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The Ivy League's New Dream Job: Not Wall Street, But Waiting Tables

Tyler Durden's picture


As recently as October, we joked that the "best-performing" job category in the US was also the most miserable one - i.e., "bartenders and waiters", also known as jobs which often times get paid below minimum wages and rely on the goodwill of their customers for tips to survive. And indeed, as of November, there were a record 10.4 million waiters in the US, representing a record 45 consecutive monthly increases in this job category - hardly the stuff robust recoveries are made of.

However, it turns out the joke may be on us after all because as the WSJ explains, "Waiting Tables at Top-Tier Restaurants Is New Career Path for Ivy League and Culinary School Grads."

It appears that gone are the days when every Ivy graduate's fast-track to stardom dream was to become a banker (or in the worst case, a corporate lawyer). And with Wall Street's increasing conversion into a utility, the aspirations of the best and the brightest will progressively shift elsewhere. But waiting tables? Well, as it turns out that's where the money is because "head waiters at top-tier restaurants can earn from $80,000 to as much as $150,000 a year including tips, according to industry executives. In comparison, a line cook might earn as little as $35,000 to $45,000 a year while working longer hours. The nation's highest-rated restaurants, including Per Se, Le Bernardin and Eleven Madison Park in New York and Alinea in Chicago, hire as few as 10% of the individuals applying for waitstaff jobs."

Perhaps what is just as important, is that there is no universal revulsion against head waiters across the US and if and when the great uprising finally crosses the Hudson River, while bankers will be the object of public scorn, to put it mildly, waiters and other servent will probably be cherished. So why not make some good money in the process?

This thought process seems to have spread and as the WSJ reports, "at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., 20% of graduates from two- and four-year programs go into "front of the house" positions in the dining room, which also include maitre d's, bartenders and sommeliers, compared with 5% roughly 15 years ago, says Jennifer Purcell, an associate dean overseeing the hospitality and service curriculum. In the past six years, the Culinary Institute has added customer-focused courses, including one on brewed beverages and one on advanced serving. This year, 350 students completed the course work, she says."

And, as noted earlier, it isn't just anyone who is waiting on the rich and famous: it's those graduates who (or whose parents) have spent north of $200,000 in the past four years so they could get comfortable jobs:

Many of the servers at Eleven Madison are recent grads of the Culinary Institute, Cornell, University of Pennsylvania and Harvard. To attract young talent, Mr. Guidara says, the restaurant cultivates a teaching atmosphere, with events such as a weekly "happy hour" course on cocktails and wine often taught by experienced servers on staff. "It's hard for us to keep our staff from coming in three or four hours early," he adds. "They are not just here for a job; they give themselves fully."



Several servers who have moved from Eleven Madison Park to more casual restaurants have instituted a similarly professional atmosphere, he adds. A networking group called the Dining Room Collaborative began in New York in 2013 to foster education and a sense of professionalism among wait staff at fine-dining establishments. The idea is to make server "a sexy dining-room job," says Anthony Rudolf, the group's co-founder and former general manager at Per Se, in New York.


Celia Erickson, a 24-year-old server at Eleven Madison, has an undergraduate degree in hospitality from Cornell University and completed a yearlong wine and beverage program at the Culinary Institute of America (where her father is provost). When starting at Eleven Madison Park last summer, she shadowed kitchen staff as part of her training and had an entry-level server role. She says she has gained insight into managing a top restaurant. "My first two months, it was really hard for me. I spent five years in school and now I was waiting tables," she says.

So while we salute this "upwardly mobile" recovery in 6 figure-earning waiters, we wonder what will happen when the day comes that the patrons of such ultra-exclusive establishments as Eleven Madison can no longer afford $60 steaks and $20 truffle fries. Because as hard as we try, we fail to imagine just what portable and marketable skills America's nearly 11 million waiters will offer when the time comes to move on (aside, of course, for any insider trading "chat rooms" the Dining Room Collaborative may secretly unleash upon an unsuspecting world).

But here we go again: concerned about the future in a world when clearly only the here and now matters.


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Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:32 | 4294758 navy62802
navy62802's picture

Celia should just become a prostitute. She could probably make more money.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:36 | 4294770 90's Child
90's Child's picture

"Head waiters"

.... Must be some good head.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:54 | 4294817 zaphod
zaphod's picture

It is called being "in the service", which means you dedicate your life to serving those above your class, and are happy for the opportunity to do so.

These folks should watch Downton Abbey to see both how to do their new jobs correctly and what their children's future looks like.


Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:00 | 4294830 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

If you are polite and well-educated enough then you, too, can have a great career in the service of the feudal lairds!

A hundred and eighty years ago we called them "house niggers".

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:05 | 4294854 negative rates
negative rates's picture

What's in your wallet?

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:34 | 4294936 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

John Cleese (Monty Python) teaching higher ed in the "service" industry:

Pay attention grads!  This is what the real world is going to do to you.


Fri, 01/03/2014 - 00:58 | 4295662 old naughty
old naughty's picture


Funny and spot on. I did pay attention...

I used to frequent Hooters; and I respected them servers.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:31 | 4294944 Xibalba
Xibalba's picture

I assume the article forgot to mention the grads from Harvard are from the Drama dept. 

