Monday, February 10, 2014

Not Everyone in the Service Industry Hates Their Job

I've been seeing a lot of stuff on the internet lately from people who work in the service industry-specifically restaurants- and what a horror it can be. You know, comedy videos about shit servers say(never anything positive, of course) and Facebook pages dedicated to rants about working in customer service. And maybe I've had a laugh at some of these things, but overall they kind of bum me out. It makes me sad that the loudest voice from the customer service/food & beverage industry is coming from people who apparently hate their jobs, and their customers. I don't want people to watch and read that kind of stuff and think that every person who serves them a club sandwich is trying to set them on fire with their mind power. I've worked in customer service for over 13 years, and I've only tried that once or twice, just to see if I could do it (I can't).

But seriously, it really bothers me that the perception of people working in the service industry is that we're all miserable. That makes us seem like a bunch of low class losers who couldn't do anything better with our lives, so we're bitter now. And that's just not the way it is-there are plenty of people who work in restaurants by choice, who really enjoy their jobs.

Over the past few years I've thought a lot about my career-and yes, I do consider my work in the restaurant industry a career. I took what I do for granted for a long time, because I've always worked in customer service. But once I got a college diploma(in a totally unrelated field) and found myself still working in a restaurant I started thinking more deeply about why I really do it. And when I thought about it, I realized that I work in a restaurant because I actually enjoy doing what I do. I love meeting and interacting with new people every day. I love that I don't have to sit in a cubicle to do my job. I love feeling like I'm a part of my community. I even love the general everyday chaos that comes with working in a busy restaurant.

Some of the best friends I've ever made have been people that I've worked with in restaurants. I know a lot of young women who are servers, and they are some of the hardest working people I know. Many people work in the industry partly because the unconventional hours allow time to pursue other passions in life. I know a lot of servers who balance multiple jobs, school, and hobbies and still manage to be friendly and enthusiastic while refilling your coffee for the fourth time.

Beyond the people that I've worked with, I could not even begin to count the number of amazing people I've met when I've served them at various places I've worked. People who have become friends, people I'm genuinely happy to see when they walk in the door on a busy Friday night. Not everybody gets to go to work and see a bunch of friends every day. Of course you always run across a few people who try to grind you down. But for every one time that a customer has been rude to me there have been at least 15 times that someone has made brightened my day and made me feel like what I do is awesome.

Another thing I love about working in restaurants is that I have always felt like I could just be myself. I think that most customers appreciate it when you act like yourself and treat them like a friend.  I've never worked in a corporate restaurant(other than McD's in high school), and that's probably different. But in the places where I've worked, I've always felt that as long as I was working hard and being nice to people, I could pretty much just be myself.  I don't think a lot of people have that luxury in their professional lives.

I'm not saying that I've never been pissed off when someone sat at a dirty table, or ordered a complicated drink at last call. But overall I have had a great time working in bars and restaurants, and I would even go so far as to say that my work is fulfilling.  I don't know that I represent the majority of people working in the service industry, but I know for sure that I'm not the only person who enjoys the job. I just want everyone to know that people who work in restaurants aren't as disgruntled and underprivileged as we are sometimes potrayed. We don't hate every person who asks for another refill of tap water. And even if we did, we can't set you on fire with our minds anyway, so don't worry about it.

This is a pretty accurate depiction of what I look like at work.

PS. If any of my server friends HAVE figured out the telekinetic firestarter thing, let me know. Just in case I change my mind about everything I just said.


  1. I love this post Ruth! The Roseanne picture is rich.

    1. Roseanne is one of my heroes, especially in this outift.