I am a server in the year 2010. All around me, every day, I hear of restaurant failures, rising unemployment, foreclosures, economic pain, and general unrest. A prolonged recession has morphed this industry into something entirely new and foreign. It has reshaped my guest's expectations, placed more pressure on my coworkers, and raised the level of tension and uncertainty in the kitchen. At the same time, I serve incredible food sourced from California's bountiful farmland. I tout the importance of local and organic agriculture, promote boutique-style wineries that embrace sustainability, and I take part in a vibrant social network for the restaurant community that ties it all together.
I find myself at the intersection of terror and hope. At one extreme, the sky seems to be falling. At the other, anything and everything is possible. I am not the same waiter I was a year or two ago, that's for certain. I've had to adapt. Looking forward, If I have any advice for my fellow servers, it would be:
Start Really Caring About Your Work
If anything, do this for yourself. I have found certain things about waiting tables that really interest me, and no matter what is said throughout the course of a shift, that passion and interest cannot be taken from me. Serving food is emotionally and physically draining. If you don't care about what you're doing, you are going to drive yourself crazy. So pick something, anything. The wine, the food, the service, whatever. Start drilling deep into that thing. Become an expert. If you can't find something about this industry that really grabs you, then maybe its time to find another line of work.