'What are you studying?' - Anonymous

I often get asked this question whilst at work as Assistant General Manager of a restaurant I love. Maybe this is a rant, maybe this is just something that being a young-ish, baby-faced female member of management in an otherwise male-dominated management team brings about. My General Manager, a father of two in his late thirties, never gets asked this question. Our Assistant Manager, also a father of two, slightly older than middle-aged, never gets asked this question. So why is it that I get questioned about my role day in, day out?

I’ve worked since I was 15 to gain the knowledge I have of the hospitality industry. What makes me  saddest about the question, ‘What are you studying?’ is that people assume my restaurant role is temporary or a ‘make do’ job whilst I work towards achieving something better or more professional that might bring in more money.  

A guest once said to me, ‘What’s a pretty girl like you doing clearing people’s plates?’.  

What we do is a profession; a profession to be proud of. It’s hard work, but it’s satisfying, and it makes memories for people.  

I always say to the people who ask me what I’m studying, ”“I’m not studying, I’m doing what I love.”   

Which yes, involves clearing people’s plates.  

I go to work with a great team of people, serve and eat great food and great wine, and I make people happy in the process. Why would I want to be studying in a classroom for a job I’ll probably only do because I studied it?


Natalia Ribbe