How years as a waiter prepped me for my PR career

From swag bags to doggy bags: Keeping cool while multitasking, putting the client first, and growing a thick skin—all are as necessary in public relations as they are in the restaurant sector.

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I started my “career” as a fine dining waiter. At the time, I thought I was being a slacker. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Now, I look back on it as a formative and productive time.

I think everyone should spend time waiting tables. You want to get to know humanity? Stand between them and their next meal.

I learned a lot during that time. I’ll pick these five lessons-all of which helped me prepare for a career in PR and communications.

Learn to maintain composure when it all hits the fan.

Some of us were better at keeping our cool than others during the symphony rush when we have a full seating and all the guests have to be out the door by 6:30 pronto. I used to make fun of one co-worker: He’d walk so fast he was practically running back and forth through my station—inefficiently obviously, because of the multiple trips—giving my poor guests wind burn as he flew by.

Imagine spending $100 a head for dinner and your waiter is racing around like Millie at the diner. Being a fine dining waiter teaches you to be efficient, to multi-task, and to keep it cool when you’re about to lose it because you have entrees on the hot line, the chefs are screaming at you, and Susie at table 8 needs a slice of lemon for her water.

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