I have worked in restaurants almost
continually since I was sixteen years old.
I have a college degree.
I have a 140 IQ, even when blitzed out
of my gourd.
One of these statements seemingly does
not match up with the others yet they are all true. It took a while to
figure out why I kept coming back to the biz despite the well-meaning
'helpful advice' of friends and family members who insisted on so many
occasions that I get a Real Job. 'Get a stable job like mine at the
factory' one associate said, whose factory later closed down. 'Get a job
with good benefits like my IT job' said a family member whose job and
benefits were later outsourced. 'People like you and I are too
good/smart/qualified/educated to work in a restaurant' advised my friend
who I got a a job for at the restaurant I was working at at the time.
It's the people: the ones I've worked
with and befriended over the years, the customers I've interacted with
in one capacity or another, the brothers and sisters that I've adopted
or who have adopted me. The way you speak with different people in a
restaurant plays out like a surreal situation comedy. Hell, I've even
met a couple of cool managers before. It happens.
The people that make and bring you your
food when you go out to eat are truly a special breed. We work harder
than immigrants (probably because many of us are) and we party harder
than rock stars. All while getting paid in some cases at an hourly rate
of less than one third the minimum wage in the richest nation the world
has ever known.
Some kind of human resources magical
alchemy happens when you combine the youngest, brightest, most
well-educated minds in the country (the restaurant industry is the
number one employer of college students age 18 to 24) with ex-cons, drug
fiends and hippies in a close-quartered, highly stressful environment. I
would even say that the egalitarian nature of the job is one the better
aspects of the business. Generally speaking a restaurant does not care
what color you are, where you were born, what you like to do in your off
time, who you like to do in your off time, your favorite color, anything.
The only criterion for judgment is whether or not you can do the job
assigned. If everything goes well and you are capable and competent you
will be accepted by your peers. If everything goes wrong you might even
In short, I have attained a set of
skills that will ensure that I will be employable no matter where I go. I
have a way of parlaying my personality into profit and I don't even
have to take my clothes off. I don't have to at least.
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