Thanks guys. This is incredibly helpful. Reading your responses helps take some of the edge off of my current panic. My desire to do this may be a byproduct of my current existential crisis (been in the software game a bit too long, methinks...), but I still like the idea of working in someone else's boots for a while. Comments in reply:
a LOT of people volunteer to work in breweries
Really? Somehow I find this both surprising and unsurprising at the same time. Do you think they're chasing experience like I am, or they just think they can get free beer? Knowing the competition could give me an edge in being successful.
if you go volunteer at a brewery they are the ones doing you a favor
I have no illusion that it is otherwise. I'd be extremely grateful to anyone who would let me in their doors on my crazy adventure.
Most of jobs in the brewer are non glamoures jobs. Lots of cleaning. Some heavy lifting.
Make sure the brewers know that you're willing to do the simple tasks like scrubbing floors or the outsides of kegs, or mucking the mash tun - things that can't really be screwed up.
I anticipated that, at best, they'd limit me to the first two. Mucking out the mash tun sounds like a blast!
I would be more interested in longer term part time commitment then a few full days and you are gone.THAT
is a most valuable response, and makes me glad I came to this forum to ask.
I would not be opposed to this. My current job is full time but flexible enough that I could squeeze in some time at a second job. Staying in this frame of mind, if it were me proposing this to you, what type of commitment would you be looking for? A number of hours per week? A number of days per week? ("Hey, just leave those kegs until Tuesday when the part-time dude is here.") How useful would weekends be? (Most of my brewery visits are done on weekends and they rarely seem busy with actual brewing activities.)
Related to this, I assume that breweries do occasionally have open positions they hire for. What's the best way to go about finding those, to understand what a brewery looks for when hiring?
Also, another approach I've been considering as a first step is to ask a few brewers to do an informational interview. Just a 1/2 hour of doing one-on-one Q&A with me. How do you think that would go over?
Again, thanks for your responses, guys. I really
appreciate it. This is very helpful.