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 21:13 | 4295080 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

Nothin in the wallet, but I got the silver in my pocket.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 21:34 | 4295152 Jack Burton
Jack Burton's picture

My thoughts exactly "zaphod". This is a back to the future insight into the new and growing return to past social classes and lifestyles. Indeed, serving the well of can offer a secure life. You are not going to make a lot of money, but you work in a clean and often not unfriendly work place. Your betters like to be treated as royality and will in many cases provide some rewards for good service. The Downton Abbey workers worked very hard, but had clean clothes, some very nice clothes, they had room and board and comradship of fellow workers. This was not working on a slag heap at the mills. So yes, those who in better times would have been middle managers are now looking to "service" as a way to cope with the new global economy.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:08 | 4294862 Lets Buy The Dip
Lets Buy The Dip's picture

haha! getting a head of the rest, I would call it. LOL. 

Right now, those waiters should buy gold. The last time the MONTHLY WEEKLY and daily bottomed, we rallied up quickly. 

yup the elite are buying gold up by the ton, so they want it cheap. But look at the 


It seems, and I am taking a guess is that GOLD might be where you want to be in 2014, MONTHLY, WEEKLY, daily all starting to turn. Last time this happen OMG, we shot up like a gyfox night.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:34 | 4295471 PT
PT's picture

Guy Fawkes.

Or is that some kind of new-fangled abbreviation? 

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:39 | 4294777 U4 eee aaa
U4 eee aaa's picture

tips aren't as good

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:44 | 4294791 90's Child
90's Child's picture

Just the tip ain't ever enough.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:02 | 4294853 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

I'd rather go home with aching feet, than an aching....

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:19 | 4294906 90's Child
90's Child's picture

Aching heart?

She looks like a real dick tease.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:45 | 4294788 Thomas
Thomas's picture

Within the hospitality world (Culinary Institute, Johnson Wales, and the top of the chain--Cornell), such a positon is not as nutty as it sounds. If you think about what the first rung of any ladder looks like, it is grunt work. What would trouble me is that the kids graduating would NOT be willing to start at the bottom. I can assure you the (our) hotel school grads have set themselves up for an enormously successful career going forward, especially relative to some kid with a psychology or sociology degree.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:54 | 4294822 Occident Mortal
Occident Mortal's picture


Anyone with zero experience should expect to work at the entry level for a while. If your education was worth it you will progress faster.

This reminds me of the time I read about the two UBS guys in London Adeboli and the other one who got 7 years for rogue trading.

UBS had two guys aged 26 and 27 responsible for trading a $120bn book, they had 6 years trading experience between them. I mean FFS. On what planet is that a sensible corporate policy? And who goes to jail?
The two kids of course.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 21:43 | 4295183 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

One kid, not two.  Under the ACA, you are a kid up to age 26.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:56 | 4294831 Thomas
Thomas's picture

BTW-I am still just irritated from a brawl with a bunch of fake feminists over at Twitter. They can't make a coherent arugment because their heads are too far up their asses. I guess today is Cage Fight Thursday.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:25 | 4294932 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Hold on Thomas, let me grab my popcorn! ;-)

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 00:10 | 4295561 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

What ever happened to mud/oil wrestling?

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:05 | 4294864 logicalman
logicalman's picture

Brought up both my kids to be interested in everything and choose a life path that makes them happy.

Daughter is an artist, son is training to be a chef - he's already an artist with food.

They are both talented (this is not parental bias, I can assure you) and work hard to get better at what they do.

I think they stand a better chance of success (success should not be defined by others, but by oneself) than most people out there who have swallowed the "normal" myth, for want of a better term.


Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:26 | 4294926 Thomas
Thomas's picture

Chasing your dream and skill set is always a good idea. If you can figure out what you love to do, all you have to do is find a way to get paid. (Enter the prostitution joke.) My problem is not with kids like yours (they will be fine), but the ones who phone it in and/or then are unwilling to start at the bottom. A college degree gets you a start, not a promotion.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:27 | 4294941 Thomas
Thomas's picture

I just realized that maybe the bashing of that post is because of the CFR. I ask him about it. His answers are provocative to say the least, but they do not describe an institution quite like the one frequently discussed on blogs I love to read.  

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:20 | 4294918 NOZZLE
NOZZLE's picture

There are how many Per Se'$ and how many per Quod'$ where these dummies can find dead end jobs?


Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:32 | 4294952 Thomas
Thomas's picture

I read a lot of biographies, and one thing that comes through clearly is that there are no dead end jobs. There are people who stop. Generally, no biographies are written about the latter group.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 22:18 | 4295271 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

The tips for these waiters is not paid entirely in cash.


You can be assured that the patrons will give their waiters tips on insider information.


That is where the real money will be made.


Of course the kickback will be obligatory.


How was your fillet and lobster tonight, sir?


Is there anything else that you desire?


Okay I will put the $100,000 "tip" into AAPL. We split the profits? I understand, sir. You prefer cash? Yes sir.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 22:49 | 4295352 Promethus
Promethus's picture

My first New Year's resolution of 2014 - DON'T LISTEN TO TIPS.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:35 | 4294760 lordbyroniv
lordbyroniv's picture


Thu, 01/02/2014 - 21:12 | 4295066 Central Bankster
Central Bankster's picture

College, where you learn how to be a serf.  The process of being submissive and polite with the carrot that someday all of your work *might* be rewarded.  But we all know due to demographics and the size of our unfunded obligations, its all based on a lie.

