My friends who know me were equally shocked and celebratory when I told them, two months ago, that I had just found my first part time job at an F&B establishment. While it was only a short summer’s stint, here are 3 takeaways that I would never have had, had I continued to while my summer away watching copious amounts of Buzzfeed videos:
There are nice people, and then there are the not so nice peopleI think that for the most part, little kids are the best customers to serve. I’m heartened by their curiosity, little noses pressed upon the glass divider to see how their order is prepared. Their insistence in wanting to give the order and the parents that take the opportunity to teach their child manners, and mathematics. At the same time, there will be the self-entitled obnoxious ones who think that just because they paid for the service, they have the right to be nasty and rude and overbearing to the servers. Yes, it is unfair. But that is just how life works. There would always be people who are extremely sweet and understanding, patient and kind. But in turn, there would also be those people you meet that make you want to swallow down the urge to wring their necks. The customers are always right? Well maybe, from a business point of view. But hey, do remember that the servers in no way benefit AT ALL dealing with your uppity attitude. Be a little nicer, really, you’d be remembered in the best ways for it. Which brings me to point 2:
Experiences that made me feel like an underpaid slave driver turns out to give the best stories. While I do not get any monetary benefits from the company for dealing with the ugly side of F&B, it does churn stories of camaraderie between my coworkers and I as we deal with the unsavoury together. From having to process the over-ordered supplies during lunch hour to, you guessed it, pacifying the unfriendly bourgeoisie, I have bonded with my coworkers, and for all the vast backgrounds we come from, this is our common unifying story amongst ourselves, and to pass on to all our friends/family/Facebook. My dear customer, I’m sure you want to be on the holy light end of the story, where we give praise and celebrate your grace on social media and in real life. Surely you don’t want to be in the gutter, right?
You are going to start thinking of everything in dollars per hour. This was the least expected experience I gained in my time working there, and yet potentially also the most realistic experience of all. I could not help but start thinking of all my purchases and daily necessities in dollars and cents, based on what my hourly wage was. The price of that movie ticket? That’s a 2 hour shift right there. That lunch? 3/4 of what I’m paid an hour. The price of going out? A day’s shift worth, provided I don’t spend a single cent too. It was scary, to say the least, finding myself thinking that way. I’d be the first to admit that prior to having a job, I spent my allowance without pausing to think much about the amount of labour my parents had to put so that I’d have that $10 to spend. Intellectually I understood, but it took earning my first few dollars and having to suck all the nasty up with it too, that I truly, for the first time, understood how much pain and sacrifice my parents had endured to give me all that I have today, that I could freely spend (not that I do, just to clarify), on the little things I want, from that new novel to that KBBQ outing with friends. I finally understood why they were so insistent on me to work hard at my studies to find a good job in the future while still so supportive of my interests. Financial insecurity was at its realest even though I was just a part time employee trying to earn a little bit of lunch money for the coming school year. What would it be like to survive on the $1500 that full time employees earn? How would they budget their expenses and save for the future with that paltry sum, as the cost of living soars alongside the high standards of living so many of us crave?
Frankly, the experience made me scared for the future. I want to be a financially stable and independent working adult who is able to afford both life’s necessities and luxuries without having to compromise one for the other. I want to be able to support a lifestyle of my fancy, and do my duty as a filial child, and perhaps plan for a future family (aka: I need to be able to upkeep my future puppy’s expenses). I want to have sufficient savings of my own to fund my next holiday and tide through rainy days ahead. I guess it is time to get off the net and start striving for that 5.0 GPA.