That first day when I put the red shirt on, my black pants and my Converse was one of the happiest days of my life. It was my first job in Australia. I was a waitress in a club in Darling Harbour.
I finished doing my hair and putting my make up on. I put the bottle opener in my pocket. I was ready and I was happy. It was an easy job, I had views of the Harbour from the bar, I was working with 90% Aussies and the wage was higher than what I first expected it to be.
Once I got to the club, the manager gave me an arm wrist band to be able to take payments and that was it. Let’s get the party started!
– Good evening
– Good evening, can I get 4 schooners of 4X and two of NEW?
– Hi, 3 double shots of Grey Goose with squash?
– Can I get 4 cowboys and 4 QF?
– Can I get two slippery nipples?
I felt like an idiot for 5 days, and then everything started to make sense. I have to say that I wasn’t afraid to ask my workmates every time, they understood that I came from Spain and were very helpful although sometimes I felt like I was annoying them. Once I got to know every name of every single beer/cider/wine/shot and spirit it became very easy.
When you come to Australia you have to be realistic. The most important question you have to ask to yourself is: How is my level of English?
If you’re level is very good, you can be a bartender.
If you’re level is OK, you can be a waitress or waiter.
If you’re level is poor, you can be a runner.
If you’re level of English is elementary, you can be a kitchen hand.
And even once you know that, you still have to assume that even if it’s an easy job, you are on the other side of the world and our drinking/eating culture is completely different.
Just imagine an Australian in the “Casa Paco” of your town surrounded of Spanish shouting out loud:
– Comanda! Una de tortilla, una de calamares, una de cortezas y siete serranitos. Dos claras con limón, 3 cañas, 1 tinto de verano y un fino marchaaandoooo!!
That Australian can try to translate it and the result would be:
– Command! A tortilla, a squid, one of seven serranitos bark. Two egg whites with lemon, 3 rods, 1 red summer and a fine marching!
And that’s not what I meant. We deal with loads of students who at the beginning feel miserable because they don’t understand.
Well, do not worry or panic, at the end you will understand. No matter what your level of English is, you will understand. After all, we all need a job and that need is the one that will make you understand. The names of the drinks and food are different here in OZ but the willingness to learn, the motivation, the punctuality, the responsibility and hard work are worldwide skills, and will make the difference in your waiter carreer in Australia too!