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 09:05 | 4296112 Offthebeach
Offthebeach's picture

Napoleon said he could rule men by awarding bits of ribbon. They didn't have fancy printed wood pulp with cardboard wrapped in vinyl in those days.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:34 | 4294765 U4 eee aaa
U4 eee aaa's picture

So it takes four years to learn how to show someone to a table and pull out a chair?

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:55 | 4294801 Thomas
Thomas's picture

If you are to someday manage your own a hospitality-based company, having spent time in the trenches is probably a real benefit. The kids who think they will simply walk straight into a management job at the ripe old age of 22 are the ones who are missing something.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:36 | 4294767 booboo
booboo's picture

Waiter Terminators may be arriving soon at Darden, just bus boys, cooks and the manager sweating like a dog shitting razor blades left to contend with, it will be a short lived boom for decent waiters.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:12 | 4294881 logicalman
logicalman's picture

When everything is done by unpaid waiters, what will the economy look like?

TPTB are a bunch of dumb fucks who can't even contemplate the long term imacts of what they do. They can only hold sway using lies and violence.

Time to say Fuck, no!

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 00:11 | 4295569 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Nominal wages are a strawman. The purchasing power of the currency in which those wages are paid, is the real issue.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:38 | 4294769 Gankfest
Gankfest's picture

Ridiculous... Not what you know, but who you know!

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:21 | 4294923 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

...and a chance -- just a chance, mind you --  to piss in Lloyd's or Jamie's soup.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:55 | 4295013 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Just to show how unscrupulous and mean I can be...

I was once a line cook in a huge family owned restaurant. Back in the day, there was no such thing as "meal tickets" for employees, as long as they didn't get prime rib every night, it was cool, it was a perk for working a low pay job, aimed mostly at the waitresses, busboys & dishwashers as cooks can get away with eating

Well, the owner must have talked to an accountant and the next thing you know...meal tickets were mandatory for ALL EMPLOYEES.

Now, the head turd had a smaller turd (a nephew named Nathan) who "worked there"...note the scare quotes, he showed up to show his ass most of the time.

So he comes strolling up to the window after a real busy night and says "____ cook me the biggest porterhouse ya got back there." I said, where's your meal ticket?...with my usual wry smile ;-)

He freaks..."My family owns...blah blah blah...I'll have your job...blah blah"...he relents and goes and gets one & throws it through the window.

You know what happens next.

I picked out the biggest, fattest porterhouse they had, called him over fr his approval (he seemed satisfied with the steak selected and my new found humility)...

....AND...when he headed back to his table...right across the slippery kitchen floor it went, up underneath the deep fryer (had to fish it out with a broom)...then, to the garbage can, rustled it around in there for a minute (Ickbol, a Paki, thought I'd lost my mind)...then on to the grill.

He said it was the best steak the ever had when I asked...the waitresses thought so too ;-)

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 21:50 | 4295194 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

That's funny.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 22:03 | 4295232 nmewn
nmewn's picture

And completely true (besides any real names), the waitresses, busboys & dishwashers thought it was funny as well.

“Remember this. The people you're trying to step on, we're everyone you depend on. We're the people who do your laundry and cook your food and serve your dinner. We make your bed. We guard you while you're asleep. We drive the ambulances. We direct your call. We are cooks and taxi drivers and we know everything about you. We process your insurance claims and credit card charges. We control every part of your life.

We are the middle children of history, raised by television to believe that someday we'll be millionaires and movie stars and rock stars, but we won't. And we're just learning this fact. So don't fuck with us.”

Fight Club was around before there ever was, Fight Club ;-)

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 00:27 | 4295603 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Fantastic segue to The Mother Of All Fight Club references.

I never had the balls for such antics. Then again, we never saw snooty types at the local Shakey's Pizza parlor. Just a few Dead Heads trying to buy pizza with a pocket full of various mind altering substances.

Black Markytz....bytchez!

I know...dats rayciss.

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 18:58 | 4298075 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

Reminds me of someone I worked with once that was horribly abused on the phone by a customer. ALL their personal info right in front of the abusee.

Never heard how the abuser enjoyed all of her utilities being cut off on a friday as late as possible & the snail type communications being forwarded to Gnome, AK. 

Another time, same person was literally kicked in the elevator by a co-worker. This moron always left a bit of coffee in the cup & just poured fresh on top of it every morning. 

Never heard how well that lunger went down either. New nick-name, Mz Kizie.


Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:02 | 4295381 BLOTTO
BLOTTO's picture

'Ridiculous... Not what you know, but who you know!'


Apparently, its 'good' to know a mason.


I'll pass...

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:36 | 4294773 rdlem
rdlem's picture

Let them serve cake!

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:44 | 4294779 JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

If there be truth in advertising, every university in America should be required to report how many of their graduates are working waiting tables.

That would immediately shut down about 40% of them and reduce the cost of the remaining by about 50%.

