Just a waitress

“Yuck you’re a waitress?”

This was a response I received from a man I met in a pub one night when I told him what I did. I have met a lot of douchebags in my time, but this guy took the cake. Never before had I heard someone say “yuck” in response to someone’s career.

Unfortunately, he was the winner in this situation, because he got a reaction.

What I should have done was walk away or throw my drink in his face like they do in the movies (I’ve always wanted to do that); but instead I did the worst thing possible – I tried to defend myself.

I went into a spiel saying – ‘how dare you say that, you have no idea about my life, what I have achieved or that I have a law degree…’

His response?

“You just proved my point. Even you feel the need to justify the fact that you are just a waitress”.

Ouch. And he was right.

I was in a very tender place when I heard this statement. After 5 years abroad, I was back working in a restaurant in Australia trying to figure shit out. While I was away I had done a number of amazing roles, but being back in familiar territory, waitressing and broaching dangerously close to the number 3 – 0, I was naturally questioning all of my life choices.

I felt like I had taken a huge step backwards and this guy’s words confirmed my deepest fears.

After everything I had done, here I was again –  just a waitress again.

Years before this incident, that was how I used to introduce myself – what do you do? I am just a waitress. My best friend pointed this out to me one day. ‘Tash if you say JUST once more, I am going to slap you!’

I was clueless as to what she was talking about. What do you mean?

‘Every time I have heard you introduce yourself and say what you do, you always add the word ‘just’ in front of waitress. You are not just a waitress, you are a waitress and a great one at that. You love what you do and are always making others smile. Be proud of that and stop belittling yourself.’

I never even realized.

But when I thought about it, it was true.

I loved what I did, but part of me still felt ashamed. I had a law degree, yet instead I was asking people if they would like guacamole and sour cream with their nachos.

It’s funny, whenever I trained staff, I always said – ‘you are not just a waitress, this job provides us with the opportunity to make someone’s day, to go above and beyond. Maybe they have had a shit day or week and you are the person to turn that around. Never forget that.’

Yet, I never took this advice on for myself.

Ever since that proverbial slap in the face from my friend, I made it my mission to never say JUST in front of anything again. I wanted to own every role I was in. Little does my friend know – those few words were what gave me the confidence to stop undermining myself.

That confidence took me around the world and lead me to work for Gordon Ramsay, a psychologist, become a nanny in Italy, a tour leader in Croatia, a travel writer in Turkey… all of these roles came my way from the humble beginnings of working as a waitress. In fact, I made connections with a psychologist after he came into my restaurant one night – “I saw how you were with guests, your staff and how naturally you moved around the restaurant in between so many different groups of people, I would love to talk to you about what I do – I work in the field of Emotional Intelligence…”

Do you think this would have happened if I had the mindset of just?


Here I was, 5 years later, defending my cause to some random guy in an Irish pub – and for what?

It was another slap in the face as my friend’s words came flooding back to me.

I realized I HAD taken steps backwards, not because I was waitressing, but because my mindset had allowed me to get down on myself, again.

It was a rude awakening. But much needed.

Right now I am a hostess on a yacht. Yes, part of my job is showing people around beautiful Croatia, but another part is scrubbing toilets and being on my feet for up to 18hours a day.

But fuck it, I am proud of what I do, because everything I do gets my all.

Never say JUST in front of anything. We are never just anything. We are the integrity and humility we show in every role, no matter what.

Whatever it is you are doing in life, own that shit like Beyonce strutting onto a stage. The world needs us – all of us, giving everything we have in every given moment, no matter what.

So do yourself a favour and cut the word ‘JUST’ from your vocabulary (at least in regards to describing your job)

 (#9 in a series of 30 blogs in 30 days; these blogs are more my thoughts out loud and will get refined later, right now I just need to write)

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