Sweaty and sticky, with sore arms and tired feet, servers along the Grand Strand are getting tired of carrying trays and hot plates, of fielding questions and dodging kids tearing through dining rooms at top speed.
Tourists trickle in during June, but by July the season is in full swing, and those double shifts and long nights of side work start to a toll body, mind and soul by August.
The boredom and despair of the winter famine is long forgotten by now, and many service industry workers are ready for things to wind down, but it’s far from over. August is here and busy as ever. Maybe you’re ready to hang up the apron for a while, but it’s not letting up at least until Labor Day weekend is done.
The stacks of cash each night keep you going for sure, but sometimes a rude patron or bad tip makes you ready to call the season. But don’t give up yet, there’s still plenty to be made and the cooler air and smaller crowds of September will come soon enough.
Here are some tips to help get you through the last leg and come out of this summer season saying it was the best one yet:
Take it easy on the spending
It’s the height of the season, and you’re really raking it in. The frustration of those rough nights and rude customers fade when you sit down and count your money at the end of the night. So why not go out and treat yourself to drinks after work, or an afternoon at the mall shopping?
Sure, spend a little, but never forget winter is coming! Those shifts that consist of only getting two or three tables are coming back. Make sure you stash some of that cash away. You’ll be glad you did when you’re able to make rent and keep the heat going later.
Switch gears if you’re really bottoming out
If you truly can’t take it anymore, see if there’s another role available that’s more back of the house. Be a server assistant and just restock and roll silverware, or be a just a foodrunner. There’s lots of positions to fill and work to be done. Maybe it doesn’t all pay quite as much, but it’s worth it to preserve your sanity.
Cool it on the summer work romance
You’re from Clemson, they’re from USC, but you’re both here for the summer and a Romeo and Juliet-type thing has ensued.
Things are hot and heavy now, and you’re inseparable. Unless you’re both up for a long-distance thing or switching schools, don’t forget that summer’s coming to an end, and your romance might have an expiration date. Even if no one’s going anywhere, remember work romances can be treacherous! Proceed with caution.
Take care of yourself
Don’t forget to rest. Skip a night out if your body’s screaming for it. Broadway at the Beach will be there tomorrow night and the next.
If you keep going in to work without sleeping the night before every other shift, you will collapse sometime – probably at an inopportune moment. And use some of that summer cash to go to the minute clinic and let someone look at that shoulder that won’t stop hurting. Chances are it’s only going to get worse if you don’t!
Don’t lose your cool
So many questions are always coming at you. People are always yelling in the kitchen. An undercooked steak is treated like life or death is on the line. People aren’t always nice when cook times are long, and they take it out on you. A bad tip you know you didn’t deserve makes it hard to keep going, then someone’s complaining that their food is cold after they sat there and talked for 10 minutes instead of eating it.
You are like a volcano about to erupt; who could blame you?
But don’t do it. Don’t lose your cool and maybe your job. Take a deep breath and go to your happy place and find a way to carry on. You’ll be glad you did.
Treat the job like it matters
Maybe your server job is just something you’re doing for the summer, so it doesn’t matter if you call out or often run late, right?
If you make the job a top priority and give it your all, you’re bound to see it pay off. Maybe your managers are impressed with your work ethic and give you a glowing reference that helps you with other pursuits. Or maybe there’s an opening for a bar manager at the end of the summer, and now the position is yours because you proved yourself. Working hard at any job you do always pays off in the long run.