So it's been a really tough decision but, after a year working in a reception, I've decided to return to the service industry. This is not something I've done lightly, as working in a business environment where I've been given responsibility, appreciated and never micro-managed has been a breath of fresh air. It's reminded me just how capable I am. If I wanted to, I could thrive in the business world.
But it's not surprising that so many creatives flock to the service industry. Its flexible, social and, if you're good at it, it's also pretty lucrative. But contrary to poplar belief, waiting tables isn't actually as easy as everyone thinks. Sure, anyone could get a waiting job, but that doesn't mean that anyone can be a good waiter.
So I'm leaving the corporate world for more flexibility, more social life and, surprisingly, more money! But also... and here's a big thing... I won't have to wear a suit!
At first wearing a suit was great! I felt like a proper success and people speak to you much nicer than they do if you're wearing an apron and holding a notepad. As a waiter, people think they can talk to you however they like. A suit commands a certain amount of respect. It implies good life choices. And herein lies the problem... the suit implies that this is my life, that this is what I have chosen. I chose the suit. I'm a career choice and nothing more. People look at me and see someone who is achieving in the business world, who works hard for career progression, working 37.5 hours a week and drinking away the weekends while saving for a mortgage. This is not me at all. I am not a suit. I don't care about promotions or six figure salaries and over the past year I've discovered I don't care for weekends all that much either.
Although I don't like people talking to me like shit, as a waiter people assume you're up to something; that there's more to your story. Waiters are usually training, between personal goals or they're just generally creative types. People always ask what you do and you get to share that there's more to you than this job. Even if your answer is painfully clichéd. When you're wearing a suit people don't ask. They don't think for a second that you could be a vibrant, talented, unique person. You're just a suit. Another corporate wannabe playing the money game. And that's it, my main problem with suits... they suffolcate my personality. Nobody see's or cares how colourful and aspirational I might be. We are all just business people in a business world. And sometimes that hurts a little bit.
So next time you eat out, please talk to your waiter with respect; they're probably more than capable of doing your job if they wanted to. And when you see someone behind a reception desk, or at a computer or simply wearing a suit... ask them what they so at the weekends. You never know, you might be surprised.
...because a suit isn't always just a suit.