There’s no faster way to create a raging misanthrope than by working in the service industry, especially when you just graduated university with a liberal arts degree that didn’t get you any of those job offers all those management kids got. When you just can’t find a job you’re passionate about that will actually pay your rent, and you just don’t have the balls to take out any more loans from the bank or from the parents, you take what you can get: a restaurant/service job. Being a cog in the service industry makes you hate everything about your life and everyone you meet, but you just can’t pay rent with passion.

This is going to be a weekly space that explores how fucked up working in the service industry can really be, the amount of constant shit you have to take and control your comebacks (you know, unless they’re such well-executed sarcastic replies that the simpleton in question just won’t get them). Really, just how nasty people can act when they think they’re in a position of power.

So, a few months out of university, I got to be all disillusioned and bitter because the only jobs I ever heard back from were sales/marketing jobs where you’re that telesales person pretending not to be one. The person everyone hates and curses out, because it’s never fun getting a call about life insurance when trying to enjoy dinner. They always call at dinnertime; It's a conspiracy that makes no sense.

The magazine I wanted to work for couldn't pay me, which is how I started working this one barmaid job. Thing is, you’re thrown way down the pecking order when you graduate university and go on to a server job. Waaay down.

One of the shittiest things to get used to is the amount of ignorance you come across every shift. You’d think that for anyone living in a city like Montreal--where there’s so much social and cultural diversity--things like racism and sexism would be buried pretty deep, and largely erased. Even if you’re stuck in a bygone era and can’t rid yourself of bigoted thinking, I’d assume some amount of social shame would keep it out of a work environment, you know?

Here's my issue with these comments: I have a hard time being put down by socially/culturally ignorant douchebags that happen to take over the bar I’m working at. Isn’t maintaining a civil work environment kind of crucial to the smooth operation of a business? I get that having a degree from a well-respected university probably gives me a chip on my shoulder and an “I don’t need to take this shit” attitude, but that same education taught me to shake it off; there are assholes all over the map. I don’t think that’s privileged thinking or anything, just an expectation for a level of respect in the workplace.

I hear about this all the time: employers in the service industry seem to get off on giving servers hell, knowing the tight financial spot their young-ish employees are in, and also aware that they will be easily replaced. It’s why bigoted thinking and disrespect can be pretty commonplace.

So, tell me, have any of you got stories about asshole employers? Is treating employees poorly just a sadistic trend in the industry?

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