Let me paint a picture for you. It’s late in the evening, I’m dragging my weary bones home from a long day of being an adult and I decide to pop into Centra for a hot chocolate and maybe (definitely) a bag of crisps. All tangible funds have been squandered during the week so I whip out my card. DECLINED. Red faced and downtrodden, I trudge home. With no money for the bus back to Roscommon I might add.
BRAINWAVE! A weekend job is needed. And thus began the next phase of my life as a waitress.
My weekend lifestyle went from snoozing into the late afternoon and watching Friends reruns to waiting tables and talking about the weather. It may well be the best choice I ever made, it brought out a confident side in a girl who was incredibly awkward. I have also developed quite the sizable bicep from lugging heavy plates around! What more could a girl want?
Like anything in life, it has its ups and downs. One of the lowest lows I’ve experienced has to be slipping in slow motion (or so it felt) on the kitchen floor and smashing a whole pile of saucers on my way down. Oh how the mighty have literally fallen. But on the flip side I now know how to fold a napkin into a crown so I shall not complain. As a lover of people-watching my favourite part of the job has got to be the regulars. They have inadvertently formed a gentlemen’s club which largely consists of tea drinking and falling asleep. A mismatched group of people drawn together through their shared love of mini-breakfasts (at 10pm) and pints of Heineken (at 11am). These men share their wealth of knowledge with us over cups of hot chocolate and episodes of The Chase. It is, however, quite a sexist environment. Between the entirely male dominated kitchen staff and the pervy old men it’s often hard to smile and utter “have a nice day” through gritted teeth. But the customer is apparently always right so we do what we have to do to maximise tips – or should I say, to maximise the dining experience.
Batting the breeze is half the job when it comes to working in a restaurant. Whether it’s pretending you know anything about whatever match is playing to feigning interest in the stretch in the evening, small talk is crucial. A thick skin quickly develops while working as a waitress, both literally and metaphorically. Getting burnt by soup, slicing your fingers open while cutting bread and having a customer tell you you’re not as good as your sister all carry equal amounts of hurt (I’m still bitter, John). But we carry on, hoping that everyone will ignore the curry sauce smeared across our aprons, the gravy on our arms and the sweat on our brows.
There are going to be ups and downs in any line of work, but nothing will mirror the satisfaction you feel when you get handed that wage packet at the end of the month. Think of how many pints can be bought and let that motivation guide you.
Go forth and prosper!