Folks, please welcome new contributor to the Panda site, Rob Reed. Rob “The Captain” Reed has been in the biz over 20 years, working mainly middle market clubs. Since 2005, he’s spent much of his time at Pharoahs in Buffalo, NY, with a year and a half run in West Palm Beach.
It’s been proven time and time again, study after study, that stress affects health. In our industry as PANDA’s we at times are put under enormous stress and pressure. Whether it is a high volume multi-stage club, a mid-market party club or the simplest small club we find ourselves daily pushed to the limit and in many cases surrounded by high demands and at times plenty of negativity. Most clubs look to us as the nerve center of the club, and most if not all departments go through the booth. Owners expect energy in the room and efficiency, keeping the entertainers happy and working, but at the same time enforcing the particular club’s policies. Phones are constantly ringing, customers are always demanding a change of the music, entertainers upset they cannot play theirs, entertainers coming and going in your rotation for a myriad of reasons and in between all of this. You are chasing your next entertainer AND putting on a show at the same time.
Depending on where you work, you may even be doing more than the basics, you may be part of the management team, having to help with the operations beyond the booth. You may be involved in a new and upcoming club working long hours, many days in a row. You may be installing or doing construction in your club, doing file keeping and records, you may be doing outside events and promotions giving your time to help your club and find ways to help it grow.
So what is the point?
Stress is a killer. Be it physical or mental. Even on a slow boring shift you can still feel what I like to call “the drain”. On the busy, high-girl-count, weekend nights, at times you can feel like you’re reaching your breaking point. On occasion, this poses no real harm. But, as days turn into weeks, weeks to months, months to years it will begin to take a physical and mental toll, and if left unchecked could lead to much bigger and more serious issues. Many turn to substance or alcohol to make it through the shift; I have more nights than I can remember. That going unchecked could lead to losing your job, ruining your reputation, and creating quite a mess of your life. This is not to say you must walk the straight and narrow, but take a look at the outside in and see how hard you are pushing yourself and for how long can you keep going. Those nights add up. Being surrounded in such a stressful environment and, at times, the constant bombardment of negative energy and unhappy people around you really can drain you and hurt your overall health.
So what do we do?
Now, aside from the last time I played high school football so many years ago, I cannot remember the last time I was in a real gym or had an organized workout. Eating right and exercise or simply being active are great of course, but for many of us, our schedules and life demands may not give us the opportunity to follow the standard plan. But now with PANDA putting forward the industry health plan, this will give many of us great opportunities to focus a bit more on our health. It is not just the physical part but also the mental that is critical. Every one of us must find the time to relax. It is just that simple. You have to give your mind a rest daily after the constant bombardment we face in the booth nightly. Everyone should make sure to set aside a block of time to clear your head and relax doing something you enjoy. Keep yourself as stress-free as possible during that time. Don’t think about your finances or family obligations (important, yes!) take the time to wind down, to exhale from the shift, and be free from any burdens to your thoughts. Especially don’t think of work during this time, politics of work or any other subject that will potentially lead to negative thoughts. It may sound silly, but it works. For us masters of multi-tasking, our minds are always running at max power, you have to give your body and mind this time. Stress is a gateway to a slew of problems and for any of us to survive long term in this business, you have to first take care of your biggest need…you.
– Captain Rob