A writer/filmmaker based in Los Angeles who likes to read books of all kinds, watch and make character-driven films and study philosophy.
A Restaurant Server Dishes Some Truth
One of the most challenging things about waiting tables is the fact that people like to tell you over and over again to get a real job. As if! First of all, who gets to decide what is or is not a "real job"? Shouldn't that be the person who's selecting the employment? And furthermore, isn't it based on their values and standards and not anyone else's?
As a server for many years in the restaurant business, I have put together a very real list of reasons why serving is in fact a real job. Servers, feel free to use it when asked this most disrespectful of questions.
5 Reasons Waiting Tables Is a Real Job
Servers, especially in populated cities like Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, and Miami, will most likely earn between $40–50 dollars an hour, sometimes even on top of minimum wage. I'm sorry . . . tell me how that's not a real job?
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When dining out at a restaurant, who is the person that takes your order, meaning the person who knows and carries out the temps you want your food at, the sides you want with your protein(s), the candle you want attached to a birthday dessert, the specific red wine with fruity notes, medium body and light tannins you want with your steak . . . ? It's your SERVER, that's who. They can make or break a dining experience. Not to mention, how many restaurants are there in the world? Exactly. Serving is a real job. A very real job. All over the world.
Take one second to think about the skills needed to wait tables. On any given night, a server will be handling multiple tables of 2+, who are all hungry, thirsty, and wanting attention. To say serving is not a real job is to imply that waiting tables is so easy or useless that it doesn't equal a spot on your spectrum of employment. Really? Well, perhaps you should give it a try. You may be surprised when a table of ten hangry people want your undivided attention for twenty minutes while the other ten tables you have all want it too and you have to figure out how to make each and every person happy. That will likely teach real quick that not only is serving a real job, it's not anywhere as easy as many like to think it is.
Let's take the scenario of a CEO heading to work—he/she goes in, does a variety of work to help whatever product/service they make/provide and then leaves. A server does the exact same thing, albeit on a different scale. A job is a job, whether you're trying to advance technology for the betterment of the planet or you're serving a hot plate of food to a paying hungry, customer. At the end of the day, it's really only a matter of scale so leave your ego at the door.
Does sitting at a desk equal employment? Does a certain amount of money earned equal employment? Whatever your answers are, ask—according to whom? Being in an office environment is no different than being in a restaurant in terms of working at a job. The idea that a "9–5" is any more real a job than serving is is absurd, is it not? One could even argue that being on one's feet for over five hours is more strenuous than sitting at a desk. Yes, that applies to physical strength only, but the point is why separate physical and mental? Work is work, whichever muscle you exercise.
Perhaps when someone feels the need to tell another person to get a real job, it speaks volumes about themselves and nothing else. Waiting tables is not only a real job, it's one that is needed around the globe and deserves to be treated with respect, as with any other honest employment.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.