We all remember our first job. Between goofing off with co-workers, dealing with quirky managers, and working never-ending shifts, these memories certainly bring back a variety of emotions.
But regardless of what your first job was, one thing is likely to be true: It was a learning experience like no other. First jobs shape your work ethic, your skillset, and even the way you view the world. And since it essentially shapes who you are as a person, we're of the belief that you should choose wisely when it comes to your first job.
And although no first job is perfect, there's only one industry that (in our experience) can provide you all of that invaluable life experience WITHOUT the kinds of annoyances that usually come along with the territory.
The industry? Yup, you guessed it — it's food service.
The very nature of working in food service allows you to cover more professional ground in a first job than most people get in a decade of working. Sure, working in any industry has its challenges — that's life, right? — but the challenges you face in food service can be seen as huge learning opportunities when looked at through the right lens.
Here are seven reasons why everyone's first job should be in food service.
1. It makes you a better customer.
When you work in food service, you'll serve all types of customers — from gracious and generous people to those who are stressed or in a rush.
This experience teaches you what a difference a friendly face can make when you're working behind a counter, and as a result, you'll forever be the type of customer that you'd prefer to serve.
2. You'll make friends fast.
Making friends with co-workers can be one of the most intimidating aspects of a first job. But when you're working in the service industry, the bonding experience tends to be particularly quick and easy.
Why? The fast pace and constant collaboration makes one shift feel like five when it comes to getting to know people, and the resulting social aspect of the job makes it all the more enjoyable.
3. You wear a million hats.
First jobs generally train you in one or two areas, but a job in food service gives you experience in an endless number of different categories.
From dealing with all kinds of personalities to relearning math skills you never thought you'd need, a job in food service will give you a chance to do it all.
4. Your communication skills will be unrivaled.
Communication skills are required for basically everything in life — relationships, education, jobs, the list goes on and on. And if we know one thing, it's that working in food service makes you a veritable communication pro.
You get used to dealing with co-workers, managers, and customers, which will turn you into an expert communicator — something that you'll benefit from for years to come.
5. You learn what's important (and what's not).
Prioritizing is hard, no matter what you're doing. But a job in food service is sure to give you a healthy dose of perspective.
When you're juggling three different orders with a bunch of requests from your manager while simultaneously covering for a sick co-worker, you get a crash course in prioritizing what's important over what can wait.
6. You'll stay active.
Many first jobs consist of working at a desk and adopting a sedentary lifestyle between the hours of nine and five — far from ideal.
A great thing about food service is that you're constantly moving and always on your feet, so you never feel like you're just sitting around.
Bonus: An active job makes the time fly by (this has not yet been scientifically-proven, although we can personally vouch for this theory).
7. You can actually achieve a healthy work-life balance.
Unlike working in an office, working in food service allows you to have a true separation between work and your personal life. And as anyone who's ever had a first job knows, this is a hard line to straddle.
You often get to help make your own flexible schedule, and you don't have to take your work home or stay late after clocking out. Food service is pretty cut and dry when it comes to your hours, and that's just another reason why it's the best first job you can have.