My love for the service industry and those who are a part of it runs deep. My father has always run a deli and catering business. Growing up, I saw the impact his business made on our community. I saw how hard he and his employees worked to provide for their customers and I was taught at a young age that caring for your customers is everything.
My first job after high school was working as a server for a local pizza place. That summer I enjoy my post-high school freedom in between picking up extra shifts, earning more money than I had ever had.
In college, I always had a serving job. During my freshman year I moved up from the pizza gig to a local college hot spot, learning how to deal with drunk college students and game day enthusiasts. I would often work until 1 AM, head back to my dorm to for a few hours of sleep then get back into work for a 7 AM game-day brunch. It was brutal but I learned how to manage my time like a pro. Looking back on those days with rose-colored glasses, I wouldn’t change any of it. It gave me enough confidence and cash to begin traveling the world during my summers.
In my sophomore year I made the leap to a local steakhouse where my life would fundamentally shift. It was like being in summer post-high school all over again. I was able to make more money than I thought possible during school while having a social life and saving to travel during my breaks. More importantly, this would be where I met many of the most important people in my life.
The service industry is a unique place.
It’s a place where people value working hard but don’t tie their self worth to their careers. They have hobbies and interests (sometimes those interests lead you to the next bar over). They have passions and side projects. There is an intimacy that is built by dealing with particularly difficult customers or shifts. Of every job I’ve ever worked, the coworkers I’ve stayed close to I’ve met in the service industry. I met my partner at a restaurant. I’ve met most of my roommates through restaurants. I’ve met many of my closest friends through restaurants.
I believe wholeheartedly in the service industry. It is a resilient bunch of hard workers who know what it’s like to work on no sleep through a tough time. And if we can get through years of Sunday brunches and Game Days, we can get through this.