“schooner of VB, thanks mate”- ethnography in industry

After working in a specific workplace for a while, you begin to adjust to the patterns within the workplace, what happens and at what time, when to complete tasks and when to anticipate busy periods. Being aware of these patterns not only helps you complete tasks more efficiently, but it creates a united culture within employees, as you all become aware of the same patterns and you are able to work together to further improve the resulting efficiency. Along with learning patterns within the function of the workplace, you also become familiar with the common stakeholders within your job, most commonly, your colleagues and your customers.

I work at my local RSL as a bartender, primarily doing tray service in the restaurant or serving people from the main bar in the club. The main demographic would be adults aged 35 years old upwards, with the majority being almost elderly, so what I’m dealing with is a huge generational gap, and over time, I have adjusted to serving a group that I’m not normally around. Another adjustment I have made is serving regular customers, many patrons visit daily, and I am able to start pouring their drink of choice before they even get to the bar, I more often know someone by what beer they drink before I even know their name.

Not only is observing my customers at work important to my service and efficiency, it’s also important for legal reasons. Because I’m serving alcohol, it’s vital that I closely follow my RSA laws in order to ensure I’m only serving people of age, and not serving intoxicated people, in which I need to closely pay attention to the appearance and behaviours of the people I’m serving.

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Drinking is embedded into Australian culture, usually discussed in satirical and comedic ways, especially through media. Overseas media also conveys this stereotype, depicting Australians as thong wearing, beer gut bogans. Because of this culture, drinking is often the subject of memes shared across social media.

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The satire, fake news page The Betoota Advocate creates articles supporting this comedy, and they are often shared on our private Facebook group between colleagues. These satirical articles hold great appeal to us because they so accurately capture issues we face every day, in a light-hearted way. Because of this, this form of digital communication holds an important role in bonding and relating to each other’s working experience.

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