During summer break, I was very eager to find a summer job. I decided to look for one during summer break. However, while I was able to land several interviews, I was declined by a few employers. Luckily, I was able to land a job at an Ethiopian restaurant that I frequently go to and start my first every working experience.
I worked five times a week for about roughly five hours during the nighttime. I had no fixed position and mostly did a little bit of everything. This included, washing the dishes, serving customers, redesigning the menu, managing the cashier, setting up, and cleaning up. The restaurant was quite small, therefore, it was mostly only the owner and I. While I was shy and nervous in the beginning, how that I have gained some experience, I learned a lot working a lot in the restaurant business.
As I look back, I am quite embarrassed with how I interacted with customers. I would always look down with my body slouched Because I was afraid and nervous whenever serving the customers, I would not get too close, making obvious that I was a new worker.
However, as time went on and I got used to the environment, I got more and more comfortable with serving customers. Whenever I ate out with my family or friends, I made sure to pay attention to the waiters. I realized how most of the time I did not even notice the waiters. This brought me to the conclusion that no customer is going to nit-pick on every action I do. More and more, my voice got louder and my posture became more confident. I learned that while, in the ‘real world’, I should be accountable for everything I do and I can’t hide behind the “I’m still a child” excuse, it is not an entirely different world from now. This helped me feel more comfortable for my future as day by day, I am getting closer to becoming an adult.
During this experience, I also learned how to interact with customers and was able to experience a field around customer service. I had to be sure to always check up on customers and make sure that their restaurant experience was the best it could be. Whenever I was called, I made sure to have a smile on my face and act polite yet still formal to keep a positive impression. In addition, I learned how to deal and react when receiving backlash from customers. While it is very easy to get angry and want to explain yourself, I understand that the customers are always right. Henceforth, I would simply apologize.
Of course, I learned basic restaurant etiquette. This included how to carry plates or service trays properly, which hands should be used and when, silverware and plate positioning, how to properly interact with a customer and which words to use, and pouring drinks.
In addition, not only have I learned a lot from the working experience, but the whole job application process including job interviews and getting rejected, provided me with even more opportunities to learn. I understand that how you carry yourself during every part of the application process matters, even when talking on the phone with the employer. I made sure I researched the correct way to use formality when speaking Japanese, which is always useful and important to know in general. During job interviews, I understood the importance of first impressions and how to make a good one during the first minute. Although I have gotten rejected by a few places, I was able to reflect on what to improve on next time. I am glad that I was able to apply to a job very early in my life, as this is very useful for future college and job applications
I am grateful that I had this opportunity, especially at a very young age to prep myself for my future. While it was a completely new environment and took some time for adjusting, I value what I have gained from this experience. I will still be working at this restaurant even as school begins, therefore, I hope that I am able to balance work and school, and gaining experience even further.