“Ah, the glamorous life of the service industry,” said no one ever. Nobody ever dreams of waiting tables for the rest of their lives, but that’s not to say that working in the service industry isn’t a respectable career option either. In a world where the success of this industry is measured by the amount of tips customers are willing to pay, it’s a difficult line of work that can young people many necessary life lessons.
From dealing with shitty customers, to being on your feet for long hours, working in this industry makes you feel as though you’ve worked extremely hard to earn every single dollar that's in your pocket at the end of your shift.
Growing up, many Millennials probably had the opportunity to work in the service industry in-between school semesters as a summer job, or during the semester in order to help fund extracurricular activities. Whatever the reason was for entering this line of work, more kudos to you. At an early age you learned that hard work equals money in your wallet.
Aside from the money earned, which can be instantly gratifying, there are lessons on people, bosses and work ethics that can be gained from your experience in the service industry.
Every 20-something should experience working in the service industry at least once in their lifetime, and here’s why:
You gain a sense for what people truly want
Marketing 101 or any lectures on advertising can teach you textbook material, but actually dealing with customers everyday is a whole different, and sometimes more beneficial ballgame. Whether you work in sales or the food industry, you gain a better feel for the latest trends and learn what is driving consumers to spend their hard earned money. Once you gain an understanding of what’s in at the moment, you will realize what you have to offer consumers as well.
Customer Service is humbling
The service industry is exactly what it sounds like: it’s centered around customer service. The saying, “The customer is always right,” is a policy adopted by many service jobs and although you’re only human, for the sake of your paycheck, you’re going to have to fix that self-righteous attitude. Working in the service industry will force you to deal with all types of people from all backgrounds and who will likely have different opinions than your own.
When it comes down to it, you serve as the link between the company and the client and are responsible for providing a friendly, pleasant customer service experience. Nonetheless, this experience will humble you and your character. There are many shitty customers in this world who will give you a hard time because of their fickleness, and there are also those customers who will treat you with respect and might even end up becoming your “regulars.” Those handful of regulars can make your job much more bearable after dealing with a lot of shitty ones.
Value of money
In a twisted world where the tips you make probably equals the majority of your pay, you learn to hustle, and hustle well. Not the type of hustling where you barter goods in exchange for the best price, but the type of hustling that’s masked behind the facade of a smile. You turn on the charm factor in order to provide the best service and in turn, watch that translate into an increase in your tips.
That’s mostly applicable to the food industry or jobs based on a commission pay structure, but even in retail where you know you only make a certain amount of money on an hourly basis, you’re still on your feet folding clothes to earn that paycheck. The value of money is essential here, and you have to be willing to work your ass off for it.
Ultimately, working in the service industry can prep you for a career in any industry that you desire to work in. Having prior experience in customer service and knowing what consumers want are beneficial skills to any career. These skills will equip you better handle any situations that come your way throughout your life since you already understand what people want. Even if you do not work in the service industry, keep in mind whenever you are a customer that service workers are just life you and deserve to be treated with respect. Treat these people the way you would like to be treated, and realize that we’re all trying to hustle.
Photo credit: GoodBurger