This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet. My first time bartending I was left alone at the bar on a busy summer night with zero training. I cried in the back for a few minutes, then started pouring drinks. I mean, I didn’t have a lot of options. At one point, I was so stressed I asked a customer how to make a gin and tonic.
That night taught me that I could rely on myself when others didn’t show up. I could learn on the fly. I could advocate for myself by asking people to be patient, and I could operate under pressure. So when I was struggling after transitioning into the tech industry, I often thought to myself: If I could handle that first night of bartending, I could certainly handle learning SEO and Zoom
meetings. Working in food service can be brutal, but you learn how to work hard, collaborate with others, manage stress and deal with people. Despite that, it can feel like you’re unqualified for so-called white-collar work when you’re used to wearing an apron. And hiring managers may not always see the value food service workers can bring to the metaphorical table, even though they may be the most loyal and hardworking employees you could ask for. Read: Millions of Americans are Zooming all wrong“I’m just happy to be here” My ex-food service friends and I still swap restaurant tales like war stories: The time a customer vomited on the bar. The time a guy threatened us after getting cold nachos. The time my friend was branded by his head chef with a spoon. All that for just over minimum wage? When I started my first tech job, I nearly tri …