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Former Corporate Employee Says He's Often Shamed For Going Back To Work As A Restaurant Server

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restaurant server

In our society, we often view certain jobs as more acceptable or important than others. Corporate positions are much higher on this imaginary list than service industry jobs are. However, that doesn’t mean anyone should feel embarrassed about working in the service industry. 

One man who got laid off from his corporate job said he has been shamed for taking a job as a server.

Sean Lans, a former corporate employee from New York, got laid off from his job — one that many people would consider very respectable. He was left looking for something new, and turned to the service industry for this “transition period.”

Lans filmed a TikTok video about his experience applying for server jobs. “Interviewing at restaurants is embarrassing for no reason,” he said.

   

   

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Lans shared that whenever he tells someone that he is applying for jobs at restaurants after being laid off from his corporate position, he’s told that he shouldn’t feel embarrassed. And that’s just the thing — he wasn’t.

“A job is a job and I’m going to do whatever I need to do to get money," he said. "I always have and I always will.” 

Unfortunately, he had a recent experience when interviewing at a restaurant that made him feel ashamed of his current transition. After noting what school he graduated from, the interviewer asked, “Did you ever consider working in corporate?”

Lans had no choice but to explain his circumstances as someone who used to have a corporate job and was now looking for a new one. 

The interviewer then asked, “Why would you ever want to work at a restaurant?”

Former Corporate Employee Shamed For Going Back To Work As A ServerPhoto: RDNE Stock project / Pexels

According to Lans, “That just brings the whole embarrassment/shame thing back into the picture. If I’m going to show up, and I’m going to be on time, and I’m going to do my job well, why do you need to make me feel bad about the past?”

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Why do we consider some jobs more desirable than others?

Our society is notorious for thinking of some jobs as better than others. JSTOR Daily examined why we feel that way.

“Prestige serves a sophisticated social function,” journalist Farah Mohammed wrote. “How a person’s job is perceived can have a huge impact on how they are viewed by others and even themselves." 

Former Corporate Employee Shamed For Going Back To Work As A ServerPhoto: The Lazy Artist Gallery / Pexels

Furthermore, they pointed out that prestige can mean different things to different people, depending on the specific career.

“We’ve come to think of prestige as an inherent quality; we sense that certain jobs are more worthwhile than others, without being able to pinpoint exactly why,” she said. “On a surface level, we may associate prestige with power (as with state leaders or CEOs), high salaries (as with celebrities), or the intellectual rigor of the job itself (as with medicine or engineering).”

Still, what's prestigious now, likely won't always be. "For example, the philosophers, artists, and writers of today are not held in the same cultural esteem as they were in the eighteenth century," she explained. "Airline hostesses, once glamour personified, now simply have a job like the rest of us, albeit it at 10,000 feet. After 2008, bankers fell from grace."

Commenters assured Lans there was nothing wrong with the path he was taking.

Fellow TikTok users shared their own experiences in the service industry and how they found it to be better than other jobs they had. For example, one person said, “People shame me for bartending, but I make my rent in five hours and work three days a week.”

Someone else wrote, “My server/bartender friends make more money than my corporate friends.”

   

   

Lans has nothing to be ashamed of. He is working for a living. He is doing all he can to take care of himself. Needing a “transition period” is nothing to be embarrassed by — and neither is working a service job indefinitely. 

As Lans said himself, “I’m doing my best. Leave me alone.”

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news and human interest topics.