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I'll never forget the feeling after walking out of my interview. A red polo shirt in one hand, and an ear piece in the other. Heart beating at a hundred miles per hour and droplets of sweat drenching my bra straps.
I didn't know what a steward was. To me, it sounded like a fun job similar to that of an air hostess; greeting people and getting an occational compliment, or worst case scenario working in catering. To be honest, I wasn't far off the idea of having to welcome people and have a generally calm and happy attitude; but it was only signing a contract and walking out of the office when I realized that stewarding at a nightclub would be an entirely different experience.
I put my oversized uniform on, looked in the mirror, and noticed my resemblance to a McDonald's employee. Then, I walked to the club. I thought I was prepared for a six hour shift finishing at 3:30 AM. I've always been a shy person, especially when I'm being thrown into a pool of new people but I thought to myself: "Listen, lady. You're gonna walk in there with a good attitude and become friends with the rest of the steward family."
I was glad to see I wasn't the only girl working there. The others were of all shapes and sized which made me feel a bit more confident in that I wasn't the only one that was going to die if we had to break up a fight. They gave me a seven-minute training on all the codes to say on the radio, on the things I wasn't allowed to do (like be on my phone or sit down), and that was it. Oh, they also told me I would be fine. But I wasn't.
I was given the "easiest" position for the whole night, in the main bar looking out for falling drunks, drugs, drinks on the pool tables, spills, and puking girls in the toilets. In my first year of university, I went out religiously two times a week and drank more than I could handle. One time, I slit my eyebrow on the club's sink because I wasn't wearing my glasses and I wanted to drink water. Another time I got a black eye because me and another person headbutted each other on the steps. How was I supposed to deal with people like that Confrontation is among the top things that scare me, as well as bitchy girl cliques staring me down.
Throughout the night, I pretended to look busy and to know what I was doing by mopping up the tiniest spillages... but really I was busy staring, analysing, and absorbing all the activity and people around me. As an aspiring sociologist, people watching is the most interesting thing on the planet. I will be discussing the amount of things I have encountered while working here in another post, since I gather it will be a long, long list. On the other hand, what I can say is that after an eight hour night shift (NOT six like the time sheet promised), cleaning toilets, changing bin bags, and washing the mops (stuff that WAS NOT mentioned in my contract), I ran home and cried myself to sleep.
Only to get up the next day and start again.