The Stress of Service Jobs

Aubrey Roemmich, Editor

The service industry employes the most people out of any industry in the US and it is also one of the most taxing industries to be a part of. Jobs that are considered to be a part of this industry are very diverse, but their common denominator is dealing with the general public. From retail workers to servers to bank tellers to hairstylists, the list of service industry jobs is long and the stresses that come with it are even longer.  

My first job was at JC Penny. I was 16 years old working short shifts after school and on weekends, and for the most part, it was fine. My coworkers were nice, and my manager was cool. When it was not busy, I would walk around putting away clothes pretending to be a personal shopper. But then someone would come in and ruin it all. One really bad day consisted of me having to cover someone’s shift in the men’s section by myself. I rarely worked in the men’s section and only when the store really needed it, so I had no idea where anything was or anything about men’s clothes. A middle-aged guy came in with his three sons, one of them being a boy from my math class and wanted help picking out suits. I very nicely explained that the suit guy was out of town, and I was just covering. Obviously upset by this he still asked me question after question I could not answer. Finally, he asked me, “well do you know anything?” He bought a few things that day, but his son could not look me in the eyes for the rest of the semester.  

One job I am glad I have never had is as a server at a restaurant. Many of my friends are servers and the stories they tell are horrifying. From rude kids leaving tips under glasses of water to strange men hitting on them, I could not imagine working for significantly below minimum wage in hopes of getting good tips.  

In general, most service jobs are easy, entry level jobs for high school and college students. But what this means is that along with the stresses of school, these individuals also must deal with the stress of a job that works with the public. While most customers are kind and fun to work with, there are always the few who seem hell bent on making employee’s lives difficult. My advice to all students who work in the service industry is to remember that jobs are not personal and that no job is worth sacrificing your health for. Most students need to work through school, it is an inevitability of life, but being able to separate yourself from your job will bring you a lot more peace in the long run. 


Aubrey Roemmich is a Dakota Student Section Editor. She can be reached at [email protected]