Dear Diary, So for the past week, I have been helping my parents out in their Fish and Chip shop #chipsfordays, and it got me thinking ...

Dear Diary,

So for the past week, I have been helping my parents out in their Fish and Chip shop #chipsfordays, and it got me thinking about a question I was asked at an interview - "Have you learned more from being at university or from your work experiences?" Given that my work experiences almost always involved food (self-proclaimed foodie over here), my answer was simple - "working in a restaurant taught me life lessons and gave me a combination of skills that I probably could never attain so well or quickly elsewhere".

And what are these life lessons and skills you speak of? Well here's the list:

Life Lesson #1: Kill them with kindness
This is just so true to all aspects of life! Approximately four out of five times, I can say that when having dealt with rude and rotten customers, by the end of their meal their attitude towards me flips 180 degrees (plus they also tip more if they know they've been an arse, which is always a bonus).

Life Lesson #2: Tipping is important
Whenever I go out to eat, I go with the intention of tipping. It is only if the service is truly terrible that I would give a smaller tip because once you know what happens behind the scene, a good tip does wonders. Please note, the time it takes for the food to arrive at your table is fully in the hands of the kitchen, not the wait staff!

Life Lesson #3: Not all bosses are baus*
I have heard some horror stories about some of my friends' managers. I was a lucky one and had a great GM. She taught me what is considered a good boss, and for sure I emulate those qualities when I am in positions of leadership. Regardless whether you have a good boss or not, it is always an opportunity for you to learn what to do and what not to do.
*Excuse the slang, it felt confused otherwise.

Life Lesson #4: Your colleagues become your family
You have to love the people you work with and at least try to spend time and bond with them because you end up forging some pretty spectacular moments with them - #WildwoodFam. It makes working together on particularly arduous days so much more fun and that much easier. Plus, who else will have a drink and talk about the woes of life with you when everyone else is already halfway through their night or in bed.

Skill #1: You can communicate and connect on all levels
The adults, the children, the ones who can't speak English and so on. From the moment they walk through the door, you need that ability to instantaneously communicate hella well to build up a good rapport with them, especially if you're working for tips.

Skill #2: You become a multitasking God
A quick insight into the mind of a waitress during peak times - table 26 asked for ketchup, table 24 have been waiting twenty-ish minutes for the food, must check, table 20 needs clearing and relaying, I can quickly help take your drinks to table 70 no problem, running out of cutlery need to go polish asap...... - and this isn't even a one time thing, it is for the entire shift. You even start making a mental note of how many things you can accomplish within 5 minutes and start seeing if you can set a personal best, or at least I did.

Skill #3: You toughen up
Being insulted in general is not nice, but being insulted by a customer can bring you to tears especially during a stressful shift. But after a few horrid remarks where it is most definitely the customer who is all kinds of wrong, it will bounce off you like you're made of rubber. You also start to see the things in life that are worth your time, and when you just really should just get over it and move on.

Skill #4: You are a pro at dealing with the unexpected
Whether it is a sudden evacuation (this happened to me once), or a group booking having extra people and need seating, you have no time to umm and ahh over what you should do. Thinking on your feet becomes second nature, and following through with your decisions is a must. If you could have done better you know for next time.

I can't really put into words how grateful and lucky I feel to have worked with the people I did and met the people I have. Every time I go back to the restaurant, even with so many new faces, it still feels like family. So go everyone, go and work at a restaurant if you can!

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