One of the most common jobs for college students is waiting tables. Most restaurant jobs are easy to come by for college students because restaurants will always need waiters. The problem is you are never really guaranteed to make a lot of money all the time, unless you work fast food. Working for tips can be really hit or miss. You could be the nicest server in the restaurant, but if you get a stingy customer, you will not make very much money.
Katelyn Wickert has been working in the service industry for four years, in both fast food and sit-down restaurants. She started out working at Tropical Smoothie Café and after a year of being a crew member, she worked her way up to shift leader at age 18. After a while, the hours were slim, so she made the move to Joe’s Crab Shack instead. Unfortunately, that did not last long. The hours were not any better and instead of making a steady paycheck, she had to rely on the generosity of others. But through it all, she kept her head up and did not quit the industry.
Working in the service industry is not always bad. You constantly meet new people from all walks of life and get to know their story.
“If I was asked if it were worth it when I first started out, I would have angrily said no,” said Wickert. “I would have ranted and raved about how rude people can be and how you are sometimes treated as less than a person, but now I would say it is definitely worth it.”
Of course there are going to be times when you encounter people who have a bad day or just so happen to be rude altogether, but then there are the other customers—the ones who have probably been in your shoes, the ones who know how hard it is to serve others all day, the ones who want to make your day better.
“I have also run into customers that have stopped and asked me about my day,” said Wickert. “I’ve had customers that have shared a similar interest and in return, I’ve created a bond with them. The restaurant crews I work with have turned into some of my closest relationships.”
It is a job that everyone should experience at least once in his or her life. It is a job that pushes you to the limits, but at the same time it forces you to work hard. At many jobs, you get a decent and steady paycheck. When it comes to a lot of food service positions though, you have to work hard to be able to pay your bills.
“You have to show patience when you’re about to explode. You have to have a smile on your face when you’ve had the worst day of your life,” said Wickert.
You may have to deal with rude customers and may have breakdowns, but it disciplines you and puts you in an environment where you will continuously be pushed. Working in the service industry, you constantly have to accommodate other people.
“Being in food service has taught me that the-customer-is always-right is the truest statement in this industry.” Wickert adds.