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Thread: Which Profession is Most Overlooked for Respect?

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    Question Which Profession is Most Overlooked for Respect?



    In my opinion, waitresses are the most overlooked profession when it comes to respect. I am always humbled by the hard work they do when I go to a restaurant and see them darting back and forth from counter, kitchen, to table.

    To me, there is something sacred about taking a position of direct service to others. Waitressing/waitering is a humbling job. Men and women put themselves in a position where often people are not in good moods and routinely dismiss them as nothing more than order takers or donkeys bringing trayloads of food to them.

    Have you ever, or do you often take a moment to converse with your server in restaurants? I have on occassion and most times I am even more humbled by their life, hardships, and striving to improve themselves. I remember one waitress, a heavyset black lady in her early 30's who had an infectious smile, telling us that she had 3 waitressing jobs throughout the week at different locals. She had two children and was single and was putting herself through nursing school a few courses a time each quarter. She had one more year to go (it was taking her a long time to complete her schooling) and then she would proudly say we would not see her again bringing food to us (and we didn`t after that year was up).

    I don`t think she was proud that she was leaving the waitressing behind. She took great pride in how she performed her work. She was proud that she was accomplishing something through strong will and hard work in a way that was going to better her life and that of her family. I always remember this lady as an ambassador to all waitresses.

    They really are a hardworking lot, and for those who smile through their shifts I can`t help but looking at them with more respect than the Donald Trumps of the world. They push themselves through their often monotonous and tedious routines where many customers do not give them the respect they are deserving of. A tip is not always the only thing they deserve. They, too, deserve smiles back at them and some concern for their lives. That is the extra tip.

    I make it a point to tip well and my father also did. The tip was always an important part of our dinners out and never laid lightly with no thought. If a waitress serves me regularly, I also ask to know their names. It is an intimate act of bringing food to one -- and I think that intimacy should entail the friendliness of having a name affixed to the face and greeting that comes with it.

    How do you view waiters and waitresses? Do you take the time to conciously notice their demeanor, smile, voice tone, eye contact, etc...?

    I do.

    Or perhaps there is another profession you would like to hold up as being the most overlooked for respect. Let us know.


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    I'm right with you there, strongvoicesforward. I got my first restaurant job in highschool. I bussed (sp?) tables at first, then went to dishwashing, from where I had moved over into the kitchen by the time I had half finished my senior year. When I moved out to Arizona, I took up two jobs to help pay for my education (I paid most of my way through college) one of which, was again in the kitchen at a Mexican restaurant.

    I agree that waitpeople are overlooked, so to speak, and it showed when the wage thing got messed up back when. They have to have tips now, otherwise they can't make ends meet. Yes, I do feel for them and I often make conversation with them and treat them well. There are number of restaurants here where were all the waitresses and waiters stop by my table when I'm there just to check, and give me a smile. . .even if they are not 'my waitress'--which system you basically don't find here in Japan.

    However, I would yet look deeper, and say that those who faithfully collect the garbage are in need for more respect. The few times I do see them I always wave, and give a proper bow. Once when I was late with putting out my garbage, I complimented them on their work, and gave a word of encouragement. Garbage service is perhaps even more of a necessity than luxury, yet is quite hard and hazardous as well. It should demand more respect and noticement I feel.

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    As I experienced it, service assistants got less recognition or otherwise than they deserved. Waitresses at least made a good $100-$150 in tips a day, while a service assistant's duties include washing dishes, bussing tables, seating people, taking food and drinks out, and all the scrubbing and mopping that needed to be done in the restaraunt. The cooks and waitresses were often getting after them for not being able to do everything at once (cook needs some plates, while the waitress needs tables bussed for waiting guests). It's no surprise there is such a high turnover of Service Assistants at Denny's. That's as I see as needing more recognition in a restaraunt.

    Otherwise, I was also going to post the garbage men.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars Man
    I'm right with you there, strongvoicesforward. I got my first restaurant job in highschool. I bussed (sp?) tables at first, then went to dishwashing, from where I had moved over into the kitchen by the time I had half finished my senior year.
    Sounds like you and I were leading double lives. That is exactly what I did. Busing tables killed my back and our busing trays held a lot. And, like Revenant said above, the support service, such as the dishwashers are sandwiched between the cooks and the waitresses blaming them for slowing things down. The kitchen was a sweatshop. Hard and very much unapreciated for their hard work on getting plates and silverware washed.

