Austin Plack – Indy writer
Recently I wrote a satire piece that explored four reasons why working in a restaurant is the perfect first job for students in college. In this piece I sarcastically pointed out the various aspects of the restaurant industry that make it such a bad working environment. I touched upon the worst of the worst that comes with working in a restaurant. From the low wages, to the smelly clothes, to the rude customers, and so on, I made it abundantly clear that restaurants are not the greatest places to work. That piece was written because I knew that the subject matter could be relatable for many students here at ISU who have worked or are currently working in a restaurant.
However, in life it is often important to see the positive sides of things. It is important to analyze a situation from an objective perspective, and to pick out not just the bad, but also the good from said situation. A restaurant job is far from the best job that a student could get before they pursue their career job, but it can also be extremely beneficial in many ways. In order to offer a fair contrast to my satirical piece, here are four reasons why working in a restaurant actually is a job that you should consider.
4) You Learn Time Management Skills
In order to be successful while working at a restaurant, you have to learn to manage your time in an efficient and effective manner. You learn how to pace yourself as well as how to accomplish tasks as quickly as possible. Speed is a very important skill for working in restaurants. Customers expect to have their food in a reasonable time, and without workers in the back who work at a quick pace, this expectation is tough to meet.
3) You Get a Good Workout
This one may seem like an odd choice, but hear me out. Many of us want to stay in shape, but it is tough to do with our rigorous load of school work that requires us to spend hours a day sitting at a desk. One great benefit of working at a restaurant that usually goes unnoticed is the amount of exercise you get. This applies especially to those who have to constantly move around the kitchen, like kitchen prep cooks, and to servers, who are always on the move from one table to the next. I, for example, as a kitchen prep cook, will burn on average over a thousand calories in one eight hour shift due to the amount of walking involved. I didn’t realize that I burned that much until I downloaded an app that tracks my steps walked. This level of physical activity can certainly be found at other jobs, but there are also many jobs that require very little movement at all from their workers, which makes it tougher to stay in shape.
2) You Develop Teamwork Skills
Being able to work in a team is a crucial skill to develop before you enter into the job market for your degree. This skill is emphasized in many courses in most majors because it is arguably the most sought after skill from employers. Teamwork is essential for a restaurant to operate properly day to day. Servers may rely on cooks for their grilled food, cooks may rely on kitchen prep cooks for sliced vegetables, and kitchen prep cooks may rely on dish tankers for clean knives to cut those vegetables with. Working in an environment in which everybody relies on each other allows you to truly gain skills and experience with how to best approach teamwork. It also teaches you to not be a slacker. If you do not do your part for the team, you will definitely hear about it from your coworkers who rely on you. Especially during dinner rushes.
1) You Make New Friends
In my satirical piece I poked fun at how often arguments happen while working in restaurants. It is true that it is rare for a shift to be completed without experiencing at least one argument amongst my coworkers. However, on a much more positive note, these arguments are often between two friends. When you become more comfortable with a person, you tend to become more informal towards them. Think of how you treat your best friend vs. how you treat your professors. The closer you get to a person, the more likely it is that you will feel comfortable enough to argue with them when they do something that sets you off.
One of the benefits of working as a team in a restaurant is that you get to know your coworkers very well, and will often develop strong friendships from it. This is a benefit that may not be as easy to achieve in, say, a retail job, in which people are more spread out and may not always be as reliant on each other. If you have ever seen the movie “Waiting…,” you may have a decent idea of how friendships are made in a restaurant. In the movie workers at a restaurant all know each other and are constantly talking to each other about life issues and offering each other advice. These are people who had met at the restaurant and became good friends while working there. Also in the movie there are parties which all of the employees from the restaurant attend. This is actually very similar to my experience, as my coworkers hold a work party at least once a week.
Working in a restaurant may not be the greatest experience in the world, but it definitely has a lot to offer. If you are looking for a part time job while you attend college, hopefully these four reasons will help you when it comes time to consider a restaurant job.
(Featured image retrieved from: www.christopherbeancoffeeservice.com)