Will I regret working a side job in a restaurant instead of focusing on my software engineering career?

I’m a 24M currently working as a software engineer. Since graduating college, I’ve developed an interest in making cocktails and bartending, and it is now one of my life goals to become a bartender. So in addition to working as a SWE, I have also been working as a server at a Buffalo Wild Wings for the last 6 months. Even though I’m not a bartender (yet), I’ve found it very eye-opening, enriching, and fun.

Some in my family tell me that working in a restaurant is a waste of my time, and I would be better off spending that time staying up to date with the tech landscape and improving my software engineering ability. At this time, I disagree with this. I still generally like developing software, and do intend for it to be my career, but I’m no longer as passionate about it and I don’t want computer-related things to be the main focus of my life. I find more joy in having different and diverse experiences, and working in the service industry is part of that for me.

As I get older and the tech industry, my desires, and obligations change, there is a chance I will regret the time I spent working at a restaurant instead of investing more time in my career. This question resolves on March 27th, 2029 to YES if at that point I do regret spending time working in a restaurant, and NO if I do not.

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Honestly, a bartender job seems much less automatable :)

Bar tending is a very social occupation. If you spend your time doing something that brings you fulfillment, then it will probably bring you together with other people who share your passion, acquaintances, friends, romantic partners.

I don't think you will regret your path because I believe you will likely stumble into some relationships that feel important to you and it will be hard to imagine what an alternative path without those relationships would have looked like. Of course there is no answer to the question of which path will make you happier in that respect, or would have made you happier.

Good luck to you!

May you never regret pursuing your passions ❤️ you can always bring your swe expertise to bear on the next great thing in the food and drink industry as it evolves and use swe as a fallback provided you remain current in skillsets.

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