A Server's Life
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A Server's Life

The top 10 things that contribute to the job.

A Server's Life
Rewards Network

Server. Wait Staff. Waiter/Waitress. Entertainer. They go by many names. Present at every restaurant that populates our cultural landscape, they cannot be avoided. A job that has now become a rite of passage for young adults as they transition into the workplace as their leap into adulthood begins. For some, it is a means to get through college; others it is a way to survive as the search for a career, or a chaotic limbo of working and transitioning to restaurants drifting, searching for one's purpose. Simply put: Servers deal with a lot, and no matter what their situation, for the most part, they are working extremely hard to make their living. Yet there is a certain charm that comes with working in the restaurant industry. The common struggles unite the staff into a family. We look after each other. Always ready to accept the many new faces that show up to work alongside us and get teary-eyed as those we learn to love, leave. For those who have stepped into a pair of ugly no-slip shoes, or donned the black apron, you will certainly understand the following components that consume our lives.

The Schedule

Say goodbye to your weekends and holidays. Might as well cross off normal daylight hours as well. In the restaurant industry the peak times are in the late afternoon and evening, with weekends being the biggest days of the week. With that comes the best chance to make as much cash as possible. We rarely have the chance to enjoy them, but we serve those who do by keeping the food coming and liquor flowing as we desperately hope our service is rewarded. But we do get to enjoy weekdays off as we observe everyone languishing in their day jobs.

The Hours

Like our schedules, our hours are unusual compared to everyone else. The neon open sign shines like the bat signal as customers storm our doors. We get acclimated to eight-hour shifts (or longer) that stretch past midnight. Feeling the sense of regret and laziness when our wake times are in the early afternoon, or the inevitable double. Nevertheless, our commute home is never bogged down in traffic, we party with our coworkers, and sleep in ready to begin another cycle of our "workday."Once you get used to it there's no going back.

The Uniform

Weather it be the frumpy Colonial-esque apparel of Cracker Barrel, the booty shorts of a Hooter's girl, or an all black ensemble found at the majority of restaurants, it is our armor. We transform ourselves into the image set by our corporate office or small business. We take pride in it. Despite the many stains that dot them or the questionable smells that emanate from a combination of sweat, grease, food spills, and drink remnants, we wear it proudly, even if we just picked it up off the floor before our shift.

The Food

We may lie to you and promote the most expensive item on the menu. Yet we honestly, for the most part, believe in what we are serving. And never miss a chance to eat. Some of us stifle a tear when we are forced to clear plates from the table with a dish that has been barely touched but we eventually scarf down a plate that the kitchen may make an extra order of, or when a customer leaves without their food reaching the table. Consequently a slight weight gain may occur, and take out boxes begin to populate our refrigerators. Simply put: we never go hungry. And the discounts are a perk.

The Restaurant

Every time you walk into work there is an element of chaos that unfolds. And for a moment you clam up and wonder why? Why do you work here? But you quickly clock in get in your routine and find the thing that makes it worth it for you. And although you may gripe about your workplace, there is a certain charm about it. Whether it be that the restaurant may have a theme that satisfies your aesthetic preferences or an atmosphere that makes you comfortable, you come to enjoy it more.

The Tables

Your lifeline. The hungry people you sit in your seats, you are a vital part of their experience and they, in turn are vital in sustaining your life. To few can make a shift drag on for years. Too many can make you feel like you're balancing mountains on your server tray. Finding the right balance is difficult but once your groove is found, a server is unstoppable. The stories gathered from experiences from our tables can fill several novels that would keep readers intrigued. The constant human interaction may be tiring but it is usually worth it. And besides, getting to know your fellow humans is never a bad thing.

The Money

It's good. It can be one of the most high paying jobs a young adult can make compared to their minimum wage counterparts, and if you are working in the right restaurant, and you are good at what you do, the cash flow will never stop. Now, bills may randomly appear all around your house and car, largely in singles and fives, but it's just a part of the job. When it comes time to deposit, some bank tellers may give you the "look," because the amount of small bills may seem to come from another form of work, but it's not a problem when you can make upwards of $100, $200, or up to $500 in a night. You live off tips. So the high tipping tables are a blessing. For the a******s who don't, you silently mutter a thousand curses upon them and pray they get hit on the head as you continue working. But eventually they are forgotten as you walk out with bills residing in your pockets.

The Cost

Long shifts on your feet with few breaks does take its toll. Feet and back pains are commonplace as are pain relievers and muscle relaxers stashed away in servers stations. Most long for a comfy relaxing session on a pillowcase couch after an intense shift. But some pain in your joints is certainly worth what the gains are. The tactics employed by servers to combat these are often hilarious and inventive, showing just how creative of individuals we are.

The Pens

Like your cash, you have a supply of pens that are stretched among all of your hiding places, and they are always elusive when you need them most. When customers steal them you may run after them to shame them for their thievery, and get your pen back. True, a good server may remember everything, but they come in handy when you need written proof that a customer asked for something, then subsequently denied it. Sounds silly that pens would play such an integral part to our job, but it is a very true reality that we all live by. We need those pens. Please don't steal them.

The Family

We may be a gossip-spilling, drama-fueled, fiery-charged group of people, but at the end of it all we are family. The servers, managers, and cooks. We are all in it together. Through the shifts that mirror a desolate wasteland, or a bustling convention floor, We help each other. Because of our schedules we hang out with each other, provide counsel, and are always there. It is heartening to see that we possess a capacity to stick it out in our jobs, and be there outside of work. A server's life is certainly hectic, but it is an experience that one will ever forget, and will certainly make you a better person for having experienced it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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