Service Industry Worker Explains Why You Should Never Be The 'Hardest Worker At Your Job'

She pointed out that more often than not, that hard work is never properly recognized.

service industry worker handing customer order Juliya Shangarey / Shutterstock

For many working-class individuals, going above and beyond at their jobs is often considered something to be proud of and even encouraged. However, in a TikTok video, a content creator named Laniya Peterson, who works in the food service industry, issued a bleak reminder that working hard and having an unwavering commitment to one's job doesn't always mean you'll be compensated for it accordingly. 


She explained why service industry workers shouldn't be the hardest working employees.

"Sitting here on my 30-minute break, and I'm just like ... If you work in the service industry, if you have a fast food job, or you work in a grocery store, do not be the hardest worker at your job," Peterson stressed at the start of her video.

She explained that this is especially the case for young adults and people working service industry jobs in their early 20s, insisting that once you start picking up tasks that aren't expected of you, managers and higher-ups will start expecting it from you on a daily basis.




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The worst part? While managers may start expecting you to go above and beyond, your paycheck simply will not reflect all of the hard work you could be doing.

"They're not gonna try and pay you more," Peterson pointed out. "If you ask me to do something above my pay grade, I'm gonna say, 'Do I get paid for this?' And I feel like everyone should be doing this," she added.


Peterson continued, adding that for many minimum-wage jobs, people should be doing minimum-wage work. "I know too many people doing way too much at their job that they're not getting paid for. Why are you, as a crew member, worrying about getting a shift covered? Or you're in the work group chat, they're sending problems. Why is that your problem? You're not getting paid to be the manager."

Peterson even acknowledged that many of the managers at most minimum-wage jobs are also doing the bare minimum which means it doesn't quite make sense for others below that pay grade to put more effort in than they are. 

"I'm never being the hardest worker again. I'm doing the minimum required," Peterson concluded. "You're disposable to them, they don't care about you."

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Peterson's message about not being the hardest worker comes during a time when many working-class people are unhappy at their jobs.

Peterson's message is straightforward and unapologetically real: service industry workers, particularly those in fast-food and grocery roles, should resist the urge to become the hardest working employees. The resonating echo among working-class individuals does nothing but amplify Peterson's observation.

According to Gallup's 2022 State of the Global Workspace report, along with dissatisfaction, workers are experiencing staggering rates of both disengagement and unhappiness. 60% of people reported being emotionally detached at work and 19% as being miserable. Only 33% reported feeling engaged ­­— which is even lower than 2020. In the U.S. specifically, 50% of workers reported feeling stressed at their jobs on a daily basis, 41% as being worried, 22% as sad, and 18% as angry.

Gallup also found that many employees are starting to feel this way because of their managers and higher-ups at their place of employment. The manager or team leader alone accounts for 70% of team engagement, according to the report. An essential part of many people feeling dissatisfaction and being burnt out is the lack of engaged and productive managers.

As many workers, both in minimum-wage industries and corporate America, find themselves emotionally detached, stressed, and dissatisfied, the traditional narrative of hard work leading to success seems increasingly difficult to believe in. Peterson's cautionary note about not being the hardest worker takes on a new dimension in the context of these data findings. 


In a world where service industry workers often feel disposable and undervalued, Peterson's decision to prioritize the minimum required work serves as a response to an environment that often fails to reciprocate dedication with appropriate recognition. 

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.