I am 30 years old. I have been in the restaurant business since I was 14. First a hostess, then at Subway, then on to a server at 16 years old. I have done other jobs such as factory work, gas station attendant, ect. But minimally. I always fall back on being a waitress. I’m good at it, and generally I make good money. Key word, Generally. There are too many times I go home with $20 in my pocket. Rare occasions even less. In the bar I worked at for 8 years, even on slow nights, I would work a 12 hour shift(5 pm-5am) making less than $100. And if a client walked out on their bill, I had to pay it. So not only did I not get a tip for hours of service, but I had to pay for the table. Then at the end of the night, it was the server’s job to clean the entire restaurant. Not the bartenders (who made at least $2 more an hour than us. Not the bouncers (or door men, as our employer called them), not a cleaning crew. If people puked all over, it was my job to clean and sanitize it. For $2.50 an hour. Eventually, I did have chances to bar tend at this establishment. But they were rare, because of one excuse or another. I was to good of a server, they couldn’t lose me off the floor, I had to be a manager to be behind the bar (mind you, I had a manager code, key to unlock the place, when a new bartender worked with me, I was to train them, and fix any paperwork mess ups.) So basically I was being told that there was no ladder for me to climb. The ONE nice thing this employer did for me, was let me take 4 months off (during, thankfully, our slow season, to spend with my first newborn child. And although did not exactly pay for maternity leave, let me collect unemployment, without them stopping it.
At end I must say, Living Off Tips is an Everyday Struggle.