It’s my day off.
I’m drinking a glass of cheap gas station wine in my pajamas at 2 p.m. If this isn’t the ideal writing environment, I don’t know what is.
Well, I suppose a beach, some sunshine and a bougie bottle of champagne might top this, but that’s beside the point.
There’s a point, you ask?
Well, yes. Sort of. Hopefully.
I’ve been a lot of things professionally, but for the most part, the majority of my adulthood bills have been paid via my serving or bar tending jobs — hence the cheap gas station wine, ha! As I begin to enter the next phase of my professional journey, I’ve had time to reflect on the life lessons I have absorbed while serving others.
When I was 14 I started working at a greasy, hole in the wall diner. By the time I was 17, I’d upgraded to a swanky five star establishment. I spent the next several years there sharpening my communication skills, swapping stories and slingin’ steaks to the greater Columbus community. In the beginning, though, I definitely had my awkward moments, which I’ve come to embrace, and my “Jess is running around like a chicken with her head cut off” moments. Then my coworker told me something I would never forget, even now, 10 years later. (Thanks, Lindsay!)
Consolidate your steps.
Every step you take as a server should lead to the next thing you need to do. The same thing can be applied in your every day life. Everything you do should lead to the next thing you want to do! Whether business related or in your personal life, what are your goals? What are you doing today to get you closer to those goals? Take the steps today that will better prepare you for tomorrow and before you know it, you’ll have already climbed the first mountain and be on to the next one. If the steps you’re taking don’t fit into your plan, cut them or rearrange. There’s no point in moving backwards. Essentially what I’m saying is work smarter, not harder, regardless of what your Fitbit says.
The next lesson is easy and is something that almost everyone I know has struggled with at some point.
Be authentically you!
Remember earlier when I mentioned my awkward moments? Yeah, so…I still get those. Now that I’ve come to embrace them, I’ve realized that I’m not as awkward as I think I am! Either that, or I’ve done a really great job of surrounding myself with people who are equally as awkward as me. And let’s be honest, that’s a great f*cking feeling. Looking around and seeing your growing tribe is like the first sip of coffee in the morning. It fills you with goodness and enthusiasm. Sometimes my tribe (and also my coffee) are the only things getting me through the day.
When you’re authentic, people recognize that and they see a part of themselves in the realness that you present. BE WEIRD if you’re weird! People will either like it or they won’t and that’s fine. That’s how you attract your people. Stand out. Dare to be different. Dare to show people who you really are. You never know who might cross your path in any given day and what they could potentially mean to you. This leads me to my next lesson.
Be kind to everyone.
In life, just as in service, you never know who among you is a future friend or investor. Be kind. Show genuine interest. Get to know people. Actually hear what they’re saying. That being said, don’t make fleeting friendships based upon investments. Rather, make emotional investments in your friendships.
This lesson is somewhat two-fold in the sense that everyone has a story.
At the end of the day, all of life is just a shared human experience. Is it just by chance that we ended up in the same place at the same time? Or do paths cross for a reason? No matter how minuscule the crossings may seem. Everyone has a story that they want to share.
About five years ago while I was in college working towards my business degree and attempting to teach myself the music industry on the side, my mom was a server. She told me about a coworker of hers who was going to school for music, insisting that I meet him. I shrugged it off as weird and went about my way. A year or so later I was brought in as a consultant to help with a project. Through a mutual friend, I met the music man I was supposed to have met all those moons before. We blossomed a friendship and another year after that the stars aligned for us to be more than friends. We’re still together to this day. Which only goes to show that mom knows best! And that sometimes all you need is someone to hear your story.
Share the world, share your time, share you thoughts, lend an ear. See where it leads you. There is magic in every moment if you know how to look and if you open yourself to the people around you.
I’m also a firm believer that if everyone had to serve for a living at least once in their life, we could drastically reduce some of the ***hole characteristics in human beings and society as a whole.
In short — consolidate, be you, be kind, tip your servers!
Author: Jess Peer
Author Bio: Jess Peer is a music making, word shaping, energy transmitter! A Columbus, Ohio native, she has a degree in music business and enjoys singing, making music and working as a freelance writer and music business consultant. She and her boyfriend (and fuzzy golden retriever, Jameson) own and are converting an ’87 VW Vanagon named Birdie to a full-time road home.
“My goal is to connect brands, artists, creators, CEOs, parents, pets, EVERYONE- to their own unique, amazing energy. I believe in honesty and transparency in creativity and the power it has to bring people together. This is my super power, and I believe it’s yours too.”
Link to social media or website: Instagram @jess.peer