This is the first installment of a new monthly series by Beam Suntory Whiskey Ambassador Tim Heuisler--he’ll share useful wisdom for working one’s way through the industry, the ups and downs, and career advice as the FNG who’s been there/everywhere.
Tim Talks – The FNG (Forever New Guy) lands his dream job
This photo was the inspiration behind #Timtalks thanks to @iliveinmykilt for capturing my good side.
If you’re not familiar with the term ‘FNG’ then you probably are one. I hadn’t been the FNG for almost 10 years and then I joined Beam Suntory as their East Coast Whiskey Ambassador and, as expected, I was the FNG again. I knew it. I accepted it. It’s part of the process and, being from Philly, I’ve learned to trust the process.
However, after 9 months on the job, I assumed my FNG status was fading. Then Robin Nance, legendary Auchentoshan Brand Ambassador, recently introduced me as ‘The Forever New Guy.’ Whether she knows it or not, Nance is now one of my many mentors, so I accepted the label with a smile and will own it with humility and balance for as long as the company wants.
First USBG regional competition 2010 (?) – I did not win, nor do I remember what I was making.
When I was the FNG at Time Restaurant, a whiskey bar and jazz venue in Philadelphia, I constantly asked myself, “How can I prove to everyone at this bar that I’m good at what I do?” And the only solution I came up with was to go all-in. In the hospitality industry, that seems to be par for the course.
I loved bartending. I still do, and miss it at times. I took as many bartending shifts as I could get my hands on. I looked at our nightly service as a performance and being behind the bar meant you were center stage. But it comes at a cost.
It’s my mom’s birthday? Don’t care. Sick? Never heard of it. Get invited to the Super Bowl, all expenses paid, private jet, penthouse suite? Ok, that never happened, but still, I would have prioritized the shift. If the doors to the bar are open, that means we are working and that means I am working.
Over time, I came to realize that my identity was the bar and the restaurant. While I was no longer the FNG, I was hiring them. I expected them to be all-in, just like me. Work the bar; live the bar; represent the bar outside of work. Some people liked working on my team; others did not. I’d like to think I was a good leader because I tried to lead through my actions, and rarely my words, but we can’t please everyone.
This lifestyle took its toll, mentally and physically. While I was proud of my accomplishments at Time and earned the title of General Manager, I had no life.
I eventually decided I had to step away. I needed a break. Was being a GM really my identity? Fortunately, my boss gave me the nudge I needed, and I am forever grateful.
“Go see the world.”
I traveled for 5 months before returning to the world of employment. I joined Beam Suntory and I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that every experience I had prior to my final round of interviews helped me secure this dream job. Including being the FNG.
Somewhere in Thailand, trying to determine if the GoPro was recording. It was.
There’s a stipulation about being a FNG that it’s not fun, but I think that has a lot to do with the veterans in the workplace and the mindset of the new guy. As the FNG, it’s safe to say you’re not going to get the hours and shifts of your choice. Understandable. You have to pay your dues. But try not to let less-than-ideal hours interfere with your life and any hobbies you might have going into the new job.
We hear the term “work/life balance” thrown around a lot these days, but it seems that not many of us are achieving it. It’s a beautiful thing when you can identify with your job, but should we let it define us? I encourage you to take a step back and examine that fine line and determine which side you fall on. Both are acceptable. Neither one is right or wrong. Do you prefer your Manhattan up or on the rocks? Oh shoot, did I just open a can of worms?
I’m happy with how I got to where I am today, but it came with its fair share of failures and I’d be naïve to think more failures aren’t ahead of me… let’s hope this blog isn’t one of them.
Until next month,
Tim Heuisler, FNG