Old Occupations Being Hip Again
With social changes, did old occupations evolve and become different cultures? Richard E. Ocejo, the author of the “Masters of Craft: Old Jobs in the New Urban Economy,” found out that these old trades had reversed different cultural trends nowadays.

PhotoAkker Publishing

TextWenchien Wu

Artisans weren't to be expected to have good prospects a long time ago. Having a trade of outstanding craftsmanship could neither bring the artisans corresponding income nor that people regard them as the people engaged in noble work. But now, some artisans start and try to make a change, no longer sticking to traditions, and use their expertise to connect with relevant communities. The trend for the jobs of craft is roaring back.

Richard E. Ocejo, a professor of sociology at John Jay College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), observed such a social phenomenon. So he conducted field research to collect information and data on the four occupations, including the bartender, winemaker, barber, and butcher, to carefully sort out the changes in these jobs over the passing decades.

Gentrification of the Artisan's Craftsmanship
The book takes the bartender as an example. Prohibition in the United States of 1919 was a nationwide ban on the bars serving alcoholic beverages, which made all the bars transform into secret speakeasies. Therefore, the speakeasy was born. It leads to many bars in the present day keeping the secret characteristic in memory to commemorate the history of alcohol prohibition.

Photo by Chantal Martubeau

However, this old trade, bartender, has been nearly forgotten by the world nowadays. Bartenders don't exchange and communicate with each other, but just serve the minority customers with basic mixing drinks.
At that time, bartenders were frequently asked by people, "what's your main occupation?" It seems that people don't recognize bartender as a decent job, but just use it to sustain a living. And bartenders' dream might be to become an actor, screenplay writer, or artist.

A Good Job or a True Vocation of Life
Today, people clearly realize that bartending is a career with specialized techniques. More than just bartending a cup of alcoholic drinks for the customer, a bartender needs to understand the characteristics of each liquor, the recipes for mixing drinks, and even the history of mixology.

Photo by Richard E. Ocejo

Nowadays, there are relevant bartender associations worldwide. Even these organizations in various cities exchange with each other. The linkage of bars makes the entire cultural circle more complete. Such changes attract more people's attention to getting close to the drinking culture.
Bartenders, Knowing More than just Bartending
The bartender that Richard E. Ocejo knew once told Ocejo that a bartender knew more than just bartending. A mixologist must understand how to use their experience, knowledge, and skills to provide excellent customer service. Those who truly understand this occupation take care of the customer's additional requirements.

Photo by Andriyko Podilnyk

Like, when a customer enters the bar on a rainy day. What a bartender does first is to give the customer a piece of paper towel that the customer could use to wipe his glasses instead of inquiring about what the customer wants to drink. How to serve the customers well is the most challenging part of a bartender's work.

Photo by Chantal Martubeau

If you're interested in the lives of barbers and winemakers and the changes they've gone through, read the Masters of Craft: Old Jobs in the New Urban Economy to know more. You'll understand how the changes in these old trades, from traditionally low-status manual occupations to "cool" and highly specialized careers.

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