I was going through my camera roll last night, and I found this picture; Me and one of my ex-coworkers eating a slice of pizza, sitting on top of the racks before polishing all the glassware and going straight into dinner service.
Before this picture, we were already around 8 hours deep into our shift. We had done brunch service and dealt with all the family gatherings, the bottomless mimosas, and the loud happy kids. I bet you can feel the pain in our feet now. We’ve all been there, right?
You might be thinking, “okay well why is she telling me all this?” Well my friend, because once you step into the back of the house of a restaurant or a hotel, you’re never going to be the same.
Working in this industry is like going to the eye doctor. You end up getting a new pair of glasses that allow you to see everything in a different way. You see a much more realistic and emphatic world out there. You see all the hard work, the sweat, the tears, and the laughs.
You start to notice all the things you didn’t when you were a customer sitting on the other side of the table. All the details, the smiles, the frowns, the excitement.
Working in this industry makes you have a strong set of skills, including being a team player, and at the same time, being a leader. Because let me tell you one thing, when you work in this industry you know for sure there are no two days the same. You never know what’s around the corner and how you’re going to have to come up with quick and practical solutions.
Your coworkers become your family, that’s another thing. They understand the way you look when you’re in the weeds and need some help without you even asking. They’re the only ones that know exactly how you’re feeling. You spend more time with them than with your actual family sometimes.
You also learn to appreciate your free time, and I mean any free time. Sometimes the only time that you get to be by yourself is when you go pee! Hospitality fellows, you won’t let me lie when I say that sometimes you can’t wait to have 2 minutes where you can just not think. You also probably forgot when was the last time you ate something, so you sneak a quick bite. Fries, chips, anything that’s quick and easy to grab because who are we kidding, we don’t have time to sit. Go go go! But hey, at least you don’t need to worry about working out because you’ve been running and on your feet all day!
Some people say this industry is overwhelming, and it is, but it is also the most gratifying industry I know. Yes, it can be exhausting to deal with people 24/7, but it can also be the best way to make someone’s day with the smallest detail. It’s an industry full of opportunities and challenges that are only going to make you a better person at the end of the day.
That’s why I think it’s good to have that “Oh, I worked busing tables at my first job” kind of experience. When you work anywhere in the Hospitality Industry, you understand so much of all the hard work that goes behind the scenes. And when you’re on the other side being a customer, you become so much more present, grateful, and respectful of everyone’s job.
I’m only 26 years old, but I’ve been working in this industry for as long as I can remember, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It makes me want to do better, treat people kinder, and make them have a good time.
One of my college teachers once said to me: “Well you know, if you work in this industry you will always work while everyone else is having fun, on vacation, or enjoying a night out”, and boy, he was right.
But I’ve realized that if Hospitality is what you love to do, and your coworkers have become your family, you’ll always be having a good time too.
So to answer the question I wrote as the header for this article, yes, working in the Hospitality Industry changes you as a person. Because you understand how important it is to appreciate and be kind to others, simple as that.
We get to make magic while we work in this industry. Whether we bring someone’s favorite dish to their table, have a special arrangement waiting in their hotel room, or by turning someone’s wedding planning book into a reality. There’s magic in all these moments, magic that makes you wake up and go to work another day.
For all my fellow Hospitality workers out there, THANK YOU. Thank you for showing up to work and making the rest of us enjoy and experience. I appreciate you and can’t wait to serve you next time.
Maria Navarro. Content Marketing Specialist for the Hospitality Industry. Combining my passion for writing with my love for this industry. Hoping to reach more people with my writing and convey the true meaning of this industry.