An Incomplete List of Reasons Everyone Should Work in the Service Industry at Some Point in Their Life
When I think about my time in the service industry, there’s a mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly. As I’m sure most of you reading this can relate to, but mainly I think about how much I learned and grew from the experience—and how I wouldn’t be the same person had I not worked in hospitality.
I have a ton of respect for service industry folk and how much they’re able to give night after night—and then I meet people who never worked in the service industry, and honestly, it shows.
While many are great people who do great things with their lives, there is something unique about working in a restaurant that you don’t see anywhere else, and it changes you.
When you work in the service industry…
You learn the meaning of hard work.
From the long hours and irregular schedules to the overwhelmingly busy weekend rushes—the first thing you learn when working in the service industry is that this job demands a high level of physical and mental endurance.
While many people enter the industry in high school or college thinking it’s a flexible way to make ends meet (which it can be), you quickly discover that passively making your way through a shift won’t cut it.
You’re required to be quick, sharp, intuitive, analytical, and meticulous—all of this (and more) while working against an unforgiving clock to craft a seamless and unique experience for guests.
You learn patience.
Hospitality is about people. Some of those people behave in such an unfortunate way you question why people don’t need a permit to eat out.
Restaurant workers are master problem solvers with outstanding people skills that allow them to manage situations with grace and humility.
The key ingredient? Patience. With a professional level of composure, restaurant workers read between the lines to find meaningful solutions while not letting other people’s bullshit get the best of them.
You learn to be empathetic.
Maybe restaurant workers are drawn to the field because they’re naturally empathic. Regardless, restaurant work gives you a greater understanding of people and an appreciation for leading with compassion, kindness, and acceptance.
Empathy is seen in all parts of restaurant work—from interacting with guests to building a team of people from all walks of life to expressing creativity in the art of culinary and hospitality. None of it would be possible without an empathetic lens on life.
You learn the meaning of teamwork.
The level of teamwork needed for a restaurant to run properly is incomparable to other fields. Every individual brings something valuable and essential to the whole.
From the back of the house to the front of the house—there is a high level of interdependency, communication, collaboration, and problem-solving that you won’t find anywhere else.
Restaurant work teaches you to listen to others, lend a helping hand, and exert a level of selflessness so that the whole thing runs smoothly night after night.
The skills you learn in the service industry set you apart.
Everyone should experience hospitality work at some point in their lives. It’s hard, honest work that comes with its ridges, but if approached correctly, it can leave you with a better understanding of people, kindness, and the meaning of community.
There is so much more you’ll learn working in the service industry, but all of it will make you better equipped to handle anything life throws your way.