Waiting tables is not an easy job. Some may make it look easy or you may think you could do a better job than us but the truth is, it takes a lot of time and experience to become a proficient waiter or waitress. You're basically going up to strangers and trying to get them to like you enough to give you as much money as possible, but you only have about a 45-minute time frame. When people say first impressions never go away, they aren't kidding. Especially in this world. So what would make someone want to work for about $2.83 an hour, run around like a crazy person, get food spilled on them, get yelled at for the way the food tastes (even though we don't cook it) and get out late at night only to get up the next day to do it all over again?
Here are some reasons that I think that it's worth it.
1. Cash Literally All the Time
A server's tips are usually all in cash, except for the occasional credit card tips, which most businesses tip you out of the drawer at the end of the night. This means that every time you work, you get to come home with money, rather than waiting 2 weeks for another paycheck. Granted, the paychecks aren't really anything worth waiting for considering your hourly wage, but at least you're making money that you can immediately use or save. I only allow myself to spend my cash and put all of my checks into the bank. This helps me to use my money wisely, since I don't take anything out of the bank and only have so much cash at a time which is super helpful, especially for a college student.
2. Constantly Staying Active
Remember the "running around like a crazy person" thing I mentioned earlier? It's true. If there's a rush for dinner or lunch, you may not stop moving for 3 hours straight, depending on how many tables you have and how close together they come in or even how many people there are at each table. If you think about it, we go to and from just one table at least 8-9 times, usually more. Then add on however many other tables we have and then the side work in the kitchen that has to be completed before we leave for the night and those steps sure do add up. You get your exercise when you serve, I will say that.
3. Being Around People
This could be a positive or a negative aspect depending on the person or your mood to be honest. However, I personally enjoy being around (most) people. I have so many good stories from nights and days that I have served that I will personally never forget. There may be some not-so-nice customers that come in, but in all honesty, the good customers make up tenfold for the bad ones. There have been nights where I have not been myself because of something going on in my life and even though I tried not to let it show through, it did. I can't tell you how many customers truly took time out of their day to try and brighten mine up. People are not all inherently evil and this job just shows you that.
4. Being Able to Switch Shifts
If something comes up and I can't make it to my shift that night or I have plans that came up when I'm scheduled, there's always someone that you can ask to take your shift, which is awesome. Not a lot of jobs out there allow you the ability to call someone else to come in and work for you and it not be a problem. It helps that most people out there that serve would gladly take your shift (probably because it means more money for them). It's super convenient and helpful being able to be replaced sometimes.
5. You Learn How to be Part of a Team
Serving requires a lot of teamwork. Whether it be between you and the other servers, the kitchen staff, the bussers, and even the dishwashers. You're all a big, happy, sometimes dysfunctional team. You rely on others to do the job well so that you can do your job well and at first it's a culture shock. Working in a kitchen is very different from a lot of other jobs and you will quickly learn that. This is an enormous skill to have because, for one, it builds character. Sometimes a member of your team may not be pulling their weight, but instead of getting upset and angry, you pick up the slack and let it roll off your back. That's character. It will also prepare you for a future job, if that's what you're working towards, such as a job in an office, or a trade, or a factory. All of these jobs require you to be a part of a team as well and what better place to learn than somewhere that literally depends on it.
So overall, I will never regret my decision to become a server. I have learned things that will greatly benefit me later on in life and I couldn't be happier with what I do.