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Waiting Tables Isn’t Brain Surgery; It’s Worse

Written By Scott Joseph On June 22, 2016


Of all the jobs I’ve had in my adult life, none was as stressful as being a waiter. To this day it’s the only job I had that gave me nightmares. I mean that literally. I would go home to my apartment in Scottsdale, Ariz., at midnight after a long Saturday night shift at the Monterey Whaling Company (there were no actual whales involved, because desert) finally decompress around 2 a.m. and go to sleep.

And then I’d wake up at 3 o’clock in a panic: I forgot to greet the people at table four who were sat late in my station. And in that moment of alarm I would imagine that they were still sitting there waiting for their waiter. Even though the restaurant had been closed for four hours. I had that same nightmare on multiple occasions.

It turns out I’m not the only one to ever experience that stress.

According to this article from Vice, a scientific study has determined that the job of waiter is more stressful than being a neurosurgeon. The study classified jobs according to levels of demand and control. Neurosurgery has high demand, but the doctor also has a high level of control. The study determined that a waiter has high demand but low control over the situation.

Hmmm, I’m not sure I totally agree with that. Anyone who has read my reviews for any length of time knows that I’m a stickler for good service. It isn’t because I don’t know that it is a demanding job, it’s because I know that when something goes wrong — and something will go wrong — the waiter has, or should have, the ability to make it right. You don’t get much more control than that.

Servers, what do you think? Do you find waiting tables stressful? And how many of you are working in a restaurant while going to school to become a neurosurgeon? Leave a comment below.

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