Yes, Virginia, you do not need a Ivy League college degree and a large student loan to wait tables.  But your professors thank you for the French wine and cheese.  And that Volvo. How was that backseat, anyway?

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:53 | 4294807 Thomas
Thomas's picture

My older son has a hospitality degree and my younger son will by May. The older son started out waiting tables in NYC. Within a few years, he was Deputy Director of Event Managment at the CFR. His first day at the CFR he had to deal with a tantrum by the secretary of state. He met the president of Iran and Pakistan the same morning. He shot the breeze with Nelson Mandela for an hour. Pretty much anybody on the news he worked with. He started by waiting tables. You guys tend to hammer the educated. I am proud of the fact that he knew where to start and how to get there. 

NB-From a post below, I should point out that the older son's first job was as a tip-hustling pizza delivery guy. That is where he discovered capitalism: he realized that you eat what you kill.

BTW-Whoever is dissing me with the thumbs down, keep doing it. I'm bringing perspective and wisdom and you are just pissed that you didn't figure this shit out.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:00 | 4294828 JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

You cannot keep a good man down.  

My satire is directed at the growing fascism and corruption in America that takes advantage of the young and not-well-connected.  Most will never payoff their student loans.

The middle class in America is dying faster than butterflies at Fukushima.  Every post of mine is a paean to this tragedy.

So please do not take this personally.

The best to you and your children.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:00 | 4294835 Thomas
Thomas's picture

Not directed at you. Just looking for a parking space.

Also, if I ever went looking for a job, I'd rather say I worked at MacDonald's than admit I simply chose to stay unemployed. 

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 22:30 | 4294860 JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

No offense taken.  I did not downvote you.   It's good that some do well in the hospitality industry.  Wishing you and your children the best.

If your work at McDonalds, never eat the food.  And say a silent prayer for every poor sucker who eats that "food."

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:19 | 4294914 lordbyroniv
lordbyroniv's picture

I down voted you because you are related to scum who serves pigs in a blanket to NWO scum and you are clearly too dumb to be ashamed of it.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:36 | 4294961 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

Please don't call his kids scum. Thomas never said his kid likes all these NWOscum. You and I work for USD also - we're all criminals in this game, unfortunately.

Guilt by association, participation, assimilation.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:37 | 4294971 Thomas
Thomas's picture

I'm OK. I'm proud of my kids. I also understand the utter disdain for some of the folks who do come under the auspices of my son's job.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:51 | 4295009 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

Then how come you're talking about his opportunity to talk, respectively, to an idiot bureaucrat, two tyrant theocrats, and a murdering terrorist like it's such a great thing?  And accusing anyone who disapproves of being against education?

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 21:29 | 4295118 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

If you want to work in the best places, with the best food, best technology, best whatever, you're gonna have to deal with tyrant terrorist douchebags. Same as it always was.

Some folks take that route - it's not for me. You can still live and participate in good things without serving Leviathan.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 22:05 | 4295248 willwork4food
willwork4food's picture

Well said Skate.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 22:36 | 4295322 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

Who knows? Maybe they treated the idiot bureaucrat, the two tyrant theocrats, and the murdering terrorist like nmewn did to the jerk who had the Porterhouse Steak?


Maybe they all got piss in their soup?


One thing is for certain...YOU DON'T ADVERTISE IT AND KEEP YOUR JOB...or have the kids keep theirs.


That would be fucking stupid, wouldn't it?

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:35 | 4295467 nmewn
nmewn's picture

The thing about terrrrists is...ya never know where they'll turn up.

It must drive the paranoid control freaks, even crazier ;-)

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:35 | 4294962 Thomas
Thomas's picture

Well, that may be, but that scum of a son has a better understanding of what goes on in the Death Star (and, by proxy, I may have a better understanding) than the average bloke. I do, however, concede that there are unsavory characters inside that facility fairly routinely.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 21:20 | 4295107 lordbyroniv
lordbyroniv's picture

Some parent.  Letting your kid sell his soul for some shekels.  You must live in the boroughs.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 21:51 | 4295207 nmewn
nmewn's picture

The "kid" is an adult, asshole. And he apparently likes what he does and Thomas supports his ambition and his cutting his own path.

"You must live in the boroughs."

The boroughs?...whoopsie, smelling some NYC elitist troll-ass about to burn.

Better run check that ;-)


Fri, 01/03/2014 - 07:43 | 4295978 lordbyroniv
lordbyroniv's picture


I love how so many here pretend they are for freedom and liberty and free markets but than excuse this kid because he is a mere lever puller in the system.  Sorry boys and girls but no excuses anymore.  We are past that point. 


The only way this kid saves his soul imvho is if he is pissing in the clam chowder.



Thu, 01/02/2014 - 21:36 | 4295159 satoshi101
satoshi101's picture

First they came for the unions, then the homo's, then the gypsies, then the catholics,... then me...

I hate to break your bubble, but the USA has been taking people down since the 1950's, its only that the bubbles have quit propping the white middle class establishment, that the majority here have pain.

I remember well in the 60's in 70's when LA cops were given huntin' licenses to kill blacks at will.