    Yes, I do feel for them and I often make conversation with them and treat them well. There are number of restaurants here where were all the waitresses and waiters stop by my table when I'm there just to check, and give me a smile. . .even if they are not 'my waitress'--which system you basically don't find here in Japan.
    Yea, I feel for them, too. Many are just trying to make ends meet. I don`t like the fact that Japan is a non-tipping culture for wait people.

    Personally, I think because of that, U.S. wait people are much better in service to customers. Don`t get me wrong -- I still think Japanese wait people are good people and work hard and I treat them with great respect, but because of the tipping system, U.S. wait people have their heads up always scanning the room for empty glasses to be refilled or for customers that may be calling them for something. By and large, most of my experience in Japan at restaurants I seldom frequent have wait people that keep their heads down and try to avert their gaze from the main dining areas. I think they are just trying to get through their shift by covering the least amount of kilometers from back and forth to the tables to the counter. But, I don`t blame them since appreciation cannot be shown to them in tips. Customer smiles are some form of appreciation, but when a wait person may be raising a few kids with bills to pay, some monetary appreciation is dearly appreciated.

    However, I would yet look deeper, and say that those who faithfully collect the garbage are in need for more respect. The few times I do see them I always wave, and give a proper bow. Once when I was late with putting out my garbage, I complimented them on their work, and gave a word of encouragement. Garbage service is perhaps even more of a necessity than luxury, yet is quite hard and hazardous as well. It should demand more respect and noticement I feel.
    IT SURE SHOULD! Truthfully though, I am not sure how to act when I see them. I am not sure if they are ashamed of the job (they shouldn`t be) and would rather have people ignore them. I am not sure about here in Japan, but I do know that U.S. garbage men get paid pretty well.

    If I were to take a garbage man`s job, I would be proud of supporting myself and family through it, but I might prefer that citizens do not go too much out of their way to come and greet me. I am not sure if I would take it as condescending or pity for me. I would just appreciate it if they seperated the garbage properly and didn`t put it out at night for the dogs and cats to tear open and make my job more difficult. Liquids in bags would suck, too.

    btw, a garbage man here just was killed about six months ago when his leg got cut in the smasher in the back. He blead to death. In his late 50's. I was sad to hear that.

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    2 years ago I worked in a restaurant to pay my trip to Japan. My ex-gf got me the job. It was the worst job I ever had! Washing dishes is really undervalued, underpayed too. I had to bust my balls off and work long hours, and I swore never to do that kind of work again! I have great respect for people like waitresses and garbage collectors.

    I think we forgot to mention mailmen, they have a tough job too, delivering mail trough bad or good weather. And make sure we get our mail on time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by strongvoicesforward
    Sounds like you and I were leading double lives. That is exactly what I did.
    Interesting, indeed !!

    Quote Originally Posted by strongvoicesforward
    If I were to take a garbage man`s job, I would be proud of supporting myself and family through it, but I might prefer that citizens do not go too much out of their way to come and greet me. I am not sure if I would take it as condescending or pity for me.

    btw, a garbage man here just was killed about six months ago when his leg got cut in the smasher in the back. He blead to death. In his late 50's. I was sad to hear that.
    I know where you're coming from. I have almost (I'm not perfect) always made it a policy to keep the, 'if you're gonna do it, do it right' attitude, and if I were collecting garbage, I'd take it with that pride of doing it right too.
    When I greet them, I try to make it understood that it is as I would greet a neighbor here in my neighborhood.

    Wow...that sounds like a bad accident; a bit of a freak accident.
    I would think that the postpeople are basically in the same boat here in Japan, but yet with just a little more respect from the common folk than the garbage man or the wait people. In the US, I'm not so sure, though.

    I didn't think about those service workers in the restaurants though. Nice mention there Revenant !!

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    @ most overlooked job for respect

    It's a difficult question as it really depends on what you define as "respect". What is worth respect ? Is that based on hardship, academic achievments, usefulness of the job (e.g. refuse collector), helpfulness of the job to other people (e.g. doctor, nurse) ?

    Salary-wise, I feel that nurses are not well-respected in many developed countries compared to what doctors get paid to do a similar job. In Belgium, a nurse may earn less than a bus driver or a construction worker. As almost all nurses are female, it could be seen as some kind of sexual discrimination (yet, female doctors get the same salary as male doctors). Maybe it's more like "academic discrimination" practised by doctors in charge of hospitals. I don't even want to see how much hospital cleaners get paid if that is the case.


