I’ve been a waitress since I was 18. My first job was in a restaurant as a hostess. It’s been nearly 10 years since I first stepped foot in the industry that has become somewhat of a second home for me.
I’ve made my very best friends working in restaurants. Two of them are my bridesmaids. You truly become one big, slightly dysfunctional family. You’ll scream at each other during the dinner rush and then go out for drinks together after work. The money is easy and it comes fast. The hours are flexible, allowing you to go to college, work another job or spend time with your family.
It’s an easy job, but hard all at the same time. Physically, it wears on you. Now that I’ve been doing it for a while, my feet and knees start to hurt by the end of a long shift. My right shoulder hurts from carrying trays and food with that arm all the time. It’s so demanding. You rarely have a moment to rest on the busy nights.
Then there’s the customers. Oh, the customers. Most of them are fine. Just people looking to have a meal and leave. Once in a while you get the really generous customer. But then there’s the other customers. The ones who claim to know the owner and treat you like you owe them the world for being in the building. The ones who talk to you like you are an idiot. The ones who leave you no tip, even though everything was good with their experience. Those are the people who make you want to move on.
Some people have compared the restaurant industry to gambling. You just can’t stay away. Always waiting for the next big tip. Always blowing your money after a good shift. Then realizing you blew most of the money you made and the cycle starts over.
Now that I’m working in an office and only serving here and there, I miss it. I miss the fun of working with my friends. I miss the fast-paced atmosphere. And yes, I miss the money. Even though I make more money now, there’s nothing like the satisfaction of leaving your shift with a pile of cash.
What are your thoughts on the service industry? Have you ever worked in it?