I work as a busser at Ken Stewart’s Lodge, a local fine dining restaurant in Bath. I have worked part-time at this restaurant since the summer of 2017, and from my personal involvement, it has been one of the most enjoyable facets of my high school experience. While my other interests such as running cross country, hanging out with friends (and even writing for this school newspaper) have given me a variety of positive and negative experiences, none of these compare to the stark reality of working at a job as a teenager.
The opportunity to earn money has always brought a sense of dedication and persistence to my ambitious endeavors to succeed in life, but the physical and mental demands one endures while working long shifts at a restaurant allows for one to observe and analyze themselves. My fellow busser colleague Eric Dye commented on the importance of working during high school.
“I think [working] teaches you good time management and it makes you aware of what money means to you and how that relates to your time. I think a job, in general, puts a good perspective on what you are currently doing in your high school career right now,” Dye said.
The restaurant industry brings more experiences than one would initially imagine from just cleaning tables and carrying food to customers. Throughout my time working in a restaurant, I have learned to work alongside a wide age range of individuals, from bussers and hostesses my age who work part-time to the kitchen staff and managers who work at Ken Stewart’s as a career. By working with them, I have gained new perspectives on different people’s jobs and the tasks they need to fulfill for each of their shifts. Another busser colleague Macy Keaton discussed her time working with other co-workers at Ken Stewart’s.
“I kind of like working with people who aren’t my same age, hearing their stories and life experiences and tips. . . . I know some people don’t necessarily feel as comfortable around people who are older than them, just in terms of speaking freely and being themselves, but I don’t really have a huge issue with that,” Keaton said.
Working in a restaurant additionally allows one to see how the entire staff handles a given evening shift and the process of how a customer’s order is taken, prepared and made to order. My manager Wendy Glivar commented on the importance of working in the restaurant industry.
“I think every single person . . . should work in the restaurant industry for at least six months to a year. As consumers and people that frequent restaurants a lot, I think it’s important that people understand what actually goes on at a restaurant behind the scenes to fully understand maybe why your food is a little late, maybe why this wasn’t communicated right, [or] maybe why we are only open [from] this time to that time,” Glivar said.
If you are one on the fence of thinking whether or not to take up a job during high school, I highly recommend you apply just to see what happens. Even if you decide to work outside of the restaurant business and work in a different field of interest, the opportunity to engage with the local community will allow you to get a better perspective on yourself and others around you.