“Do you have any past experience?”

Experience. Experience. Experience. Trying to get your first part time job is hard. Trying to get any job is hard. How are you meant to get a job when you need experience for the role but to get the experience you need a job? It’s a never ending cycle.

That Saturday job you get when you’re 17 doesn’t just provide you with something for your CV or a bit of extra cash…

…It might not seem like it at the time but it teaches you a lot. Not just how to set out a tray or the quickest way to wash a teapot. You don’t walk out of the cafe at the end of your shift ready to put everything you’ve been doing in a corner of your brain and forget it. You learn more than the perfect amount of tea for a two person teapot. You gain experience that you didn’t even know you needed.

  • It’s okay to make a mistake and everyone does it.

We’ve all made stupid mistakes. Yes over or undercharging someone seems like the end of the world but it’s so easily rectified. You’ll make mistakes but realising what went wrong and then solving it, is the best way to learn.

  • The service industry is tough.

Working in an independent cafe was hard because it was busy and small and was understaffed sometimes. But what made it fun was the fact that it was personal. We knew the customers, and my bosses weren’t shut up in a head office somewhere. They were working alongside me. Sometimes I would be telling them what to do.

  • Act confident and you will be.

Possibly the most useful thing I learnt was confidence. As the shy kid that never spoke in class, it seemed like a million worlds away to be the chatty, friendly waitress. But I managed. If you act like you’re confident people believe it and soon enough you’ll believe it.

  • Don’t doubt yourself.

 It’s very easy to go through life thinking you don’t have an impact. That’s really not the case. Working in a cafe is rewarding for its instant results. When it’s been a busy Bank Holiday Monday, you’re the only waitress and every customer has left with a smile on their face, you’re able to sit back and think: “Actually I did that. I can cope.”…

…Knowing you can cope? That’s the best lesson learnt.


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