“For me, the most important thing I learned about anything was as a dishwasher. I learned to show up on time, to show respect for the people I work with.”
— Anthony Bourdain
One of the coolest jobs I’ve ever had was also the one of lowest paying. When I was in my early 20s, I worked at a record store. It was a lot of fun. However, it paid minimum-wage and I needed to do better for myself. I got offered a job as a dishwasher at a greasy spoon restaurant for $2 more per hour and I could not pass it up.
I approach the manager of the record store and told him my situation. I really wanted to stay, but the money was more important if I was going to make my life better. He said he really wanted to keep me, but could not offer me more money. He explained to me that he has fought with corporate about their low wages because it made it nearly impossible to retain good people. They wouldn’t budge because they knew the job was ‘cool’ and that young people looking for a cool job were easy to come by and were disposable, that, to them, I was disposable.
As unglamorous as it was, the dishwashing job was good for me. It was humbling, but I took it seriously. I figured, if I was going to wash dishes for a living, I would be the best dishwasher I could be. I was not passionate about washing dishes, but I was passionate about being on-time, organized, and reliable. I didn’t like the job, per se, but I liked doing it well. Every job I’ve had has taught me a lot and every one of those lessons were worth the time and effort invested to learn them.
“As in life, so too it is in budo. As in budo, so too it is in life.”