Career Advice: Don’t Work With Food

23 Apr

Unless you’re a successful chef, the food industry is just not where it’s at. Food service workers work hard for not very much pay and their positions are consistently ranked among the least attractive career paths. Their jobs are essential, but not necessarily desirable.

According to data from the Labor Department, food workers are among the lowest paid in the entire country. They fill up six of the bottom ten spots: Food Preparation and Serving Workers ($18,720), Fast Food Cooks ($18,780), Dishwashers ($18,930), Counter Attendants for Cafeteria/Concession/Coffee Shop ($19,430), Hosts/hostesses ($19,570), and Dining Room/Cafeteria Attendants and Bartender Helpers ($19,690). With the poverty line for single parents sitting at $15,800, that’s not much to live on.

McDonald's logo

Fast food workers are among the lowest paid employees.
Image: McDonald’s

On a similar note, CareerCast recently released its 2013 list of best and worst jobs—and food service workers are again among the worst. Six food industry jobs fall in the bottom quarter of jobs: Bartender, Butcher, Waiter/Waitress, Dishwasher, Farmer, and Dairy Farmer.

Fast food preparers and servers also get less satisfaction from their jobs; they do not get to actually work with ingredients to make new food creations. Instead, they are simply responsible for heating up prepared food, filling soda cups, and taking orders. The turnover rate for fast food is also very high, due in part to the low pay and in part because workers are often teenagers just making their first foray into the working world.

These corporate-run fast food outlets do not allow for any worker creativity, or for that matter, much creative growth. Certainly workers can become supervisors and learn some management skills, but past that there aren’t many opportunities to advance.

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