6 Lessons from Working Service Jobs

I’ve only ever had four jobs in my life: My first job was at Sweet Frog (a frozen yogurt place), a cashier at Kohl’s, a server at Applebee’s, and now I work at Starbucks. From desserts to clothes to food to coffee, all of these are considered customer service jobs. Though you don’t need a college degree to work in places like these, they teach you a lot about life in more subtle ways. In my five years working service jobs, here are a few things I’ve learned!

1. Consider other people’s perspective.

I've had customers who, maybe the first time I met them, were really nasty, and seeing them later they were much more pleasant. At first, I would write them off as a mean person but later come to realize they were just having a terrible day. Most of the time I try to give my customers the benefit of the doubt and be extra kind to them. Hopefully the next time I see them is better.

2. Treat everyone with respect the first time.

On the flip side of this scenario, sometimes customers are a little rude the first few times they see a new face and until they know you can properly take care of them, they’re a little curt. Everyone I’ve had like this always ends up being super friendly but it may take awhile. This always gets me thinking that I should treat everyone fairly the first time, and not make them have to prove themself to me before I treat them with kindness and respect.

3.  Tone is everything.

I'm always happy to help my customers out with anything they may need, but trust me, I’m always more excited to help someone out who isn’t rude about an issue. When you’re paying for a service or product, it really should be to a high standard. I totally understand that, but it’s easy to ask someone politely than shouting and making a scene.

4. Clean up after yourself

I know it sounds stupid, but I always find it so inconsiderate when people leave a whole pile of garbage on the table. Obviously it doesn’t take long to throw it away, but it’s just the general principle. It’s super easy to do and is courteous for the employees working.

5. There are other things going on than just you and your order.

I know often when we go out and have a simple order and it takes awhile it’s easy to be impatient, but there are always more things going on than just your order. Chances are, your order is in line behind a bigger and more complicated one. Just remember the workers are doing their best, just give them a little time.

6. It’s the small things

It really doesn’t take a lot to make someone smile. It always makes my customers really happy when I remember their name or their order or remember something they told me. It also makes me super happy when my customers ask me how my day is going or remember my name.

(Actual footage of me at work when a customer says, "How are you today, Alyssa?")

Service jobs aren’t always glamorous, but they do teach you important life lessons. Simply, be kind.


*All photos courtesy of giphy.com