Benjamin Ecker - Carnegie Hotel
Although my experience bartending in Johnson City at the Carnegie Hotel is limited to the past 6 months, every opportunity has been eventful. Prior to bartending, I worked at the Carnegie as a banquet server for two years, with only occasional opportunities to bartend small events. Recently, Ive been bartending nearly all the large parties and weddings, some upwards of 200 people. This can be a bit stressful, especially when everyone shows up at the same time ready to drink and socialize. The different academic departments at East Tennessee State University have events at the Carnegie, and they tend to be very tame. On the other side of the spectrum, there are a few Greek life events every year, usually fraternity and sorority formals, which can get a little wild. During wedding season, we average one wedding a week, which is awesome for business. Our guests always have a great experience thanks to our very hardworking and professional banquet staff, managed by Matt Dickerson. It’s almost the most wonderful time of year, and with that comes the holiday parties. My experience with these events over the last two years have all been on the banquet serving side, but this year I expect that will change. I am excited for what the next couple months bring, as I know my bars will be very busy and full of all types of people. We get all sorts of people who have events here, blue collar to white collar, young to old, and informal to formal parties. I’ve learned over the last few months that the money made while bartending can fluctuate greatly and is always subject to the event. For instance, I’ve had some large weddings where I’ve made very little money, and some small parties where I’ve made a lot of money. I think the inconsistency may be the one thing that separates bartending for banquets from bartending at a restaurant or club. As a full-time college student, this job is great, especially since most of our business happens on the weekends. This gives me a great opportunity to hit the books during the week, and remain in a good spot financially from the money made on the weekends. Work-life balance can be difficult, but thanks to my boss, we can easily work around my school schedule to make sure I not only can attend classes, but also have ample time to do my school work outside of class. To conclude, bartending banquets at the Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City has been life changing. It’s opened my eyes to all types of people, improved my work ethic, and given me people skills that I will use for the rest of my life.