I never, ever in a million years thought I would end up at some point working in nightlife. By nightlife I mean, working at night, in nightclubs, speakeasies, concerts, music festivals, and all that goes into entertaining the masses after the sun goes down. I never thought I’d ever contribute to the midnight hussle, a creative of the night. But, as life would have it, student loans don’t pay themselves and writing jobs don’t pay that well at first, so I followed a check right into the extravagant and elusive Miami Nightlife.
I will admit, it does have it’s perks. It didn’t take too long for me to realize how many interesting people I’d get to meet, and connect with on a regular basis--people that would have been almost impossible to run into in regular life for a 20 year old straight out of college. People think you only run into pop stars, athletes and rappers in this scene, but it’s the Apple CEO, the Complex Magazine executive, and the Hollywood producer that make the experience really worth it. As a writer, some of these connections were invaluable to me, and I had no idea i could connect with people I would otherwise only be able to know across a boardroom, or after years of interning and paying my dues.
I also get to connect with these people in a completely pressure-free casual context, which allows me to bypass all the polite bullshit and get to know people, under the protective cover of dancing lights and champagne chilled to perfection. It all feels very surreal sometimes.
Yea, it can be pretty cool. I can't deny that it was being around all these established people, who can afford to splurge thousands of dollars just for fun, that catapulted my entrepreneurial spirit.
That’s all good, but it can also be stressful as fuck. That’s really what I want to talk about, because for some reason everyone thinks what I do is a constant party, a constant revolving door of cheap thrills and easy work.
Yeah, I wish. I read that being an event coordinator is actually one of the most stressful jobs, right after being a firefighter or being in the military (according to Forbes, 2017). And trust me, it doesn’t get any less stressful when you add drunk 20-somethings and demanding celebrities.
Here are 5 reasons why working in Nightlife can be stressful AS FUCK.
5. You’ll always have a fucked up schedule.
If you are in the nightlife industry, and have an ounce of ambition in you, chances are you can toss your planner right out the window, forever. Sometimes I have trouble feeling like a human. I’m up when everyone’s asleep and cripplingly tired when everyone else is up and starting their day. And the reality about being a night time impresario, is that you’ll be up during the day and throughout the night. You’ll be managing your night at night and preparing for them during the day.
Yup, you’ll be spending your mornings and afternoons answering phone calls, yelling at graphic designers, running through profit and loss reports, and obsessively monitoring social media activity way before doors even open. A great deal of planning goes into getting a lot of people to one place at a particular time, especially after midnight, and especially when you want them to stay and spend money. So, be ready for cat naps and putting makeup on in ubers.
4. Having fun becomes work.
I’m not going to lie to you, it can be fun being social, and working with people who want to have a good time, but whenever you have to constantly do something for work, well, it starts to feel like… work.
So, on my down time (when I have it) I just want to be alone and cater to myself for once. The more I work nightlife and work to create experiences for other people, it becomes harder and harder for me to just relax with my own friends when I’m actually the one who’s supposed to be having a good time.
I don’t really celebrate my birthdays anymore, I usually rather do something quiet and intimate. Family gatherings are that much more stressful for me. When I’m out with friends, I can’t help but micromanage everything, which exhausts me, and ends up feeling like work, leaving me wondering why I didn’t just stay in bed with Dragon (my dog). In this way, working nightlife can actually be social life killer.
3. It’s unstable.
I don’t think it’ll come any surprise that working nightlife is a bit unstable. And it’s not because there isn’t a lot of money in the business. There’s plenty of it, especially when you have ownership stake at a credible venue, or own your own night. The industry is really cutthroat.
When I started doing PR work for Varsity, I realized how much bullshit I had to deal with that I had no way of controlling. Competitors try to intervene with bookings, infiltrate your team for inside information, copy concepts, and straight up tell lies just to steal important clientele. It’s definitely a dog eat dog world in the politics of the nightlife industry, and you definitely have to keep your friends close, but your competitors closer.
2. Difficult VIP’s
Rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous can be cool and all, but they can also be annoying as fuck. Cool turns stressful very fast when you have to keep these people happy. Happy VIP’s mean they’ll stick around, and when they stick around, they spend more money, other people follow suit, and we get good press. Good press and money make the nightlife world go round. And all of that translates into real money in our pockets, and when it comes to VIPs, every motherfuckin’ detail counts.
Not surprisingly, VIPs have the clout and the resources to be anywhere they want, so they can be the most demanding, and unreasonable, especially when drunk. So, when Puff has you rope off an entire section in the main room for him, disrupting the entire flow of the party, then shows up at 3 am demanding a completely different section, that’s no longer available, you just have to make it work.
Puff must have a good time, or we failed everything. Weeks of planning and thousands of dollars can go to shit, if you fail at solving one of these spur of the moment, unforeseeable issues. When it comes to VIPs, everything that can go wrong, probably will.
Alcohol is fun. And, alcohol is definitely a catalyst for fun. However, dealing with drunk people while sober can be the most frustrating part. After a few times of trying to problem solve with the intoxicated, you’ll quickly pine for a job where you don’t have to deal with the temporarily insane. The 9-5 gig starts looking real good, real fast.
The hardest part? Not knocking a few back yourself. It gets so much easier to understand drunk people when you’re a little closer to their blood alcohol concentration. But a night where you end up dancing on the DJ booth in a mini skirt, does not add up to the most successful night (or so I’ve heard) …