Now the cop's are beating up white teenage girls, and grannies ... America DIED in the 1980's, funny that its only when the FRAT boys feel the pain, that THEIR america was found dead.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:25 | 4294925 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

I suspect the down votes (which I am not one of) are due to the implication that it's good to be involved with the CFR, two disgusting foreign presidents, a disgusting US official, and a refurbished, formerly very disgusting Marxist terrorist in Mandela.  I hope your son met a couple of decent people on the job to make up for it.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:50 | 4295008 zaphod
zaphod's picture

Thomas, first I admire the way you raised your kids and your posts above regarding work ethic, starting at the bottom, working up, etc., most here agree with that.

However I suspect the reason for the downvotes is many here take issue with servicing and pandering to the political/banking class.

Providing hospitality services or food services to people I view as corrupt is not exactly a positive use of ones life IMHO. You described the opportunity to interact with presidents and others of "high esteem" as if that is a positive to work towards. Personally I can't see how that is a positive as I don't care about the people you described at all, and have no desire to waste my life pursuing interactions with them. Such a life strikes too close to the feudal system we tried to escape from and are sliding back towards.

Personally I think spending your life educating yourself, inventing and building things is a more valuable way to spend our short time.

tl;dr - I agree with many of your comments on work ethic/etc, but disagree with the choosen path you describe as being worthwhile.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:58 | 4295026 artless
artless's picture


I started out waitering. Then bartending. Then events. Then running events. At places like Presidential Libraries. Then I cooked for governors and even a couple POTUS. All before I was 30. And I rarely ever worked full time. No degree. None needed. That was one of the points of the article.

I'm not down voting your post or denigrating either of your sons' achievments. To the contrary a few more like them might make this place a but better. Personally I would rather stick a silver fork in my eye than work for the CFR but that's neither here nor there. Perhaps if more people spent their time actually learning something worthwhile-like your sons-then they'd have a marketable skill. My problem with the degree side (especially in hospitality) is that you can end up blowing major cash and WILL start at the bottom. I was running places by the time I was 21.

I've been in and out of various parts of the industry over two decades and I can tell you from personal experience it is not getting better. Indeed it is at best stagnant regarding wages, etc and most likely egtting worse. There was a time when I could work 3 days a week bartending and make more than ALL my friends who were slaving away cold calling for Merril Lynch, working 80 hr weeks as associates in alaw frim, etc. Eventually they catch up. In my case I did not much care as I have always had another career but until one takes thhelm and is signing the checks it's just like every other job just with a slightly lower earning potential.

But if your sons love it then that's all that matters.  

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:20 | 4295430 Thomas
Thomas's picture

Can't argue with much of that. My older son was a profound under achiever. I am talking way, way down the ladder. We kind of cut him loose: "Your As. Your Fs. You make the call." What I didn't want him to conclude was there was a single path to success. I said that even if he flunks a bunch of courses, he can still be a brain surgeon if that's what he wants. The difference is the number of available paths to his goal would shrink. College degrees tend--don't have to but tend to--leave more paths available. You don't need it to many things, and getting the degree guarantees very little.

The current students got suckered because they somehow got convinced that the sheepskin itself guaranteed some minimum level of success. It does not.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 22:29 | 4295313 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

Kudos to your boys. I worked with a fella who was a valet at a pricey steak joint and a pizza delivery guy while getting his engineering degree. He had some good stories and a great scam. He would get loads of pizza coupons and claim that his customers mostly used coupons. He would get a tip plus pocket the value of the coupon. Maybe all of the bright ones do this.

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 00:34 | 4295620 jerry_theking_lawler
jerry_theking_lawler's picture

Thomas. Love hard working folks. Did you have any 'contacts' that helped your son land his job or did he do it all on his own?

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:38 | 4294780 freedogger
freedogger's picture

Soon to be replaced by robots

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 22:16 | 4295280 Andre
Andre's picture

For about 5 weeks.

no education = lotsa robots nobody knows how to fix.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 22:20 | 4295281 willwork4food
willwork4food's picture

I didn't downvote you but I think the relaxation of an evening would entitle human interaction-real human interaction...and people will pay for it, especially if they are good.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:41 | 4294781 U4 eee aaa
U4 eee aaa's picture

The reason so many people want the job is because everyone wants to spit in the food of the rich and famous

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:57 | 4294823 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

"They" know that so they over-tip in hopes of getting less spittle.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:41 | 4294785 Count of Lastovo
Count of Lastovo's picture

What will happen when the restaurant patrons disappear?   Well, i suppose there are always the brothel patrons.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:41 | 4294793 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

Can't wait till they sell gift cards for brothels and blow jobs. "Just swipe here, sir!"

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 22:22 | 4295293 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

Ahh, a smokin hot Mount Holyoke or Vassar grad giving me a BJ. Now that's the American Dream.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 22:35 | 4295324 edifice
edifice's picture

OK, Robert Bateman.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:43 | 4294786 dynomutt
dynomutt's picture

I believe the proper term is "waitron"


Get it right, pee-ons!

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:43 | 4294787 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

Ah takes me back to my years as an intrepid Pizza Man, the delivery man of yore; the women, the parties, the children always happy and excited to see me, their dogs - not so much.  My service job put me through collage, collage didn't prepare me for a service job.

