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Wade Tyler Millward: Software CEO walks into a bar — and hires the bartender

Wade Tyler Millward, on

Published in Home and Consumer News

How's this for a job applicant's profile? Multitasks effectively. Makes decisions under pressure. Works well with others, even the grumps. Excellent at selling new products. Keeps a clean workspace.

All in a day's work for the nation's 650,000 bartenders, who constitute one of the most idled job classifications during the coronavirus shutdown. With bars and restaurants ordered closed, bartender joblessness in some areas has been nearly absolute. In Washington state, 100% of the 14,000 or so bartenders had filed for unemployment insurance by late April.

The food services industry overall shed 5.5 million jobs in April, with only some of those jobs recouped in May, followed by a new wave of closures in July in the wake of a surge in virus cases.

Many a bartender will wait this one out and go back to pouring beers, mixing drinks and listening to hard-luck stories. But for some, the diminished prospects of the business -- distancing likely means fewer packed bars and emptier tip jars -- will lead them to consider other pastimes. What could they do?

Selling software might sound like a stretch, but think about it: The engineers do the coding, but it takes someone with people skills to sell software as a service, the dominant and lucrative business model the industry has adopted. Companies get subscription fees from customers, and salespeople can earn hefty upfront commissions based on the long-term value of the subscription. That's why the tech industry has been gobbling up liberal arts grads for years, as this study revealed:

And more recently, tech and other companies have realized that the college degree they've used as a screening tool for applicants isn't all that necessary, and have begun looking at actual aptitude as opposed to lines on a resume.


Hospitality workers have a lot to offer software companies, said Chris Carlson, president of Sales Talent, a Bellevue, Wash.-based business-to-business (B2B) sales recruiting firm. Chicago-based nonprofit Re:work training, which provides software sales training to low-income and racially diverse people, has successfully placed servers, stay-at-home parents, teachers and rideshare drivers, said Shelton Banks, CEO.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics put bartenders' median pay last year at $11.39 an hour -- about $24,000 for the year, though perhaps not every tip was declared. Software sales job openings, meanwhile, north of $50,000 can be found at:


This San Francisco-based company provides software to help other companies manage customer relationships. Its website lists openings for sales or business development representatives to help the company grow in the public sector and its Commerce Cloud online retail product. According to Glassdoor, business development reps at Salesforce see an average total pay of $80,000, with base pay around $54,000.


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