Gone are the days when the hospitality industry was regarded as a rung in the ladder as you climb to a “real career”. Tending bar or waiting tables is no longer the limbo between jobs that twenty and thirty-somethings are sentenced to just to make ends meet. Kitchens are no longer staffed by ex-cons or high school dropouts. Mom and Dad can’t complain that you need to get a “real job” anymore!

This is due, in part, to the rise of the foodie culture and changing attitudes towards the foodservice industry. Celebrity chefs, celebrity bartenders, and celebrity restaurateurs have also fed the shift. We’ve accepted that making it in the industry somewhat parallels success as an actor or recording artist. However, there’s a greater chance of finding success in hospitality because you’re in full control of the outcome.

It’s not just about learning customer service skills anymore.

In the industry, you’ll learn business theory while gaining sales prowess and leadership skills. Add the “on the job”, practical skills you’ll pick up in the kitchen and behind the bar, then factor in the charisma you’ll develop in the front of the house and you’ve got a pretty solid foundation for a lasting career.

All of these can be developed over time. And none of them have to do with luck or your personal image. You don’t even have to drop a ton of money at some fancy school of business. Take that, Wharton and M.I.T.!

So, should you work full-time or part-time?

The answer is…. always opt for full-time. Here’s why:

1. Benefits

These come in many forms. Restaurateurs know rock star employees put a lot of time and effort into work so they’re willing to offer benefits to those who earn them. Some no longer require you to work the traditional 40 hours to qualify.

There are the other smaller perks, too, such as FREE FOOD (yeah. we thought we’d shout that one out)! And, although not as important as it used to be, you still have the opportunity to take home cash at the end of each shift.

2. On the Job education

You don’t need years of expensive schooling. You can start making money almost immediately and learn the business from the ground up.

Each and every one of the skills we’ve listed above can be learned and perfected while working. In fact, they HAVE to be because whether you’re in the front of the house or the back, your money and your work reputation depends on it.

3. Flexible schedules

There’s real life going on outside of work and the service industry takes that into account. With a flexible schedule, you can still achieve financial goals without feeling bad about taking a week (or weekend) off to live your life.

Also, you won’t find yourself taking work home and you won’t get calls from the boss or clients at all times of the day. Once your shift is over…it’s out of sight, out of mind.

This is a social industry that touches people from all walks of life.

4. Networking opportunities to last a lifetime

This is a social industry that touches everyone from all walks of life. You’ll meet every type; from celebrities to corporate big wigs to up and comers you may take for granted at first.

You never know just how important a connection made at work will turn out to be down the road.

5. Accepting of all points of view

The service industry has always been a haven for those who feel they don’t fit into society’s square pegs. It’s also been a welcoming starting point for immigrants, some of who’ve stayed in the business and found enormous success.

No matter what your lifestyle, beliefs, or circumstances are, the service industry will reward you on equal footing with everyone else as long as you’re willing to work hard.

And things are only getting better.

There have been myths and nightmares of what life in the industry can be like. You’ve heard of the unhealthy lifestyles, the long hours for little pay, and the horror stories of irate customers. But, with the cultural shift towards acceptance of the foodservice industry as a legitimate professional career, business owners and patrons are more educated than in the past, so these myths are disappearing.

All of that signals endless future opportunities for you.

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