Photo via Flickr user Trinity Lancaster

Not 9 to 5 is a non-profit organization empowering hospitality, food and beverage service workers by mobilizing education and support for mental health and substance use. Not 9 to 5 promotes harm reduction practices and helps to connect the hospitality workforce to mental wellness resources. We love real talk but loathe judgement and stigma. 

 

We chose Not 9 to 5 as our name to reflect the untraditional hours of our industry and the all-consuming nature of mental health and substance use challenges. Neither are confined to the hours of “9 to 5.”  We are committed to speaking loud and proud about the struggles we all face working in this industry in order to normalize the conversation and suffocate the stigma. 

There are challenges that are unique and extreme to the hospitality service industry including:

  • People who live with mental health and addiction challenges are drawn to our line of work and our industry has epidemic levels of both

  • Many jobs in restaurants and overall food and beverage service perpetuate unconventional hours, low pay, high-stress pressure, reliance on tips and a lack of healthcare benefits

  • There is easy access to alcohol and we have high rates of illicit substance use 

  • The culture in our industry has traditionally been shaped around masochism where workers repress and suppress mental and emotional experiences

 

Not 9 to 5 was created and developed by the industry for the industry to shift the workplace culture and increase psychological safety in kitchens, bars, restaurants and beyond. Psychological safety simply means that people feel comfortable and safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other without any fear of negative consequences. For too long workers have been told to "check their emotions at the door" and this intolerance of vulnerability has created an environment of suppression. In addition, our industry has easy access to substances and normalizes high levels of consumption which are often adopted as coping mechanisms. 

 

As friends, we've had endless conversations sharing our lived experiences from working in hospitality for decades. We started Not 9 to 5 in early 2018, since then we keep hearing more stories from our community, all over North America and beyond. We have come to understand that we are all more similar than different, each have our own versions of the same story and we are not alone. Anything we feel from working in this industry is a natural reaction to an abnormal event and environment. We are committed to planting seeds of change in the hospitality industry for the next generation. 

 

Co-founders, Hassel Aviles & Ariel Coplan

Hassel Aviles is an event producer, hospitality consultant and entrepreneur. Ariel Coplan is the executive chef at Distrikt 461 and co-owner, Grand Cru Deli. They have both completed the Mental Health First Aid certification program but are not mental health professionals. 

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