    @ waitressing

    My wife has worked as a waitress, but we never talk to waiter(esse)s when we go to restaurant. In fact I have the feeling that it is not something that people really do in Japan, except in hostess bars/restaurants.

    In Belgium and several other countries, service tends to be too formal in chic restaurants, too busy in popular restaurnts, and not necessarily good elsewhere. So I don't talk to them. Anyway I am not a spontaneous kind of guy, and wouldn't start chatting with strangers like that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockLee
    I think we forgot to mention mailmen, they have a tough job too, delivering mail trough bad or good weather. And make sure we get our mail on time.
    Except when they lose your mail or deliver it to the wrong house. That being said, I would prefer to work as a postman than a waiter or garbage collector.


    Going back to the topic, I think dictator is one of the least respected job in the world. Yet it takes some guts to have to manage a country by yourself and live with the fear of being assassinated by the families of the opponents of your regime that you have had executed. Really a tough job I tell. And without them banks in Switzerland, Jersey and the Caymans wouldn't be as rich, so it is an essential job if we want to assure the unequal distribution of wealth around the world. Who knows, without such inequalities and the brainwashing of the masses by the oligarchies in developed countries, we might still be fighting each others in useless wars. No wars are useful as they help rich people to get even richer with oil and other cool stuff.

    (sorry that kind of fit of sarcasms happens to me from time to time )

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    Lol @ Mac`s dictator job above.

    I enjoy sarcasm from time to time since here in Japan it is lost on Japanese people -- unless you have a big red squeeky hammer and hit your target audience over the head at the appropriate time to make them laugh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    It's a difficult question as it really depends on what you define as "respect".
    Good point.

    I guess when I mean "overlooked for respect," I am referring to people who are dismissed perfunctorily or even almost ignored as they interact with others in some ways.

    I agree, nurses and even teachers seem to be overlooked for respect if we take into account their salaries and the time they invest, sometimes off the clock without compensation, as a measurement of respect. However, teachers and nurses are often shown appreciaton/respect by their students and patients. Many teachers and nurses while often exhausted from their jobs will say they continue because of the added reward of the human interaction and knowing they have "made a difference" in someone`s life. I think in that field they do not feel overlooked for respect.

    Waitresses on the other hand are often not even afforded the simplest of acts such as eye contact or a brief smile.

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    Quote Originally Posted by strongvoicesforward
    Good point.
    I guess when I mean "overlooked for respect," I am referring to people who are dismissed perfunctorily or even almost ignored as they interact with others in some ways.
    I agree, nurses and even teachers seem to be overlooked for respect if we take into account their salaries and the time they invest, sometimes off the clock without compensation, as a measurement of respect. However, teachers and nurses are often shown appreciaton/respect by their students and patients. Many teachers and nurses while often exhausted from their jobs will say they continue because of the added reward of the human interaction and knowing they have "made a difference" in someone`s life. I think in that field they do not feel overlooked for respect.
    Waitresses on the other hand are often not even afforded the simplest of acts such as eye contact or a brief smile.
    Yes I agree that any job that people need to work hard and need to work for long hours and crazy hours but the pays are low are the ones the general public overlooked for respect. On the other hand jobs like doctors are overrated, having said that I have quite some numbers of people in my family who are doctors.

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    I think you have to look at the list and say "what jobs can't I do without?"

    Many jobs can be done by average people, such as washing dishes, loading trash into the truck, etc... Many other jobs take skill, but people are unwilling to do...those are the ones I think would deserve the most respect.

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    Farmers and Ranchers. They work some of the longest hours of any profession in the world. Their work is never done 24/7, 365 days a year. And we definitely could not live without them, though they are overlooked most of the time ( at least among city folks in America, though I don't since I live in rural Arkansas and I was born on a farm.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by cashhighlander
    Farmers and Ranchers. They work some of the longest hours of any profession in the world. Their work is never done 24/7, 365 days a year.
    I know quite well how farmers (i.e. people who own their own farm) live, as I have family and friends who are. Interestingly one common point they have is that they complain a lot and sound very much like you (have to work 365 days, unpredictable wather, etc.). But on the side they make more money than almost nybody else, doctors and lawyers included. And this is just for small European farmers, I don't even want to imagine the profits made by those huge farms in the USA or Australia, where they even have helicopters to follow their thousands of cattle on farm land bigger than a Belgian province. Sure they are the one to pity...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    But on the side they make more money than almost nybody else, doctors and lawyers included. And this is just for small European farmers, I don't even want to imagine the profits made by those huge farms in the USA or Australia, where they even have helicopters to follow their thousands of cattle on farm land bigger than a Belgian province. Sure they are the one to pity...

