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Dawn Rosenberg McKay

Weekly Career Profile: Waiters and Waitresses

By December 5, 2012

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When I see waiters or waitresses carrying trays piled high with food, I think to myself "I could never do that job." The restaurant I worked at would lose a lot of money because all the food would end up on the floor. Waiting tables is very hard and, often, extremely stressful work. It not only involves carrying heavy trays, but also spending many hours on one's feet. To make matters worse, as the public face of a restaurant, it is the waiter or waitress who is the recipient of criticism when a diner doesn't enjoy his or her meal. On the bright side, diners praise you when the food is good, even when you had nothing to do with its preparation. Waiters and waitresses greet patrons, tell them what the specials are and answer any questions they have.

Some restaurants will hire only job applicants who have a high school diploma or GED, but many hire those who are still in school. Most positions are part-time and typically include working early mornings, late evenings, weekends and holidays. Job openings will be plentiful through 2020, due to the high turnover in this field (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition).

You may think working as a waiter or waitress is an easy option for those who are looking for a part time job. Make sure you know the facts. First of all, you have to like people, even those who may not always be nice to you. You also must be physically strong. Those food and beverage laden trays are very heavy. Learn more about this occupation. Read Waiter or Waitress: Career Information. Learn about job duties, requirements and job outlook. Arrange an informational interview with a waiter or waitress to get a first-hand account.

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