I am a firm believer that everyone should at some point in their life have a job in some sort of service industry. I believe there are skills and lessons that every person should have that are best learned in these types of jobs.
1. The perspective from the other side of the counter
Almost everyone will at some point in their life be a customer. Working in the service industry makes people better customers, because they understand what life is like on the other side of the counter. When one deals with people every day as a job, you gain an understanding of what makes a reasonable customer, and what makes an unreasonable customer. You are much less likely to be irate and yell at some kid that your coffee order is not 100% correct when the coffee shop is swamped with business, if you have been in that kid’s shoes and you know what it is like to be understaffed at a busy time of day. Understanding the ‘other side of the counter’ is an important life skill that can help facilitate many types of relationships in a person’s life.
2. Plate spinning
One of the most difficult skills for young people becoming adults to learn is how to be responsible for many different things at one time. How to keep track of all the various duties and chores. Working in the service industry helps people understand how to organize their life. The tools that can be used to ‘get one’s shit together’ can be learned in the service industry.
No matter how great you are, or how far you have come, nothing you will ever do makes you a better person than anyone else. It is very easy for people who have never worked a service job to see themselves as ‘better’ than those that do. Having worked in the service industry helps people gain humility. No matter how far they get in life, they will know and remember what it was like to be in those shoes. They will be grateful for how far they have come, for the opportunities they have had that allowed them to find work outside the service industry. Humility helps make one a more understanding, kind, and happier human being.
4. How to do a difficult job
No mater how much you love your job, there is always going to be something about it that you don’t like doing. Some part of your job will always be difficult, or boring, or annoying. Working in the service industry helps you mentally cope with doing tasks that you don’t like. It is a lesson not only in work ethic, but also patience and perseverance. Being able to get through the difficult parts of a job lead to real and lasting rewards.