In a packed pub in midtown Manhattan, Ryan Flagherty is surrounded on three sides by people clamoring for his attention, the Los Angeles Times reports. He spins one way and pours a shot of vodka into a glass, then turns around and wedges a lime into a bottle of Corona, pushing it across the counter. Ignoring the annoyed gaze of a bulky man on his right, he turns again to a touch-screen register to ring up the sales. It’s just a minute out of the grueling, physically demanding eight-hour shift that will last long into the night. But Flagherty, 28, isn’t complaining. With the generous tips of New Yorkers and his pick of shifts, he pulls in around $80,000 a year as a bartender. It’s more than he was offered for various office jobs he considered when he arrived in the city, even though he’s highly educated. “I have a master’s in economics and I’m bartending in New York,” he said with a shrug. “It’s a good way to make money.”

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