We are food servers in the year 2010.

We refuse to be characterized as a bunch of entitled, uninspired underachievers. We have embraced a new outlook, and have adopted a fresh approach.

Apathy, indifference and cynicism no longer serve us.

In 2010, we will use food service as a platform to explore and develop a skill set that will stay with us throughout our professional lives. We will broaden our understanding of human behavior, expand our capacity to tolerate differences, and establish a spirit of authentic hospitality. We are getting paid to learn lessons that some professions never teach: unconditional service, unwavering patience, keen perception, and perfect timing.

We will use social media channels like FohBoh, Youtube, Facebook, and others to connect and encourage one another. We will share food and wine knowledge, as well as techniques for improved service.

We are serving people through a recession, lifting dampened spirits, and providing a critical service during difficult times. We are witnessing huge layoffs and corporate restructurings, budget shortfalls and bankruptcies. Our industry provides our guests an escape from gloomy headlines. We are doing important work, arguably as vital as many forms of therapy.

As professional servers, we interact on a nightly basis with a wide range of challenging personalities. And in this economy, our guests are becoming even more demanding. This often leaves us feeling overwhelmed and off center at the end of our shift. So, in 2010, we will explore techniques that melt stress and build stamina. We will put down the alcohol and pick up the weights. We will acknowledge the fact that our industry has the highest levels of drug abuse, and do something about it.

We will share our passion and talents. Whether its photography, web design, acting, music, social networking, videography, cooking, or writing, we will find ways to infuse those passions into our work as servers. True resourcefulness means making the most with what we have, and combining talents and skill sets in new and interesting ways.

We recognize that the economy is changing, and that high unemployment and job insecurity are our new reality in 2010. There has never been a better time for creative and ambitious individuals to be assertive and resourceful. We will stop waiting for the 'perfect' opportunity or ideal job, and instead, create opportunities right where we are.

We are a new breed of server, and in 2010, we will begin to transform our industry.

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Comment by Mark Moreno on August 3, 2010 at 3:29am
Good Stuff!
Comment by Michael Biesemeyer on February 22, 2010 at 12:54pm
@Michelle: Hopefully, you are getting the break you've needed to recharge your batteries. Even more reason why our industry needs a better support system for it's employees. This type of work tends to burn people out, and the alcohol/drugs become the main outlet for many of us.

Use this network, Michelle. If you are looking for a position, you may be surprised to learn that there are people here who can help you.
Comment by Michelle on February 17, 2010 at 8:03am
I'm right there with you, Michael. Eight months for me. When I've not been on the floor, I've been out fighting to come up with ways to keep the floor filled. My body is angry with me, my brain won't turn off, and my wallet is empty. A week ago Monday I asked myself yet again "Why am I doing this?", and that time, suddenly, "poof!". The me who never gives up, and never gives in, just plain did. Picked up my wine key, and walked. Right thing to do? Wrong thing to do? I don't know yet. I just know there's a h*** in my heart where the Malbec used to be.
Comment by Michael Biesemeyer on February 16, 2010 at 1:32pm
@Michelle: I just finished 6 straight days of serving tables, Valentine's Day being the culmination. I have to say, by the end, I barely could utter the words 'Good evening, welcome to ______." I've actually been serving 6 nights a week for almost 7 months now, without a break. It's been quite a challenge.

I refer back to this post from time to time. I hope it continues to inspire others, as well!
Comment by Michelle on February 16, 2010 at 10:55am
I wish I had read this two weeks ago. It might have been just the inspiration I needed from a like-minded individual. Thanks for the thoughtful post.
Comment by Michael Biesemeyer on December 2, 2009 at 10:44pm
@Paul: Thank you for further clarifying a vision I know we both share.

@Sarah: I look forward to seeing you and Michael, soon.

@Joni: I am eager to find (and connect with) those servers who have ambition beyond the dining room floor. I'm talking about servers who are running their own businesses, getting through nursing school, or homeschooling their kids. I want to meet the server who kicked alcohol last year and is now training for her second marathon. I want to network with hundreds of smart, motivated people who put on aprons and pop wine corks for a living.

Where are the voices, the leaders, the servers among us who are using this career as an opportunity to explore other interests?

Is this something that the People Report would have the resources to facilitate?
Comment by Joni Thomas Doolin on December 2, 2009 at 10:32am
Wow Michael - you are a seriously talented and inspirational writer. Thank you. What I sincerely hope - is that great companies will seek out, support and encourage professionals like yourself as a way to differentiate their brands - not to mention run better businesses. I continue to be amazed that great service, (with no correlation to check average) is still an unanticipated and wildly appreciated event. I read a great post the other day (sorry can't remember the author - ) about the fact that the restaurant industry can never be the low cost provider - because the grocery stores have that niche cornered. Which means we have to come back to hospitality and service to sustain and build our brands. Which is where your great advice hits the bulls eye of relevance. Thanks again, and please keep writing. Joni
Comment by Sarah on December 2, 2009 at 9:11am
Kudos! VERY well written. Thanks for sharing!
PS. Congrats on the twins!

Comment by Paul Paz on December 2, 2009 at 1:04am
Your best yet.
Very inspiring and with vision.
The message is clear: do not wait for the industry to save your craft or job. Save yourself!
It is a self-help game and the new breed of entrepreneur servers will build their own futures.
Smart employers should take heed, as this kind of talent cannot be retained with employment terms such as many ads read, "Two years minimum experience in high volume elite table-service... Minimum-wage plus tips". The implication is no career advancement with your employer other than "entry-level" perception because of your title, Server.




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