Before getting into radio, I spent 20+ years working in the service industry, starting at age 14. I’ve worked multiple positions within restaurants, but I’ve primarily been a cook. I saw quite a lot in those 20 years, including things I wish I could forget, and things I’m glad I’ve been a part of and wouldn’t have been any other way. It’s made me a better person, and there’s several reasons why.
It Makes You More Respectful
Whenever I’m out, I can always tell who’s worked in the bar/restaurant industry, and who hasn’t. I’m certainly not alone there. We former and current service industry people have developed somewhat of a “Spidey-Sense” when it comes to that sorta thing.
Usually the biggest clue is shown by how people treat the server/bartender. People who’ve worked in the service industry are always super polite and understanding of the people serving us. We get it. We’ve been in those shoes before.
It’s been said that the biggest indicator of a person’s character is how they treat people below their post. I’ve seen this in action way too many times. I’ve cut off dates with women in the past because they were disrespectful to the server or bartender during our date. People miss out on promotions at work for this exact reason as well.
Work the service industry. It humbles you.
It Teaches You Skills That Stick
One post service industry skill I’m glad I’ve hung onto is my ability to cook. Spending all that time in the kitchen has not only made me a very adept cook, but a very creative one as well. The longer you spend in the kitchen, the more combinations of food you get introduced to, and the more adventurous you get behind your own grill or stove at home. I always cook for my friends at my house, and they always compliment my efforts to the moon and stars. I still love making people smile with my work, despite no longer working in a kitchen professionally.
This goes for other bar/restaurant positions as well. People who used to be servers are some of the best people I’ve ever met when it comes to time management and organizational skills. Bartenders are exceptionally speedy with basic math problems. And we all know a handful of cleaning shortcuts that make household chores go faster.
We Don’t Buckle Under Pressure
Restaurant work is one of the most stressful types of work there is. In fact, it’s so stressful, the stress levels frequently rate higher than even that of police work. Our life isn’t even on the line, but boy can it ever feel that way sometimes. You work a couple of shifts where you’re already shorthanded on a busy night, and someone calls in sick to top it off, it changes you. You have to handle twice as many tables and twice as many orders as usual, but the urgency doesn’t change. The customers don’t care. They still want their food, and they want it NOW.
Because of that, we grow into people who are “no nonsense”. We don’t take crap from others. We also don’t fold when the chips are down. We may have developed some unhealthy coping habits, but we still handle the pressure better than most. This is a particularly special skill later in life for things that are much more important than remembering the ranch dressing for table 3.
Overall, service industry work is something that makes a better person out of you in more ways than one. I honestly wish more people would do it, if for no other reason than living in a world where people are more understanding of one another.
My hat goes off to any and all who have done it, or are still doing it.
Now share this with your friends so they see it too.