My, how the time are a changin'

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:46 | 4294805 Decolat
Decolat's picture

'collage'... Sorry, but that's fuckin beautiful, man.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:57 | 4294827 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

"collage didn't prepare me for a service job."

You're right about that.  The women and parties, not so much.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:14 | 4294889 logicalman
logicalman's picture

Didn't help with your spelling much.


Thu, 01/02/2014 - 21:04 | 4295051 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

You snobs. If you've read the 'hedge for any lenght of time, you know I'm a proud graduate of the Univercity of Pheonex, where I pursued two majors.

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 00:53 | 4295661 jerry_theking_lawler
jerry_theking_lawler's picture

sure you did peruse two majors?

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:44 | 4294790 Wilcox1
Wilcox1's picture

Heh, nice. 2014's gonna be fun!

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:45 | 4294803 gwar5
gwar5's picture

Pay back those student loans, bitchez!

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:53 | 4294811 Freddie
Freddie's picture

I am thinking if the waiter gig does not work out for me, I can try being a prop trader or a condo flipper - so I got that going for me.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 21:25 | 4295116 Musashi Miyamoto
Musashi Miyamoto's picture

---> Flip Burgers

---> Flip Houses

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:54 | 4294813 Musashi Miyamoto
Musashi Miyamoto's picture

Long White Picket Fence. Livin the American Dream Bitches

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:15 | 4294893 logicalman
logicalman's picture

It's called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.

G. Carlin

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:55 | 4294829 Johnny Cocknballs
Johnny Cocknballs's picture

Never eat in a place with a sommelier.  They are wizards of sophistry and adjective-dense horseshit.  They are Ivy League economists with aprons, and they are a scourge upon the earth...  particularly when you're on a blind date and they 'start you off' with suggestions in the $300 dollar range.

I'll overpay for a great steak [Striphouse Steakhouse] but I will bitchslap anyone trying to convince me that a $325 bottle of Merlot would "pair" well with it. Fucking sommeliers and wine waiters...  I've got chunks of guys like them in my stool!

Anyone who spends more than $30 at most  {you can stay under $20 with Malbecs} for wine has been absorbed into this absurd Matrix, and is unlikely to ever see the face of God.


Apropos of little and a bit off topic but I've worked with a lot of Ivy League types and most are, of course, quite smart - but what is fascinating is that there's a healthy minority of abject idiots.  One of the dumbest people I ever met was a Harvard and Harvard Law grad who, when discussing possible limits to government power under the Commerce Clause contemplated by the 10th Amendment opined that it did not because by reserving powers to the 'people' it meant people could do things beyond the enumerated powers through government.

For the few of you who might care/find it interesting: this was something that took me a while to understand, it was just so fucking stupid, and woke me up to just what is going on in the brains of what Libertarians like to call 'statists'.

Punchline:  For this guy and progressives/statists/living constitutionalists there are no limits to federal power because for them, and I daresay this was one of the few most important realizations I've had as an adult, "the people" equals "the government."  I did not understand that before because it seemed so shockingly obvious that "the people" appears in the Bill of Rights as wholly disparate from the government as such.

Yet Harvard is graduating lawyers who think the federal government may do anything which the Constitution does not explicitly forbid them from doing - which is essentially the precise opposite of how that document sets things up.

Anyway, so while I may not agree with Libertarians on everything, and Republicans/right wingers on less, my opinion is that, right now, it is the Left that is more dangerous to our basic liberties. If you think things are so much a matter of 'interpretation' that "the people" in the 10th Amendment is equivalent to "the federal government" then apart from being a borderline moron - you are a dangerous fool.




Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:13 | 4294857 JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

Your work as a sommelier and then suddenly you are working at Goldman Sachs sell worthless CDS as rare wine.  Blankfein and Dimon will make great sommeliers.

Fuck all pretentious sommeliers whose only job is to separate you from your money.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 21:09 | 4295062 artless
artless's picture

Quite a segue. From sommeliers to the 10th. Don't think I've ever seen that one before but I appreciate the stream of consciousness.

And BTW, a GOOD sommelier will always recommend a RANGE of options. And I agree with the money sentiment but raise your top end a bit when in a restaurant to say about $70 (that's NYC mark up mind you) and while you won't "see god" you will experience some far, far better grape juice. I know. I've done this for a while and 20-30 at the wine store is all you ever need but in a resto you gott allow for mark up.

And also you do realize that you're getting just as assraped on the high end dead cow, right?

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 22:30 | 4295318 Clowns on Acid
Clowns on Acid's picture

Johnny CnB - feckin' Bahstin... a lot of restaurants there... not a helluva lot that are great, and they are all over priced. especially on marlboro street and North End. Don't even feckin talk to me about feckin' Washing_feckin_ton street.

Agreed on the sommaliers ... and agreed that with all the feckin wine lakes in France, Australia, and california... the cartel must be setting prices. BUt at restaurants in NYC or Boston one has to spend 50 to $70 for a good bottle of wine. $30 - 35 gets you a decent steak.

Now on that 10th Amendment bullshit.... you should know by now most people coming out of Harvahd are dooshbags and retahds. You are only now realizing that the left is more dangerous to our basic liberties..?? Stay outa the feckin bahs in Dahrchestah. 

