Service Industry Ethic


I’m just about done re-reading Kitchen Confidential. Bourdain tells several stories of people working through horrific injuries. In the kitchen, cuts and burns are common. 

It’s a testament to the focusing power of living paycheck-to-paycheck that so  many people in the service industry will work through anything. When I got my office job it was shocking to me that I could just call in sick (which I never do) and fill out a PTO form. 

I know you’re supposed to stay home when you’re sick for the public good, but that shit doesn’t fly when you have a busy night ahead and none of your comrades are picking up their phones. I always made a mental note to reciprocate the amount of help I got from coworkers, but almost always took shifts if I could. Money is money. 

The worst injury I ever worked through was a scooter crash. On my way to a shift as a waiter, I crashed on some wet train tracks. I wasn’t wearing gloves and ended up with a ravaged right hand and a broken wrist that still hurts when it’s cold. I was closer to work than home, so I picked my bike up and rolled into work. 

The manager helped me wrap my hand up like a mummy and I worked through my shift. There was never a conversation about going home early. That’s just how the restaraunt industry is. Or at least it used to be. 

I hear crews are a lot softer now. 

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