I personally have never been more physically and mentally exhausted than this summer. I worked 7 days a week with 2 full days off all summer. I was a waitress, tour guide, research assistant, and gym receptionist. Not all at the same time thankfully! I’m not complaining about this schedule though because this is how some people have to live. If anything, I am grateful to understand how hard it can be for some people.
My tour guide job was minimum wage and minimum wage jobs make paying bills hard. In 30 minutes, you only make around three dollars. You don’t get paid to be sick so if you are, you don’t get paid that day. Working as a waitress definitely gets you more than minimum wage, but you can go 2 hours without a table, you can have an old lady yell at you because something is wrong that you didn’t make, and you can have a table be so mean that no matter how tough you are, they still make you cry when you get home. If your table doesn’t tip you because they don’t think you’re “good enough” that means you make no money. Without making money, how are you supposed to pay your bills?
I don’t think some people realize the stress, both physical and mental, that goes on a server. If you don’t meet people’s impossible expectations, don’t expect that 20% tip. I love serving, but the way some people treat servers is insane. It hurts. The question is then how are you supposed to be happy when someone is yelling at you for something that isn’t your fault, or you get tipped $3 on a $106 meal. Even if someone tips you poorly, you won’t make it up either because they took a table in your section allowing no one else to sit there and pay.
How can you be happy when you’re at work 7 days a week and barely have time for yourself? Let me start off by saying I was not happy every day. Not even close some days, but with the little things your day can be turned around. The people at work for me was a wonderful thing. At all of my jobs, I had amazing coworkers. Those friendships took us a long way and most of them will probably continue to be my friend after I’m done. The other thing that boosts happiness is the customers. As much as they can make you unhappy, they can make you happy too. I’ve had tables and tours that made me happy just by smiling and having conversations. Manners go a long way… you’d be surprised.
The reverse actually happened to me this past weekend. I was going through a Starbucks drive through after work. Whenever I go through drive throughs, I am normally happy and cheery because why not. This time when I pulled up to the window to pay the person told me “we got it.” I was so confused, but he told me they were having such a bad day and you were “just nice and cheered us up.” So, because I was happy… someone else was happy. One of the best times to be happy is as a customer. You have no idea what the other person is going through… and It will most likely make you happy too.
Now you’re probably wondering why on earth would I put myself through all of this work with no breaks… it’s because next summer I won’t be working… I’ll be running across the country!! I am happy and grateful for my experience this summer and it is something I will never forget.
So next time you go to a restaurant or go through a drive through… keep this in mind and be someone who makes someone’s day brighter.