5 reasons why you should hire a waitress ( +5 things you should know before you do)

As I settle into my new job as web editor at a Long Island newspaper, I’ve come to the jarring realization that I’ve retired my famous Friday forwarning: “Listen, I’m not saying I can’t make it to tonight’s social gathering, but I just want you to know that if work gets busy…”

Ah, serving – my former livelihood. It’s been three months since I hung up my grungy, ketchup-soaked apron. Weekends and holidays were not for trudging around in pajamas, mingling with family and friends, or heading out to brunch. They were for waking up late, tossing on the cleanest uniform in the closet (no server’s uniform is ever truly “clean”) and dashing madly about the space mere civilians go to enjoy their day off.

While the world bellows “TGIF,” the service industry huffs in frustration. If today you notice an odd glimmer in your server’s eye, I’m happy to inform you it’s a knee-jerk reaction to the goo-goo ga-ga act you’re putting on with your significant other, or the piercing laughter of your alcohol-steeped friend group.

It’s not that we hate you. It’s that we resent you.

As a special  “I Love You” to all the brave souls that go out to work in the service industry this Friday night, I give you five reasons why their next employers should hire them:

REASON 1: We can do everything… at once.

Servers are self-taught multitaskers. Some call it “waitress brains.” At work, our minds are repeating a lengthy to-do list like a broken record:

Three cheeseburgers, two medium well, one rare, extra ketchup; three sodas, two vodka seltzers, one light ice; bring forks to table three; check on table 2’s extra-extra-well-done-but-wait-don’t-burn-them-just-make-sure-they’re-really-brown French fries; personally warn chef about table 3’s peanut allergy (good God why are you eating here?!); don’t forget three cheeseburgers, two medium well…”

This quality makes us exceptionally skilled in high-stress jobs, especially ones that require organization, prioritizing, and adapting to last-minute changes in plans. Watching us work is kind of like spectating a professional juggler at the circus – we will complete the impossible, and smile as we do so.  In short, we flourish under pressure. If you find that we’re aggressive typists or tend to do laps around the office, it’s because we’re used to expelling our anxiety through physical activity.

But you should know…

We are prone to melt-downs, which is kind of because we have PTSD from memories of being “in the weeds.” In restaurants, we were able to escape to the kitchen to scream and stomp our feet. If you notice us going outside for fresh air a lot, don’t be surprised if you catch us having a full-on panic attack.

Also, we are horrible chainsmokers.

 

REASON 2: We are excellent communicators.

We’re the employees that woo customers with our personality until they buy our product. We’re also the people you put on the phone with disgruntled clients, and the ones you send in to talk to the boss about a new proposal. Remember: we have actually sold shit on a stick to middle-aged white men and convinced them they loved it. If you find that we tend to be suck-ups, that’s because we are. Remember, we’re used to groveling for vacation days.

But you should know…

There is no “off limits” in our office talk. So if you’re hearing too much about our sex lives, or our drug-addicted cousin, or our bodily functions, kindly remind us that we’re in a professional environment. Also, we tend to gossip about coworkers.

 

REASON 3: We love being productive.

This is because in serving, how much money you made was determined by how fast you worked. Try putting us in a position in which money (for us or the company) is directly correlated with how much of something is done. We get really excited when we hear we’re making us – or a company – profit.

    But you should know…

Since we’re used to getting cash at the end of every workday, it’s difficult to transfer to a “payday” model. Give us time to adjust. Expect to hear a lot of whimpering about how we’re “not used to having to wait until FRIDAY to have cash…” Also, we hate using the ATM; we’re much more fond of overflowing wads of singles.

 

REASON 4: We are the people you want to go out to lunch with.

When it comes to food, we know everything – the best restaurants, the best item on the menu, the best bang-for-your-buck option… and the list goes on. We’ve scoped out every food place in a ten-mile radius, and we’ve likely worked for (or know someone who works for) at least half of them.

   But you should know…

We are ALWAYS talking about our old serving gigs when we’re out to eat (we tell the server, too.) We will stack plates while reminiscing about “this one time, when I waitressed, this guy asked for FIVE diet cokes…” (think American Pie: “This one time, at band camp…”)

Also, our opinion of someone’s character is directly related to how good of a tipper they are. Our judgment is always accurate.

 

REASON 5: We are grateful for every day off we get.

Even though servers traditionally work 3-5 days a week, those days are usually not constant, and even if they are we are used to getting last-minute phone calls from coworkers begging for us to take their shifts. I’ve taken off my little black dress to put on an apron more times than I can remember. For me, having a Monday thru Friday, 9-5 almost feels like not having a job at all. Not getting frantic calls from my coworkers is hard to get used to, too.

But you should know…

We are NOT. MORNING. PEOPLE. Most of us haven’t watched the sun rise since high school – that is, of course, unless we worked overnight shifts. If we show up late, or even just a little grouchy, please give us time to adjust. Coffee helps.

Oh, and you should really know…

Don’t be surprised if you find out two months into our time at our new jobs that we never left serving at all. Serving is addictive. Serving is life.

 

Do something good for your company. Hire a server.

 

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