    These are fairly rare, and I am sure they were not what he was referring to. Maybe you need another visit so that you can get your perspective right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cashhighlander
    Farmers and Ranchers. They work some of the longest hours of any profession in the world.
    I imagine their work is hard, but as for livestock, I imagine their existence at the hands of ranchers is even harder.

    Their work is never done 24/7, 365 days a year. And we definitely could not live without them,...
    We surely could live without ranchers or factory farmers of livestock. Why do you think we couldn`t?

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    Farmers here in America do not make as much money as lawyers or doctors, and almost none make as much as them on the side. Only the big corporation-owned farms and ranches make as much as lawyers or doctors, and even then the people who actually tend to the land and livestock do not make as much as the previously mentioned professions.\
    SVF, livestock on ranches and farms do not lead bad lives, although they will be killed, but thats natural. And cattle on the big western ranches lead almost natural wild lives. To grow and raise as much food as you need to live on would be a full year round job. I doubt that you want to do that.
    Maciamo, I am not saying that farmers and ranchers should be pitied. Quite the opposite. I envy the lives of farmers and ranchers. Although they have many hardships, the quality of their lives and the all the good things that they do outweigh them. And farmers and ranchers, at least here in America, definitely would not want to be pitied, whatever the circumstance that they are in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cashhighlander
    SVF, livestock on ranches and farms do not lead bad lives,...
    Says who? Those who are doing the exploiting and killing or benefitting from it? Doesn`t sound like a very unbiased observation to me. I don`t think slaveholders of 200 years ago would openly say, "our slaves lead bad lives...," do you?

    In the U.S. up to 80% of animals slaughtered for food are factory farmed. That entails lowering production costs as much as possible so that shareholders can get the maximum profit from the many stages between life and the intestinal graveyard of the consumers.

    ...although they will be killed, but thats natural.
    What is natural about prior to death a chicken being frustrated so that it is crammed into a shed with tens of thousands of other chickens with amonia levels so high that workers where oxygen masks to tend to them, that they canibalize one another, that they get their beaks saudered off as chicks damaging sensitive nerves and tongue, OR in the case of battery hens, up to 5 hens may be in one small wire cage with a slanting floor, giving each hen less than on A4 size piece of paper to live its whole life on, not enough room to stretch its wings, no soil to dust bath in, their nails growing to wrap around the wire flooring so that when they are removed to be disposed of after they are no longer of use, their toes and nails are ripped out?

    In battery hen production, when males are hatched, they are not shipped to a place that will utilize them for their lives -- No, they are flung into an industrial size processor while alive, turning them into either fertilizer or pet food. Now, tell me what is natural about all that and how does that equal "not leading bad lives?" You tell me. I sure wouldn`t want to be on the receiving end of that treatment.

    What is natural about being killed in a slaughterhouse? If you are going to use the word "natural" as if it is the common denominator of what should be done, then we should be getting our meat by stalking it with our bodies and killing it ourselves. That is natural! Do you use a toilet? If "natural" is what we should strive to emulate and adhere to, then why aren`t you still using outside open spaces to defecate and urinate in? The logic of "natural" does not cut across the spectrum of how we behave so therefore it is irrelevant. In fact, the history of humans is one big constant push away from what is "natural."

    And cattle on the big western ranches lead almost natural wild lives.
    Perhaps you have a slanted reality of the state of the family farm, which is more and more disappearing. The few cows one may see in pastures as they drive across the country is nothing compared to the large percentage that are in feedlots or veal crates.

    I haven`t even touched upon pigs yet.

    To grow and raise as much food as you need to live on would be a full year round job. I doubt that you want to do that.
    No, I wouldn`t and it is not necessary that I do so because economic diversity and the interests of people fill the unwanted jobs by some with those who don`t mind doing them. Your statement is irrelevant. Being a vegetarian however, means that those jobs are filled which supply me with my food are not done so with abject cruelty involved.