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 19:58 | 4294840 Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

I can't afford to eat out at anyplace where you have to tip and/or pay tax.  It's called "home cooking"!

Everyone aiming to serve the rich?  What happens if there aren't enough oligarchs to go round?

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:16 | 4294896 logicalman
logicalman's picture

I probably eat better at home than people who eat in expensive restaurants.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:27 | 4295440 Thomas
Thomas's picture

Many cannot afford to eat at "anyplace where you have to tip and/or pay tax." Few seem to realize they can't afford it.

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 06:12 | 4295920 SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

I'm a better cook than 90% of the guys in the back of the restaraunt.  I KNOW what I like and how to prepare it.   Why the hell should I pay someone 300% markup to cook it for me when he doesn't know how I like beef cooked?  (BLUE) 

That being said you should see their reactions when you ask if the beef is choice, select or prime.

Buy Prime beef, it's freakin worth it.  If you like rare meat, you'll be able to eat a Prime Tenderloin raw and enjoy the flavors.




Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:09 | 4294867 mercy
mercy's picture

Hey it's better to provide service for the 1% than to be serviced by them.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:06 | 4294868 Joebloinvestor
Joebloinvestor's picture

Lorraine Feather waiting tables, kinda neat

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:07 | 4294871 _SILENCER
_SILENCER's picture

A lot of women that wait tables and serve The Lords in these establishments are hoping for a scrap from the Mater's table.  Some, invariably, will be used as matresses and mistresses, and some, the enterprising ones, may eventually blackmail a few bucks out of one of their marks when jilted. Happens all the time.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:11 | 4294888 Arturo
Arturo's picture

It is a matter of time you will be able to make the order with an App. The waiter will no longer have to "wait" the table but just bring the food. And spit on it if necessary.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:17 | 4294900 trader1
trader1's picture

my favorite job of all time was my first - working at a pizzeria joint run by italian "cousins"  


Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:22 | 4294908 Surging Chaos
Surging Chaos's picture

"undergraduate degree in hospitality"

There's your problem.

The number of people I went to school with that got underwater basket weaving degrees really blew my mind. Too many people see college as an expensive 4 (or 5 or even 6) year party.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:26 | 4295448 Thomas
Thomas's picture

Hospitality is a business degree with a specialty in the hospitality industry. The job placement rates from good hotel schools is exceptional. Of course, those first jobs may be at the bottom rung...

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:21 | 4294913 trader1
Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:27 | 4294931 besnook
besnook's picture

not many people remember that maids and other house servants were quite common until the 60s. the late 1800s to the 1960s was the golden age of service jobs in the usa when the middle class had not yet discovered restaurants, hotels, cars and airplanes. i caught the tail end of that era with a bunch of waiters and other hospitality people who worked the northeast in the summer and florida in the winter, made boatloads of money, drank too much, smoked too much, had way too much fun.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 21:15 | 4295091 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Yes but you missed the important element - it was the before the advent of credit cards and massive debt.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:36 | 4294969 deerhunter
deerhunter's picture

I worked in restaurants all through high school then waited tables in college.  Became kitchen manager for large theme chain restaurant and company "fixer" of messed up units.  IE ,,, rif raf, drug dealers,  bad labor,, food cost numbers etc.  Trained as Executive Chef and worked over 20 years in the "hospitality" business.  I have run kitchens that did 4 plus million in food sales in the 80's so I know some about management and volume.  To all who wish to work in this field I would encourage you to speak with someone with experience.  Slavery did not go out of style.  I had some good gigs and not so good but knew the salary going in.  A well run high volume sit down restaurant with bar service is a fine oiled machine.  Unfortunately they are few and far between.  I have been out of the business since 1990 and miss it at times until I wake from my nightmare. U do miss doing ice carvings but that is it.  It is a young person job and sweaty, balls to the wall hard work in a busy place.  Work is a four letter word but I would not discourage anyone from a hospitality job if they go in with eyes wide open.  TV show cooking shows it isn't.  Happy New Year one and all.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:51 | 4295007 Musashi Miyamoto
Musashi Miyamoto's picture

I was raising money for a restaurant when my partner suggested that if i was really serious i should at least work a day in the industry.

so i got a fast food job, a job at a deli and a busser at a nicer establishment.

The experience changed my entire perspective of the industry. It was hell. My coworkers some of them who had been working these jobs for years were the most cynical people i have met. I call it a spiritual death.

The numbness reaches out to you. it crawls through your limbs and takes hold of your mind. It destroys your soul.

But this is just my experience, others may have felt differently.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:56 | 4295029 trader1
trader1's picture

best job for a teenager

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 21:45 | 4295104 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Pizza joints like the place you said you worked at can sort of be fun if the Italian family is colorful and the food is good.  I worked at one like the for a short time.  A regular restaurant, even upscale, is hell.  It is mind numbing and stressful.  You go home at night and you would smell like garbage and possibly an ash tray.  You wanted to burn your clothes. 

