1. Be prepared for a high-stress work environment. Nightclubs are notorious for being dead in the beginning of your shift and filling up really quickly shortly afterwards. If you work in a high-volume nightclub make sure you come mentally prepared for organized chaos.
2. Learn basic math. If you’re in a position that deals with the transaction of money, be very careful. Make sure you keep track of every dollar that goes through your hands. Some places don’t allow calculators on the floor, so before you pursue a career in the nightclub scene you absolutely have to know basic math.
3. Come prepared. Make sure you eat a meal before you start your shift so that you have enough energy to last throughout the entire night. Bring all the tools necessary to perform your job well. If you’re a bartender or bottle service professional, make sure you have pens, bottle openers and a flashlight on you at all times. This will save you time and having to deal with an aggravated manager.
4. Don’t complain. Don’t complain when something doesn’t go your way. If you’re pissed off that your manager gave your shift to someone else, don’t cry about it or make a fuss. Brush it off and keep going. At the end of the day, you’re a small pawn in the grand scheme of things. The last thing you want to do is become labelled as a “complainer”. Management has no time or desire to deal with unhappy employees especially in this economic environment where there are lineups of potential new staff vying for a position in a high-volume nightclub. The new staff will more than likely put up with pretty much anything. You’re special in the nightclub industry. You’re completely disposable.
5. Work hard. It can be quite hard sometimes to focus on the task at hand, especially if you’re privy to working in nightclubs that house some of the greatest DJ’s in the world. I get it, I’ve been there. But you have to be working at all times – you can’t afford not to. You’re there to work and make money (always be grateful that you have the privilege to work at a nightclub). You should absolutely enjoy yourself while you’re working – all the power to you. But always remember that management is counting on you to pull your weight and if you start slacking even for a little bit, you’ll get sent home in a heartbeat.
6. Don’t get intoxicated during your shift. Again, this can be quite difficult sometimes, especially if you managed to get a horde of your friends to visit you at work. But you absolutely must resist. The last thing your manager or your co-workers need is another intoxicated person in the club, especially one that has access to cash. Leave the drinking to your friends and patrons. It’s also illegal in some parts of the world for you to drink while working. Check your local bylaws.
7. Respect your co-workers. Nothing is worse than having a co-worker on the floor that doesn’t pull their weight. Don’t be messy and if you are, please clean up after yourself. Everyone has duties, and everyone needs to help in a group effort during closing time. I know sometimes it gets hard when you’re stuck in a dingy nightclub until 6am…but it’s part of your job and you knew this when you started your position. So suck it up and pick up a mop and bucket and start polishing those floors!
8. Make friends with the promoters. Become friends with the promoters because they will bring you customers. It’s a win-win scenario. They bring you customers; you serve them their promo bottles/drinks for free. They also aren’t usually bound to promoting for only one club, so establishing connections in the industry is crucial. They could potentially hook you up with a new job in another club should you screw up your opportunity. They can also get you, more than likely, into other clubs for free. So put the bitchy attitude away and smile. It’s not a big deal if you’re stuck serving some promoters for free for a night.
9. Attire. Come to work well groomed and dressed well. Most nightclubs have a strict policy when it comes to what they will allow their service staff to wear. If you’re doing bottle service or bartending you will more than likely have a uniform. If you don’t like it, quit. Don’t make a fuss (remember rule 4). Make sure you’re extremely presentable and that your uniform is clean. More than likely you’ll have to wash your uniform all the time because it does get messy. Doing a couple of loads of laundry more per week won’t kill you. There’s no excuse for you to come to work looking like a train wreck. (If you’re not involved with customers directly, disregard this rule.)
10. Honesty. There’s a lot of stealing that happens in nightclubs. I’ve seen it all. Free-pouring, cracking spouts, bringing in bottles of alcohol from home, over-charging, watering down drinks, stealing credit cards, etc. Bottom line: you will get caught eventually. Whether a co-worker rats your shady-ass out or your manager catches you, you’re toast. Is it really worth it to taint your reputation for a couple of extra dollars? I get the arguments that some use to defend stealing. Namely: high-tip outs, dead nights, lots of bills, etc. But realistically stealing is stealing. There is no excuse and you just shouldn’t do it. It’s ugly and it affects the club and your co-workers as well.