I think it was either my 3rd or 4th return to serving in my mid-30’s when it occurred to me that despite what nearly everyone said, this gig of mine may just be my “real” job after all. I wasn’t ready to admit it out loud of course, no way was I an actual professional server; a contention many of my friends still can not fully own. It hurts to admit because somehow being a ser
ver implies failing at one or many other endeavors.
Even though these days I am very comfortable admitting what I do and owning that I DO truly love my job(s) it is disheartening that so many others think so little of what we do. My Mom still doesn’t usually tell others what I do by name, she stays vague, saying only that I am in the hospitality or restaurant business. Trust me, I have had countless awkward guest questions about what I do “full time” or during “regular hours” in the 20 plus years I have spent in front of tables. It is well known that much of our society-including servers themselves think of this as a part time job for transient employees and is most usually considered unskilled labor. Serving is merely the means to an end. The end of course is always getting the coveted “real” job.
This generalized view of servers does not bother me personally anymore, but it does bother me that many fellow servers do not see the benefits and positive aspects of serving as a profession. For me, once I started putting that accounting degree of mine to work tracking numbers for my daily/weekly/monthly sales, tips, PPA, GCA, tip percentages and other trends, it became hard for me NOT to look at what I do as a true profession. In my estimation, any job where you can average $30-35 or more an hour in earnings is worthy to be called a true profession. Don’t you agree?
I read this article many years ago and it found its way back to me again recently. I love the way it is written and I remember noticing my own shift in attitudes towards my career after I read it. I felt validated and knew I was invaluable to my restaurant and the restaurants that followed. My sense of self efficacy grew and grew over the years as did my confidence in owning my career. There is no doubt my sense of personal integrity and pride plays a huge role in how much money I make every single shift. I hope reading this article will help you see yourself and what you do every day in a little different light.
Tell us what you think of your “real” job, comment below!!