What It's Really Like Being A Server In 2019

What It's Really Like Being A Server In 2019

The highs and the lows

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I started my job as server a few months ago, and it was definitely a wake up to say the least. I was in need of a part-time job where I could make a lot more money, quickly, and serving allowed me to do that with the potential to make tips. I knew going into it that it wasn't going to be easy, but I quickly realized how little I actually knew about the job. My only other work experience was in retail, so the switch was a big change.

Serving requires a lot more multitasking, and this was probably the hardest thing for me to adjust to, because my previous job didn't require me to do that at all. It can be hard to manage multiple tables at once, especially when it gets busy and it's a job that requires you to be on your feet the entire time. After a five to six hour shift consisting of walking back and forth between the dining room and kitchen, and having to do my share cleaning, I'm totally exhausted.

One of the major perks of the job is being able to make tips. After every shift, I'm always able to leave with some cash, and you do have the potential to make a lot if it's busy or if you get large parties. However, the amount that you make can be totally inconsistent at times. You can have days where you make $200 in one shift, and then make $15 the next day. I was already aware that servers were paid less than minimum wage before taking the job, but one thing that I didn't know was that servers are actually taxed at a higher rate depending on how much you make in tips for the pay period, so we are simultaneously being paid less than minimum wage, while paying more in taxes, which basically makes tips our main source of income.

Honestly, on a busy day, not being tipped well or not being tipped at all doesn't usually make a huge difference if you've got a lot of tables, but when it happens on a slow day it can have a significant effect. Due to the job being totally based on people interactions, some days can be particularly hard when you've got other things going on in your life, and you have to deal with the stress of managing multiple tables or dealing with rude customers.

Despite the stresses of the job, I feel like I've learned some valuable lessons about how to multitask, and customer service skills and these can be applicable to other jobs outside of the service industry, because in many jobs, you essentially are serving people.

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Everyone Should Experience Working In Fast Food Or Retail

Working in fast food was definitely not sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, but I'm so glad I did it.

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I know these jobs aren't glamorous. In fact, most days I looked forward to clocking out before I had even clocked in. I always secretly rolled my eyes when an angry customer droned on and on about how entitled he or she was. Though I can name a lot of bad things that happened on the job, it wasn't all horrible. As I reflect on my time working in fast food, I realize how much having that job really taught me and how grateful I am to have had that experience. I really think everyone should work in fast food or retail at some point, and here's why:

You make some great friends from work. I get it, sometimes your co-workers are royal jerks or flat out creeps. You see your name on the schedule next to theirs and immediately try switching with someone else. I've been there. However, I have worked with some amazing people as well.

Every time I worked with one girl in particular, we laughed for entire shifts. One night, we were singing the national anthem at the top of our lungs without realizing a customer had come in (to our surprise, she applauded our terrible screaming). Another coworker and I turned up the radio on full blast when business was slow and had dance battles. We made the most of our shifts, and I still talk to some of these people today.

You learn how to deal with difficult people. It's the age-old story: the uppity customer thinks twelve dollars for a meal combo is outrageous and Where is your manager?!

My friend and I were once called stupid and a customer said he would never come back to our restaurant to eat ever again. At the moment, we were scared out of our minds because we were both pretty new to the job. As time passed, we became more patient and tolerant and knew what triggered these particular customers. Dealing with these adversities definitely helps in the long run, particularly when it comes to doing group work with people who seem unbearable.

Your people skills increase by a landslide. I had always thought that I was great with people before I had a job. However, when I found myself in situations where I had to talk to strangers, I would grow nervous and stumble across my words from time to time. Working in an environment where communicating with others is a driving force helped me not only with improving my public speaking, but also made me more outgoing. In situations where I once backed into the corner to avoid having to talk to someone, I now take charge and initiate a conversation.

You establish a connection with regular customers. My favorite customer was named Jack. He was the sweetest old man who came in every Wednesday and Friday and bought food for himself and his wife. I quickly memorized his order, which impressed him. We shared pleasantries every time he came in, and my coworkers and I looked forward to seeing him.

Establishing a relationship with people who come in a lot helps immensely when it comes to working. It also provides a sense of accomplishment when you memorize an order. Not to mention, the customers start to like you and typically leave a generous tip!

You have stories to tell for a lifetime! Sometimes bad things happen at work. Once I was holding a hot pan and burned my arm— I still have the burn mark on my arm to prove it. My point is, it sucked at the moment, but now I look back and laugh.

One time I asked my coworker how to make soup and she replied, "Slowly, but beautifully." It was so nonchalant that I cracked up for hours. There was also a time when a customer asked me for outlandish toppings and condiments that we didn't offer. The craziest story, though, was the drug deal that went down in our public restrooms. My coworker and I obviously could not leave our station and follow these people into the bathroom, so we were pretty much defenseless. Nobody got hurt or anything, so it made for a great story.

Working in fast food was definitely not sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, but I'm so glad I did it. It made me more independent and outgoing and gave me memories I'll never forget.

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