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I have a confession; I miss the nights when I would come home reeking of arrabbiata and prosciutto, a leftover pizza in one hand, and a wad of cash stuffed in my pocket. I miss the high of a perfectly executed night when I somehow managed to charm a customer or two, and I even miss the lows of an empty restaurant — where you just stand for hours watching an old lady pour packets of Stevia she brought from home into her iced tea. Shout out to Mary!
My boyfriend, however, doesn’t have the same amorous feelings about waiter-ing as I do. I swear he shivers like a chihuahua every time we drive by a pizza joint. One feeling we do share, however, is that everyone could benefit from experiencing the hell or high of waiting tables. One summer’s worth of work could teach you years of life lessons. Don’t believe, me? Maybe these reasons will change your mind.
1. It’s life’s greatest communication course.
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Interacting with a whole rainbow of personalities every night while handling their demands? Well, that takes skills — skills you will practice over and over again in the service industry.
2. You learn to let sh*t go.
A man will call you baby, a woman will try to convince you you’re stupid because you got the crispiness of her pizza crust wrong, you will embarrass yourself trying to open a wine bottle, but there’s no time to dwell — you’re next table just arrived, and the show must go on.
3. The pay is actually great (read: the tips are actually great).
Trust me. If you need to save some money, skip the hourly wage at a boutique and head to any restaurant.
4. You learn to work well under pressure.
There will be a night when you’re already in the weeds and a six-top sits down, a baby pukes on you, and you forgot to put someone’s drink order in 20 minutes ago. But guess what? You will figure it all out and be a better problem solver because of it.
5. You learn to work with a variety of different personalities.
Nancy will steal your tables, Ramon will overshare about his rare foot fungus, and Anthony just won’t talk to you. One big happy family.
6. If you happen to want to be a writer, it will be the best material of your life.
You learn a lot about a person from how they handle hangry. Trust me.
7. FREE FOOD.
Need I say more? But here’s the thing, you really need to know who to make friends with for this one. Get in with the chef, ASAP.
8. When it’s a slow lunch, you’ll get to daydream.
And it’s when all of your most creative, brilliant ideas will come to you. You might even get closer to figuring out what it is you want to try next in your life.
9. You learn what it’s like to feel underappreciated.
And you’ll vow to never make someone else feel that way.
10. You learn to handle aggression with kindness.
Because, well, you kinda have to — but you’ll quickly learn that it actually feels much better to stay calm, collected, and kind in heated moments.
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