A couple of months before I turned twenty I landed my first bar job in the inner-city suburb of Darlinghurst, a five-minute walk from the disreputable nightclub district of Kings Cross, Sydney.

With the new bar job came the late night shifts; 7pm-close. The bar had a twenty-four hour licence, but choose to close their doors at 4am week nights and 5am on Fridays and Saturdays. This didn’t bother me, as the pay was much better than any previous work I had done, plus I was young and naive.

My stint there lasted only three months; having the licensee and his wife high on cocaine most nights of the week was probably why I left. The majority of my bar-tending years were spent working at the oldest, “continually licensed” hotel in Sydney, located in The Rocks; a well-known tourist destination.

Although I met a lot of great people along the way, shared many laughs and interesting conversations, I had worked as a bartender for almost six years and had finally come to the end of my tether. The money and the party-like atmosphere was no longer alluring for me, so I chose to leave.

I now work in a warm and cozy, little café and have the pleasure of not having to work late shifts or try to cope with the occasional intoxicated, obnoxious and argumentative customer.

Here’s to the early mornings, early knock-offs, the smell of freshly ground coffee, bacon and eggs and the friendly people I work alongside.

It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.