just not to wait as long as I did before doing it..

Next week life on the SS Norway.


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