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.