Learn to Listen

I love hospitality workers. They hold a special place in my heart. I pray for their specific plight during this pandemic, as most of the hospitality businesses are shut down and the jobs they are normally underpaid for are now simply gone.

For years I myself worked in a restaurant, and while it was hard and humbling, it just may have been my favorite job ever.

I’ll never forget when I was a kid and my stepmother made a dig at me, saying I could never handle a job like being a waiter. Admittedly, at the time she was probably right. The truth can cut like a sword, and she knew it. I did have an air of superiority about me. I was a little snob that seemed to always have my nose either in a book or up towards the clouds.

But that all changed, and I proved her wrong when I got hired and went to work at a restaurant. Humility is the first lesson you learn in hospitality. My nose came down out of the air, my eyes got opened to the realities of hospitality work, and even more so, my ears were opened. As a server I had to learn to listen. I had to learn that everybody demands that they are heard and attended to when you are serving them. It took me out of my self absorption, and made me realize that I needed to care about others.

It’s a wonderful life lesson that I feel all of us can learn. I personally believe everyone should work in hospitality at least once, because it’s the greatest teacher to let you know that we all want to be heard, and so we all need to listen.

So when the quarantine restrictions are eased, and the hospitality businesses are back, remember that your server is a person just like you, and they’re working hard in an often humbling job. Believe me, I know that they are not all top notch, but even still, they are all learning how to listen.

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