I am a firm believer that everyone should work in the service industry, specifically the restaurant industry, at some point in their lives.
There are so many skills that can be taught by working for tips. You learn patience, people skills, work ethic. You learn how to deal with disappointment when your tip isn’t what it should be and gratitude when it surpasses your expectations.
You also learn to become a good tipper in your own life and to appreciate others when they are waiting on you. You are empathetic to others when they are stressed or in over their heads, and this transfers to other aspects of your life.
Being a waitress and bartender for the last 25 years has been one of my most rewarding experiences. That sounds strange, as I have a fulfilling career as a teacher, have continued my education and am completing yet another degree, have travelled extensively – you know, the usual gratifying things in life. But honestly, the service industry is fantastic.
I encourage all teens to work in a restaurant. It is a skill that never leaves you. I have been able to buy my truck, pay cash for my masters degree, and put a huge down payment on my house without even touching my teaching salary. I do not have to worry about how to pay for vacations or buy something just for fun.
It definitely isn’t so glamourous as I leave my shift sometimes covered in beer when the tap blows or waking up with aches and pains from running around on a crazy Friday night shift. I have had to bite my tongue when I hear some customer talking nonsense, like that one time the guy was explaining why teachers make too much money (Dude, I am standing right in front of you, and you know I am a teacher). But it’s great overall. If you haven’t yet worked in the industry, it really isn’t too late to give it a try!