So far in my life, I've spent a lot of my time working in kitchens. Working in a variety of kitchen environments, you learn a lot about hard work and the value of your time. I do truly believe that everyone should work in the service industry at least once in their life, to gain perspective on how society treats you. Having said that, I really don't see myself being able to work in food service again. As expected, it's really not all that glamorous. I definitely learned quite a bit, and I'm here to share it with you, the good and the bad. There's a lot I want to say about my time in food service, but I've slimmed it down to 6 points.
1. If you enjoy cooking, prepare to hate it.
I honestly do love to cook. It's been a passion of mine for a few years, and I like discovering small tricks and facts that help make cooking easier. At first, I was delighted to be learning so many cool tricks, working in a kitchen. For the first few weeks, I actually looked forward to coming to work. Even working under pressure during busy hours was never so bad. However, after a while it becomes monotonous. It starts becoming something you're paid to do, so you start doing it because you're being paid. It sucks the enjoyment out of it. When I would get home, the last thing I wanted to do was cook.
2. You will probably start smoking.
This one is simple. Sure, we've all had health class in high school, we've seen the pictures of the blackened lungs. You know what's really cool though? Taking extra breaks. A lot of them. On top of that, It's a social environment. You'll know exactly what I mean if you've seen the episode of Friends where Rachel starts smoking to fit in at work. I just looked it up, It's literally called "The one where Rachel smokes." Anyways, it's a way to chat with your co-workers in a more casual environment.
3. You're going to be taken advantage of.
This one is an absolute, I have never seen it fail. You're cheap, expendable labor, and they will abuse that as much as they can. The turnover in food service is ridiculously high, and if they lose you, they can just hire someone new. So it really doesn't matter how they treat you, as long as they get work out of you. I have watched not only myself, but many friends go through this over and over.
4. You're going to be sweating and washing your clothes more than you thought would ever be necessary.
Seriously, it is ridiculously hot no matter where you are. if you're doing dishes, prepare to be soaked in dishwater and sweat. Working with fryers? Hot oil burns and sweat. Serving tables? Somehow, you will manage to get condiments on yourself. Oh, and sweat. The only refuge from this will be the cooler and freezer. Thank God for the walk-in.
5. You're going to be under-appreciated.
More than likely, you will do a lot of things right, with no recognition. The moment you do something wrong, however, you will be reprimanded and everyone will know. Because humans are supposed to be perfect, right? Just peachy.
6. Your co-workers will becomes your friends.
Now, despite my obvious distaste for food service and everything about it, this is something I will say for it. I've made some of my best friends through kitchen jobs I've had, and I wouldn't trade the experiences and shenanigans we've gotten into for anything. Because of the hardships inherent to the job, you will bond with these people very quickly. If you're reading this, Caley, Reid, or Caryn, #6, and really this whole article, is for you.