I recently started my new job. I worked two weekends “in training” before getting the go-ahead to give my 2 weeks notice at my receptionist job. So now I’m in the midst of my last 2 weeks here AND working weekends at my new job. It’s crazy exhausting but I LOVE my new job and can’t wait to be there full time. I’m working at Criollo Latin Kitchen as a server.
I hate it when people judge me because I’m a college-grad who’s still serving tables. I got one particularly condescending response from a current co-worker when I told her I was leaving. Of course she didn’t say it to my face, but to my friend Matt, who in turn told me. She flat out told him I was “stupid to leave a job with benefits” and should “stay and advance my career.” Totally sounds like me, right?
So now, I present to you, my list of reasons why I ACTUALLY LOVE restaurant work.
1. Travel is my priority right now. I don’t want to start a career and get tied down to it. I don’t want to have a job I will feel particularly bad about leaving if I decide I want to say, go backpack through South America for a year. Restaurants are used to high employee turnover rates and are usually full of cool people who will encourage my adventures and are often planning their own. For me right now, work is a means to end to support my travel habit and independent filmmaking, and not much more than that.
2. Tips tips tips. I can make SO MUCH MORE $$$$ than I can working at a desk job, or even an entry-level film job. At my old restaurant, Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers, I averaged $20/hr in JUST TIPS on a bad night. Criollo is going to be even better. With $30 steaks and $150 bottles of wine on the menu, I’ll hopefully average about $30/hr just tips for dinner shifts.
3. Benefits are not an issue. Obama’s health care reform included an awesome idea to make parents’ health insurance cover their children until age 26. So I get to go back on my dad’s health, dental, and vision, and it’s all WAY BETTER than my $3000-deductible insurance from my current job. Yay Obama-care!!!!!!!
4. Flexible schedule. I can work different days each week, pick up shifts when I need some extra cash, and request days off whenever I need them. None of this “you have 10 vacation days a year” nonsense. If I NEED a few days off, whether I’m getting sick or I’m going to Mexico, I can get a few days off. I get paid for the days I work and don’t get paid when I don’t. Makes sense to me.
5. No desks!!!! I HATE sitting at a desk all day!!! How utterly unhealthy!!! Of course serving is the exact opposite…you NEVER get to sit down and are running around the restaurant for up to 12 hours a day. But being active, busy, and up talking to people all day is just so much more fun than sitting at a desk staring at a screen until your eyeballs burn out of your head and you turn into a big fat blob of mashed potatoes. Ick. Moving makes the time go faster AND burns more calories. Hurrah! Plus, I swear my back hurts more now just from being in the same position all day than any of my muscles ever hurt when I was serving.
6. Learning opportunities. At Mellow Mushroom I learned all about microbrews and now I can say I really understand and enjoy good beer. Criolllo is much classier and thus is all about fine wine and liquor. So now I’m going to get to learn all about that stuff. And in the interest of “learning” all of Criollo’s servers get to do a mandatory weekly wine tasting. Hoo-yeah! Last week we tasted tequilas rather than wine. Did you know that expensive tequila actually tastes good to sip? Shocker!
7. Future. Zach and I definitely have nomadic tendencies. He now has tons of experience as an electrician and I have tons as a server. With these skills we can find jobs anywhere. Criollo is definitely gonna class me up and hopefully after this I’ll be able to find work as a fine-dining server or bartender. Mucho peso, baby. Plus, I could see myself being happy as a restaurant manager if it was at a cool place like Criollo. And Zach and I have been known to dream about “our bar on the beach” in some expat-friendly area of some developing country. So I AM developing skills for my future. And that future, hopefully, will never involve a boring desk job again.
What do you think? Am I extremely naive and shortsighted? Or can you see where I’m coming from?