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    I would have to say that the top two that comes to mind are nurses and people in customer service. I'm talking about customer service in a broad sense including waitresses, cashiers, etc. In Finland, there aren't even enarly as many nurses in hospitals as there should be so the workload is really big. I know a few people who are studying to be nurses and they all say the same. It's probably nto as bad if you don't have kids and all that but if you do, making ends meet probably isn't too easy.
    As for customer service, I think people really understand how stressful it can be. It's not really all that nice when someone decides to vent his/her frustrations at customer service. I used to work at a kiosk and even though most of the time the customers were really nice (unlike most think, old drunks can be the customers that'll save your day because they always have some story to tell you ), there were some that could just ruin your day acting like total idiots when I had nothing to do with it. But then again, when you have a job like that, you have to be nice to people no matter what and try to shrug it off but it still makes you wonder if they'd act the same way to someone they know
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    Sorry for the abscence; me and my dad just got back from a trip up to South Dakota. Since you are a vegetarian (just found that out), it would be pointless for me to counter anything from your post. To each his own. Oh, by the way, sometimes I do urinate and defecate outside. I live in the woods, so I can.
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    I agree with the professions that people have already said - waiter/waitress, garbage collector, mailmen, nurses...

    I also think that call centre workers are overlooked for respect. Because their job involved having a script/set procedure, it doesn't need a specialist skill. People associate call centre workers with the annoying person on the other end of the phone who doesn't know the answer to your query and puts you on hold for ages. But on the other hand, call centre workers (in 24-hour centres) have to work shifts, they have to sit down throughout their work, they are not allowed to take a proper time to interact with their customers because they have targets of how many calls they need to take, and they have to deal with people giving them crap down the phone. I've known people who work in call centres who even get people phoning up because they want to talk to someone, hear someone's voice, and they end up having to play the counsellor! O_o So yeah - it's not a physically demanding job in the traditional sense, but actually it can be pretty demanding on your body in a different kind of way to sit down all day (it makes me feel really ill when I have to do it T_T), and although they don't have specialised skills, call centre workers are really put down all the time, people think they are the lowest of the low when they are aiming to help, and people always remember the occasion they got below-par service rather than the times someone was nice.

    I definitely agree about service staff. I know someone who owns a restaurant - owns, not waiters - and he worries a lot about the business and hasn't had a holiday for 7 years.

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    Hi cashhighlander,

    Quote Originally Posted by cashhighlander
    Sorry for the abscence; me and my dad just got back from a trip up to South Dakota.
    No need to apologise. We all get busy. Had you come back earlier there would have been a good chance that you would have missed my post that you have just recently replied to.

    Hope you had a good trip to S. Dakota (hope it wasn`t a hunting trip ). Visited there once many years ago.

    Since you are a vegetarian (just found that out), it would be pointless for me to counter anything from your post.
    Not really. I was once a flesh eater and it was only through argumentative discussion that I changed. I guess if I changed once, it is possible to do so again. Besides, just learning new debate strategies in the course of "arguing" is valuable -- if indeed you do value debate. Although I, too, feel it is pointless arguing with some people at times, in fact, I do have to admit I learn from those people because they come at the issues from different angles and that forces me to adapt to that particular style or information.

    To each his own.
    That, too, could be a whole other topic.

    Oh, by the way, sometimes I do urinate and defecate outside. I live in the woods, so I can.
    lol. I do, too, when I am hiking. But you don`t really live "in" the woods, do you? You mean you live in your house which is in the woods, and which shields you from the true realities of nature. Right?

    At any rate, I think if we want to continue this conversation, we should move it over to one of the vegetarian threads or create a new thread topic. Because of that, I won`t post anymore on farming, ranching, or vegetarianism in this thread.

    Here are the other threads if you want to look at some of the arguments on those topics. Don`t feel pressured to post in those threads. Do so if you wish:

    Are you vegetarian?

    Fighting animal exploitation/cruelty

    Vegetarianism for the Environment

    Famouse Vegetarians on Vegetarianism

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    In my country these are sanitation workers and cleaners.

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    I believe that being a plumber is the most under appreciated and under respected profession. My father was a plumber and as a boy I had to work with him. Until you have had to run your arm up someone's sewer line and dig out impacted sanitary napkins, while laying in a puddle of raw sewage, you have not suffered.

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    Yep, watch the Dirty Jobs reality show for these jobs.

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