A typical job in a pub

Article reviewed: 2013/01/28 | Next review due: 2014/08/16

Kévin recounts his experience of being glass collector in a pub

Kévin is 25 and has lived in London for three years. He remembers his first few months in London, with limited English and experience. With perseverance, he managed to get hired as a glass collector in a pub, and he shared his experience with us:

My first step was to visit my local Jobcentre to look at online job postings. After two or three calls to Bar Managers, I realised that I wouldn’t be able to get a job over the phone because of my English, so I wrote down all the addresses of the bars, and pubs seeking staff and when directly there with my CV in hand and a big smile on my face!

When looking for a job in a pub, restaurant or even a shop, the old method of going door to door still seems to work. Your future employers know exactly who they’re dealing with as they’re meeting them face to face rather than over the phone.

Kévin also remembers how his motivation has made the difference:

If I didn’t get given a trial shift, then I’d leave my CV with all the pubs in the neighbourhood, saying that I was available for any number of hours, full or part time, weekend or weekday.

It is important to tell the workplace your availability, as often students may be able to work weekends but not weekdays.

Let them know that your schedule is flexible and that you are free any time. Often, managers may be let down by staff at the last minute, so knowing that there is someone flexible to take over if ideal. You can even stipulate on your CV that you can be there in an hour if necessary.

Glass collector?

A job as a glass collector is almost unique to England and is down to it’s famous pub culture. Kévin explains,

The job involves picking up empty glasses, taking care not to pick up anyone’s unfinished pint! You always need to ask the customers if you can take the glasses away. Then, you load the dishwasher and place the clean glasses at the bar for the barstaff. This job isn’t the most rewarding in the world, but it’s a good springboard to get you started. It will help you improve your vocabulary and familiarise yourself with the different accents of your colleagues and clients.

If you English isn’t great, it’s important to show how motivated you are to your prospective employer. A manager may not want to repeat everything twice, especially when it's busy. Kévin finally got the job of glass collector because he replaced someone at short notice. He remembers,

A week later I was still looking for a job when the manager of the first bar asked if I was interested in being a glass collector on Friday and Saturday nights! After several weeks in the job proving that I was a hard working, I asked if it was possible to have a few more hours work, and I eventually started working behind the bar. It really improved my English, and after two months, I became a full-time barman.

Tooltip information:

  • Glasses: Glasses – also called eyeglasses (formal), spectacles, or specs (informal)
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