Choosing a Hospitality Career

You’ve decided you want to work in the industry, you’re choosing a hospitality career. You love it and this is where you want to be. You’ve hushed all the naysayers – “you won’t make any money!” “you’ll be treated poorly” “you have more gifts and talents, you should pursue engineering, banking, etc.” 

You know what they don’t know. Working in the Hospitality Industry allows you to ‘work to live’ not ‘live to work’. Do you want to take a month off to hike across Europe? Write a book? Spend time with your aging parents? Help put on your child’s school play by building the set design? Or just rest and see where the road takes you?

Hospitality is for you. You will always be able to get a job. If you’re open, flexible, build a solid reputation, and have a plan for the life you want – you will always find work. You will be surrounded with people who live this way, working what may seem like odd hours to some, but living a life that is right for them. Being in this community of people that create their own way is inspiring. You’ll likely be moved to do more than you first started dreaming of.

The hospitality industry is one where you will learn how a business runs from end to end from the inside and out. For those who said you should be in accounting, if the drawer doesn’t balance at the end of the night, you’ll hear about it. Every single staff member will know if the night was profitable. More profit means more work. It’s immediate feedback that demonstrates if the team is doing something wrong – or right. There’s accountability. If you are late, unprepared or not doing your job, you let the whole team down and they’ll let you know it pretty quickly.

Choose a venue that attracts you and then seek work in it. Be open and demonstrate what you can offer to them, not what they can do for you. If you were hired as a bartender, but they really need servers, jumping in to serve will show management that you are in for the long haul. If you just can’t serve but are a gifted bartender, it will quickly be obvious and you likely won’t be asked again. Offering the short-term help will be greatly appreciated and was very necessary in the moment. When you’re in the middle of a busy service “it’s not my job” is not a sentence you’ll hear uttered in the industry. It’s a benefit to understand what’s required in each job. You’ll quit complaining about the dishwashers not being fast enough when you realize they hand wash each glass because the glasses break in the dishwasher.

Hospitality has endless opportunities to either build a long-term career or get work from time to time. It will also teach you a lot about running a business from the ground floor to the highest-level perspective. If you’re planning to advance your career in hospitality surround yourself with people who have done it, and ask them for advice. Read books from those who have built a life in the industry.  Consider starting with Jacques Pepin, a man who continues ‘to work to live’ and shows the way at 82 years old. Please share any other books that would benefit the Restaurant Nuts community as they build their careers in the comments below.


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