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What I have learned from working in the service industry

February 27, 2018

Last October, I applied for a job. I had no idea that two months later I would be aggressively downing Red Bull as I hurried back to my 17 hour shift. I haven’t been in the service industry for long, and I intend to be at my current job for much longer, but I have been educated in unique ways that I never could have experienced without this job.

From the opening statement, it probably seems like my day job is exhausting. Yes. Yes, it is. But, I find myself not minding all of the work I do. I get paid well, my managers understand the difficulty and exhaustion that comes with work, and I love the people I work with. Although I worked doubles every day, by choice, during our busiest season, I found myself fulfilled and happy to be there every day. But, I did not start off this way.

On my first training day, I was assigned to shadow a trainer while they did the job. As I ran back and forth following the trainer as they grabbed food and distributed it, I ran behind her in stunned silence. I hated it. I was miserable, and I only spoke a few words the entire shift. In fact, when I became close friends with the girl that trained me, she had no recollection of doing my training at all. On my second day of training, a trainer shadowed me as I did the job. I got looser, and I realized how simple the work was. I became more confident in myself and began to talk to my trainer. After a few minutes, we were walking down the hallways laughing. This is the first time I understood how to properly do my job.

After my second day, I mainly had good days at work. Sure, I am clumsy with horrible balance and have subsequently dropped, spilled, and broken many items at the establishment, but that doesn’t mean I let it ruin my day. There have been times where I clocked in crying from outside problems, but that doesn’t mean I let it ruin my day. While working in the service industry, I realized that un-fun work can be fun if you let it be. While the service industry is mentally and physically difficult to go through, with aching feet and the occasional guest yelling at you over the tomatoes on their pizza, that difficulty does not have to ruin a positive mentality.

Positivity can work serious wonders if you let it. I know this sounds boring and stereotypical, and I know optimism can be tiring at times, but I promise this isn’t one of those “life is magical and beautiful, all the time, no matter what” moments. I admit that my life and my job can suck. It just depends on how much I let it affect me. If I am dealing with a difficult situation, I can cool off by slowing down and having a moment of fun with my coworkers. Or, I can take a deep breath a drink a paper cone cup of ginger ale. Or, I can go around the building and ask everyone if they need any help.

The service industry taught me more than how to deal with a bratty trainee at work. This lesson expands to my whole life, and I find that I am able to cope with stressful situations with ease. Working in the service industry did more than teach me what it means to have 86 left or to be “in the weeds.” From my experience, I gained more than the ability to accidentally and loudly yell “CORNER” or “BEHIND” in public. I have learned so many lessons, and I have gained self worth by working hard in an unapologetic industry. I am extremely grateful for my experience and I remain excited for the future.

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