The five worst struggles of working in hospo
Heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s off to lose the will to live we go. While we may be studying to fulfil our career goals and dreaming of a richer future, right now we have things to pay for and minus dollars in our accounts. No life achievements? No skills? No experience? No problem! Hospitality will pay you minimum wage to scrape other people’s food and cop people’s shitty moods – all with a smile on your dial.
Being paid below the line
There are far too many establishments that take advantage of their young employees and don’t abide by laws. This includes being paid cash in hand, earning a wage below award rates or not receiving the actual breaks that you deserve. Employers often fly underneath the radar by trusting their employees are unaware of their actual rights. It’s the horrible prospect of being unemployed that keeps us abiding by sketchy processes.
For all women in hospitality it comes with the territory. There are lots of pigs out there who think it’s OK to remark on worker’s appearance, leer at them, make inappropriate comments or just be downright offensive. Dealing with a myriad of customers will bring out the best kinds of people and the worst, including males who are uneducated and downright sexist. If you work in a bar you’ll find that arrogant males and alcohol are a very poor combination. A small spat between colleagues or spilling something can easily be forgotten by the end of the shift, but derogatory comments will stay with you.
Sayonara social life
In hospitality, the sad reality is that you will be given shifts on the most social nights of the week, which means a whole lot of weekends spent clocking in hours so others can have fun. Time off is a precious resource, which means you have to start prioritising occasions and friends over one another and strategically plan your N/As. Casual drinks on a Friday night? It’s a no from me for the next few years.
A stressful work environment
Would it be work without stress? Not really. However the kitchen is notorious for being one of the most stressful work environments, especially when demand is high. Be prepared before every shift to be yelled at for anything that goes wrong and told three different kinds of instructions from three different people.
Basically, if you’re not a manager you have to do whatever you’re told. Being the weakest link in the chain, you will most likely be stuck with all the dirty work. Even better, when you start a hospitality job you will most likely receive minimal training, be expected to “just know” how to do things and then get yelled at when you don’t carry out tasks in the way they prefer. Of course, it’s all your fault.
Dealing with the public
Remember when you interviewed for your first job and said “Yes I love people! People are the best.” Hospo will gradually (but surely) beat that out of you until you discover that people are the worst thing to have been put on this planet.
Whether it’s the extreme lack of manners, spoilt people whining for additional services or complaints about things that you as a mere employee cannot change, your patience will wear so thin to the point that it disappears completely. Bite your tongue and smile through the pain knowing the evil receive their justice from above. Alternatively you can give them back all their change in five cent pieces to really annoy them.
Grace studies Communications and Media at the University of Wollongong and is an avid fan of Harry Potter and coffee.