A while back I shared a list of things I’d learned about the world by virtue of working in Portland’s nightlife scene.
Initially the intent was to be ironic, a sort of tongue-in-cheek jab back at all the good-intentioned but admittedly irritating souls that would constantly comment on how “working at a bar isn’t a real job” and how I was “wasting my weekends.”
But as I wrote, I started to realize just how influential the work was to the development of my overall character. I noticed all the skills I’d picked up along the way that carried over into all sorts of other aspects of my life. I noticed I wasn’t even close to the same person I was when I started picking up a shift or two here and there for a few extra bucks on the weekend. I noticed how much the experiences had truly taught me.
And so I posted a serious version instead in hopes it may teach another person or two some of the lessons I’d learned. And it did.
Below you’ll find the second edition of “Ten Life Lessons Learned from Bouncing.” Maybe a few will resonate with you, too.Reputation always precedes you, for better or worse.
1. You’re everybody’s “friend” when you can do something for them
2. They disappear remarkably fast when the tide inevitably ebbs. Forgive, but don’t forget.
3. Jedi Mind Tricks are a real fuckin thing. These are not the drinks you’re looking for.
4. Ideally there are two kinds of leaders in a team: the peacemakers and the peacekeepers. Peacekeepers maintain order. Peacemakers restore order.
5. As Jordan Peterson says: “A weak man is not a good man. A good man is a dangerous man with his power under voluntary control.” We should all strive to be the most diplomatic people we can possibly be at all times; we should also have a healthy side of “fuck around and find out” on the back burner. Just in case.
6. Sometimes you gotta be the bad guy to be the good guy. Don’t worry about explaining yourself, it rarely works and never matters in the big picture.
7. Humans as a whole are incredibly impressionable. This is obscenely dangerous in group settings, however it can be mitigated by establishing a specific individual as a sort of mediator responsible for setting the tone. As long as you keep that individual level, the rest will follow.
8. Focusing naively on what an ideal situation would look like as opposed to the reality of what it actually is is the simplest way to ruin anything and put yourself in harm’s way. To paraphrase the great Sherlock Holmes: Theories to suit the facts, not facts to suit your theories. Reality is sometimes unpleasant and uncomfortable. That doesn’t mean you can ignore it like it doesn’t exist.
9. Give an inch and they will try to take a mile. Do not waver and do not bend, set your feet where you draw the line and don’t ever move from it. No exceptions.10. Making a decision that ends up being the wrong one is always better than hesitating and refusing to make a decision at all.