Sumaira Flower

Sumaira Flower

February 02, 2014

On An Aside: From White to Blue


Going by what BuzzFeed, Elite Daily, and Huffington Post suggest, I am going through a quarter life crisis. To help me navigate my life, I created a bucket list of things I want to do before I get married, have kids, etc. One of the bucket list items was to be a bar tender...

As you know, I LOVE wining and dining. I'm appreciative of excellent hospitality and have always been curious about what it is like to be on the "other side." Since I have little to no experience in the industry [I worked at Bagel World when I was 15], I decided to take up a hostess position at a local bar/restaurant to learn the ins and outs and hopefully work my way up to bar tending. (I will not disclose where with respect to the place.) I have a full time career, so my hours were not very flexible. Despite that, they were very accommodating and let me choose my shifts. 

I started training mid-January and was scheduled to work 2 nights a week (about 8-10 hours total). Today marked my first official shift after training and my last day of working in the food/beverage industry. 

I've had a successful career for the past 4 years so being a trainee again was a trip - especially because my trainers were 19. I tried to be open-minded though. They weren't the most refined of people but then again, I wasn't very polished when I was 19 either. Most of the employees are there because they have to be. So when they found out my motivation for being there (solely for the experience) I sensed some bitterness. I can understand that. I felt like Paris Hilton on The Simple Life. Oh well. 

This place gets a lot of business during the Super Bowl so naturally everyone was pretty overwhelmed. To make a long story short, every employee was at their wit's end and was being outright hostile toward each other. When you work in a restaurant, you have an audience therefore I had foolishly assumed that everyone was to at least pretend to be nice unless behind closed doors. Boy was I wrong. I could only swallow my pride for so long before I realized there's a fine line between being stressed out and being rude. 

After an hour of being in an environment that would have ultimately resulted in a murder, I decided to leave. I'm not a quitter by any means, so walking out crushed me a little bit. I'll get over it. Respect is too important to me. 

Lessons learned: 
1. Don't judge a book by it's cover. Seriously.
2. Treat everyone with respect. 
3. Maintain a game face even in the worst of situations in your professional setting. 
4. Value days off. 
5. Class cannot be taught. 

Epilogue:
Though  it was a short one, I'm really grateful for this experience. No regrets whatsoever - I now know I'm not cut out for the service industry. Working in this position gave me a lot of perspective and actually taught me some lifelong lessons. If you work in the service industry, people look at you differently. This is 100% factual. There was an instant shift in class the minute I changed into the gear. 95% of my life, I was white collar, and for the past 2 weeks, 5% was blue. I had to literally troubleshoot my mindset and expectations. It was a very humbling experience to say the least - especially since most of the time, I think I'm Boston's JLo. Lastly, I have even more respect for people who work in this industry. It's definitely not easy and you've gotta have some thick skin on ya!

Until next time, ciao! Xoxo :*


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