As many of you already know, a few weeks ago I began working at Bruegger’s Bagels once again (my summer job from last year). After resuming my work in the service industry, I have been reminded of a few important lessons that I have learned from my work experience at Bruegger’s and I thought I would share them with you today.
- Working in customer service or the food industry is not necessarily an easy job. Before I started working at Bruegger’s I thought that working in fast food was an easy task. However, I soon learned everything that went into putting out an amazing product and the work necessary to ensure things run smoothly. I think people are sometimes too quick to judge people who work minimum-wage jobs. Some days my job is just as difficult or stressful as any other occupation.
- Service workers don’t want to inconvenience you or make your life more difficult (granted they are good workers). I sometimes think that customers fail to realize that I do my best every day to get them their food as fast as possible and have all the products ready for them to order. However, some days this goal simply isn’t achievable. My least favorite thing to do at work is tell someone that we don’t have something that they want.
- Respect is a two-way street. Any worker will tell you that they will work 5 times harder and be 10 times happier if the customer they are working for is respectful and understanding toward them. I know from personal experience that when a customer is grateful and appreciative of my work, that encourages me to do better to please them.
- Service workers are human too and part of being human means making mistakes. Have I made mistakes at work? Definitely. Do I wish they wouldn’t have happened? Of course. I guess what I am trying to say with this point is to remember to think big picture. Is putting the wrong cream cheese on a bagel really enough for you to yell at a teenage girl over? A little compassion goes a long way.
- Many of these positions are filled by first time workers (AKA young teenagers). So don’t be surprised if you have to repeat your order to them one or two times or if they don’t know that lox is another word for salmon. They are just doing the best they can.
- Please and thank you go a long way. As a customer you are paying for a service and don’t think your appreciation doesn’t go unnoticed. One of my favorite things about working is when a customer genuinely thanks me for what I am doing for them. It reminds me that my work, even if it is small in the grand scheme of things, is having a positive affect on others.
These are just a few things that have been running through my mind today. I guess my main takeaway is that a little kindness toward workers can go a long way.
Worry less and smile more.