A lot of the people you worked with were sort of down and out losers or drunks too.  Sad but I found restaurants very unpleasant.  I do not go out too much because it is a waste. When I do, I try to tip a bit more than customary.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 22:11 | 4295260 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

Thanks for the insight. My hat is off to ya.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:37 | 4294970 yogibear
yogibear's picture

Wall Street has cheap labor and permanent debt slaves. All Wall Street has to do is push the senate and congress to have debtor prisons for a corporate labor pool cheaper than China. And college educated as well.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:44 | 4294984 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

Best way to make money in 2014 America is to work somewhere where the customers pay with American Express Platinum or where they pay in food stamps.  Don't be JCPenney in a world of Sakses and Walmarts.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:42 | 4294989 q99x2
q99x2's picture

An honest job for an honest wage. About F'n time.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 21:30 | 4295136 unununium
unununium's picture

+1 bonus pool

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:48 | 4295005 Hedgetard55
Hedgetard55's picture

Carmenere is the new Malbec. $10-15 gets you a great one.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 20:54 | 4295016 pankowboy
pankowboy's picture

The AVERAGE MA State Trooper makes over 140 K$, topping close to 200K, often over, and then retires at 50 or 55 with a lavish defined benefit pension. Few Prep-H grads by percentage will match that.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 21:44 | 4295176 artless
artless's picture

It's good to be a thug for The State.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:50 | 4295501 BigSpruce
BigSpruce's picture

We shall see how long anyone of those parasites under 35 ever receives their pension. That will be the last laugh! Public servants - my ass . Knuckle dragging slackbags - milking the productive class is more like it.  

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:56 | 4295525 PT
PT's picture

Cops "have to be" paid well.  Keep a good look out for when cops cannot afford to buy a house / support their wife and kids ... now where do their loyalties lie?  Of course, if cops are paid well but the rest of the community isn't, then less tax revenue translates to less cops.  Find a great cop, dedicated to doing the "right" thing (whether "right" or "loyal to his masters"), but for some reason is still a victim of job cuts.  What is his next move?

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 21:27 | 4295114 Fix It Again Timmy
Fix It Again Timmy's picture

Move to Colorado and make yer fortune, there's grass in them thar hills...

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 21:27 | 4295115 putaipan
putaipan's picture

looks like they'll have to do a remake on this flick then ....

great little movie if you haven't seen it. prescient for 2005.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 22:16 | 4295264 Meatballs
Meatballs's picture

Been this way for years. Bartended and was happy until somebody made me a manager. Big mistake.

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 23:44 | 4295495 BigSpruce
BigSpruce's picture

Well when times get really tough she can just transition from Eleven Madison to Seven Eleven.

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 01:52 | 4295737 SonOfSoros
SonOfSoros's picture

I don't get why kids these days assume that getting through college means getting a good job. 

It sounds more like complacency to me than anything else. Society has become so complacent when a good education is automatically equated as a good career when the both are not mutually inclusive. 

A job may not exclusively require a good education and a good education does not equal a good job. 

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 02:52 | 4295814 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

Like being a school teacher becomes being a "soft cop," being a waiter at a higher end public house becomes like being a "soft prostitute." Tragically, as the runway social insanities of fundamentally fraudulent financial accounting systems take over more control of what society does, only the "soft underbelly" of those systems allow for temporary chinks in the armour of those systems.

NeoFeudalism, with NeoServants, is such a disgusting future for human dignity. However, almost nobody is willing and able to go through enough paradigm shifting to comprehend that trajectory towards tragedy. We are witnessing the old-fashioned inhumanities found in patriarchal militarism transform into runaway fascist plutocracy, whereby the value of human lives is gradually reduced to nearly zero ... while on the way there, the chinks in the armour of that system enables a few to survive through those means which compromise their human dignities in order to do so, at least for a while ...

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 03:10 | 4295836 putaipan
putaipan's picture

i greenied you up one. it is nice to see an entry short enough to read all the way through, full of insight, that doesn't mention the "violently homocidal kleptocracy" so many times i have to stop reading it. try that more often. please.

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 12:29 | 4296704 Reader1
Reader1's picture

Hey, let's just go Soylent Green and include Furniture with apartments.  Hot furniture.  "Check out the tablecloth on her!"

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 02:53 | 4295818 Decimus Lunius ...
Decimus Lunius Luvenalis's picture

I live in Ohio and work regularly with some Wall Street folks in New York who were hired because they were the "best and the brightest" with degrees from the finest "higher education institutions in the country," and I wouldn't be confident in their opinions, work, or them personally.  They all have mastered, however, the ability to describe how busy they are, to whom do they report, and the 9 o'clock email to show they were still in the office.  By and large, the finance industry is purely a confidence game, we try to convince you we're smarter, then justify bad avice as "market risk" or "tail risk" or whatever.  

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 08:47 | 4296056 No-Debt
No-Debt's picture

I worked at a 4 star hotel/restaurant after college in the 80's, made 80k my first year working 30hrs a week. Partied my ass of while my friends had to get to bed early because they were newbies with corporate jobs paying 40k a year. lol, I'd say I had the better life. It has nothing to do with classes, it's about the money you dumb fucks. Make that money, smile as you drop of that $30 glass of wine and look down the pricks GF/wife's dress at her new rack. Make the right contacts, you never know who'll offer you a job selling mortgages that'll make you 150k your first year. 30 years later, retired and lovin life. Bottom line, IT'S A JOB, make the most of it. Please resum your bitching.

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