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6 life lessons working in the restaurant industry

1. I learned how to multi-task. On busy days, you’ve got so many things going on. The phone keeps ringing, one table needs drink refills, another customer needs to be rang up, meanwhile I need to also pack up take-out orders. Sometimes it's just me working the front of the house, a one man team. I've learned good time management, and also how to prioritize tasks to get things done more efficiently.

2. I learned to be the bigger person. Some customers are going to be rude to you no matter what. You can be the best server in the world, and they'll still be rude. Many times you just have to just be the bigger person, and take the emotional abuse with a smile.

3. I learned to respect my coworkers. No matter the hierarchy of a restaurant, every worker is important. And it's usually the people that are lower in the hierarchy that are the most important in this business. At this point, my co-workers (besides my parents) have become like extended family so it's easier to respect them anyway.

4. I learned to tip well. I honestly can’t remember what kind of tipper I was before I was a waitress (probably because I was under the age of 13). But I can tell you that now, I’m a nice tipper. Besides being able to relate to others in the hospitality industry, as I get older I start realizing that I am a true empath. I don't know how to explain it, but I just naturally find myself putting myself into other peoples shoes and being able to feel what they feel. I always want to treat a server how I'd want to be treated, especially if they are really nice and friendly. A server has to screw up really really bad or have a really nasty attitude in order to receive a bad tip from me.

5.) I learned not to take things personally; Out of all my years working at the restaurant I don't think anyone has ever not tipped me because of my service. The very few people who don't tip or haven't tipped either a) don't tip anywhere they go b) forgot to tip or c) have some personal belief against tipping (some people think they don't have to tip an owner); So it's them not me sort of thing. Other times people have lashed their anger out on me for no good reason only to come back hours later to offer an apology, leading me to believe maybe they were just having a bad day.

6.) Smiling. I learned smiling goes a long way. A simple smile can make or break someone's day. In times of chaos, a smile shows you have things under control. Smile and attitude are everything. Even if you're in a bad mood, smile. There is no need to impose your bad mood on someone else's good mood.

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