My longest job has been working in a restaurant. I have left once just to come back a year later, tried to leave shortly after that, juggled a Monday-Friday 9-5 while serving on the weekends, and now I’m back to being a full-time server. Almost a fifth of my life has been devoted to this shit. People like me are the epitome of masochists.
In my area of the country, serving jobs are mainly taken by college students. That’s how I got involved. The schedule is flexible, you make a good amount of money in a few, very short shifts, and no one in college likes waking up before 9am. I never had any desire to serve people food, but if I could make what my entire paycheck was at Circuit City on one Friday night in a restaurant, then sign me up. The only problem with working with a bunch of college kids is that I feel old. I am only 24 years old, and I feel old. Of course there are people I work with that are older than me (however, this number is dwindling), but it’s not rare for me to be the oldest person on the floor at least a few days a week.
The restaurant industry spoils people. Yes, I said it. It’s not as hard of a job as the 20 year olds make it out to be. I am making more money serving 5 shifts in 35 hours a week than I was making working Monday through Friday at 40 hours a week. My commute is significantly shorter, I can sleep in even on days when I have to open the restaurant, and there are always extra shifts I could easily pick-up. And what do I have to do for this? I have to pretend to be nice to people, and act like I give a shit how their food tastes. This is easy. And the server sidework is a joke. There are homeless people that would probably do all the nightly sidework in the entire restaurant for one tenth of what I probably made that night. And yet, everyone still complains. Every job has its own little form of bitch-work, it just so happens that the majority of work in a restaurant seems monotonous.
When you are in college, your only priorities are getting hammered drunk and making sure you pass your classes. All I hear about is “I can’t work tonight, I have so much homework to do!” or “I am so hungover, I can’t work today!” These people are fucking morons. And coincidentally, these are the people that get their dream jobs a week after graduation. When I was in college, I turned in everything on time, studied constantly, maintained a 3.6 GPA, worked full-time and still made time to act like a dumbass with my friends. And now I’m approaching my 4th year of serving. Fair?
When I had all of my “big girl” jobs, I was usually the youngest person working there. If these children I work with think they will be able to handle working at 9am every day after getting plastered the night before, then they are dumber than they look. It takes weeks upon months of schedule adjustment before you can even find the energy to stay out after 10pm on a work night. And if you come in hungover and bitch about it like you did when you were 20, then you’ll be fired. Grown up jobs are just waiting for you to fuck up because there are 100 other people hoping to take your place.
Beating myself up every day about being a failure is pointless. I have a profitable job, and I am lucky that they keep taking me back after I’ve left and tried to leave again. I’ve had dozens of other jobs since graduating 2 years ago, and all of them weren’t for me. The only way I would have figured this out is to have done what I’ve been doing. As long as you have a reasonable goal while serving tables (not like “OMG I wanna be an ~actress~) then there is no harm in settling for right now. I have gotten lots of jobs because of my waitressing experience. The goal now is to not just take anything that is offered to me just because it’s not waitressing. I’m saving as much money as humanly possible and moving out west next year. There’s no way I’d be able to save as much working in an office as I could save working in a restaurant. And that it the ultimate benefit.