By Rebecca Seylar, Editorial Director
Only months after turning 18, I got hired at my first “real” job. Three years later, I’m still at the same locally-owned restaurant, serving my regulars dirty martinis and spaghetti with meatballs.
What has three years as a server taught me? Often I’m simply reminded to never underestimate the value of patience, but generally I’ve learned things about myself and others that apply to various aspects of my professional and social life.
Most importantly, paying my bills throughout college has taught me not only to prioritize, but how to be responsible and realistic. Sometimes I really, really want that new pair of shoes, but I know my AT&T bill is just days away, waiting to be paid. Learning how to budget is tricky, but it is an incredibly important skill for young professionals to grasp before graduating college.
Time management and organizational skills have also proven to be exponentially important as the years go on. School, internships and work can sometimes take up so much of my time, the hours left for sleep can be tallied on one hand. Avoiding distractions is often hard, but it’s a necessity if you often find yourself sucked into the time machines otherwise known as Facebook and Netflix.
As a public relations student, I’ve learned all about building relationships, and that effective communication strategies result in positive outcomes. As a server, good communication often can be the difference between getting stiffed on a $50 bill and receiving a tip that will pay for my meal that night. When at work, I have to display a positive image and get a feel for the type of person I am serving at that table. Adapting my attitude and responses accordingly is often helpful, and I’m constantly finding myself putting what I’ve learned in my PR classes to work in real life.
Maintaining a job through college was financially necessary for me, but in reality it has been rewarding in so many ways. In addition to career related internships, I have a paid, real-world job that taught me personal skills and a lot about myself. If you don’t have one already, consider one of these 10 jobs that U.S. News says look good on your resume. Luckily for me, waitressing made the list at number five!