6 Life Skills I Took From My Job In The Service Industry That Will Translate To My Future Career

It’s a common story, one that has become the new norm and a rite of passage: a recent college grad — or even one that is a few years out — having to take a job as a waiter or a bartender to pay the bills.

The high-achieving college graduate has to take a job as a waiter or bartender because well, no one is hiring in the field in which the student wants to work.

The job market sucks, but acquiring a job is necessary due to the thousands of dollars of debt you have to repay.

You need a job now and with immediacy being the name of the game, the service industry is the quickest and easiest way for a newly-minted college grad to make some much needed cash — and fast.

Being a waitress taught me some invaluable and surprising life lessons in-between taking martini orders (vodka or gin, dry or dirrrty?) and describing gluten-free dishes to make me a better, wiser and more appreciative human being.

1. Always be on your toes — it’s improv training at its finest and a sure confidence booster.

It teaches you to think on your toes and speak with confidence in front of complete strangers, which is an invaluable life skill.

Being funny at a table and having all the answers is just an all-around good thing, as it leads you to be a very likeable person, which can only help you in pursuing your life's ambitions.

2. Interviewing skills.

Every time I approach a table, I am being interviewed. The table is sizing me up and getting to know me and in return, I either get a good tip or bad tip. I am constantly "on." Meeting new people almost every 10 minutes has helped me in job interviews.

3. Directly dealing with problems and issues.

Problems always pop up in our lives. Being a server and encountering problems with customers forces one to face problems now and solve them immediately — in the most professional manner.

4. How to sell.

Learning how to sell something — even if it’s something as silly as an appetizer or a different brand of liquor — is an incredible skill to possess.

Making people want something that they didn't know they wanted or making them want something, period is crucial in business.

Beyond this, selling yourself (because we all have to do this) is how you will get a job over someone else who is just as qualified as you are.

5. Understanding how hard work pays off.

You can work hard on something and not see results for a very long time. As silly as it sounds, being very diligent with a customer pays of immediately and results in a great tip (not always, but most of the time).

6. Patience is very much a virtue.

I’ve had to learn this the hard way during my time as a waitress. Patience is the very essence of being a waitress. You have to wait on others to decide what they want and to finish up so that you can move on to your next task.

Having patience with customers, who make your skin crawl, is a virtue in every way. Take it all in stride, smile and laugh your way to the bank.

Lastly, please always tip your waitress or waiter. Tips are their only real source of income and your satisfaction with the exact temperature of your sirloin shouldn’t depend on your mood (you have blame the kitchen for that one). Be kind, we're all working hard.

Top Photo Courtesy: Two Broke Girls