Guest Opinion: Myles Gozos | Students and Food Service


Myles Gozos, COD Student

On February 9th 2018, a psychiatry professor covered issues students face with their daily lives that contribute to stress and anxiety, mentioning work status briefly. The concept of this paper was sparked through my involvement in a known discourse community; Potbelly Sandwich Shop. As a college student working a job that has been stigmatized for years, I can’t help but add to that idea.

With the strike of the coronavirus pandemic and even prior, jobs whose main purpose is to provide service in the food setting haven’t been entirely discussed. In a 2021 journal published by Sciencedirect, Diogo Thimeoteo da Cunha touched on how working in food causes human fatigue. 

“The mean personal burnout score of food service employees…was similar to those found in nurses…,” de Cunha wrote, conveying that the level of hospitality seen here can be contrasted with hospitality of a higher paying job. Keeping up with school at this level and working a demanding job leads to jadedness due to having to exceed expectations in both fields that are a must to be met.

If you think back to personal experiences when you have decided to dine in at restaurants, you can identify that the majority of the community is mixed with novices and experts. Keeping in mind the time frame we experience in our daily lives, an 2021 article published on Taylor & Francis Online points out the “mental toll of the pandemic on the general population,” wrote author Marie-Anne Rosemberg. It was stated that “jobs in hospitality, food service…dropped significantly by April 2020” at the brink of this prevalent transition, causing many traumatic effects to those who have worked and are working in the food industry; one of the many reasons why people don’t return to their jobs here. Though many of the participants were in their early 20’s, mid 30’s, community college unleashes people of diverse backgrounds that could relate to these issues and are relevant.

Moreover to combat worker shortages, some drive-thrus experiment with technological communication. Springer Link’s Jarinah Mohd Ali explains the current utilization of artificial intelligence in the food industry, finding that machines have been of great use, just behind closed doors. With its emerging role, there is no doubt that computer operated systems could potentially replace us food servers. Although, the only thing that holds us back from that is its intricacy and limitations that just might be best left for people to carry out.

Previously mentioning the pandemic, a new perspective can give us a better understanding on why food service is draining, especially for young adults. Jihye Min, an assistant professor with a background in hospitality, pushed forth alternative team building concepts. 

Generational differences in coping with COVID-19,’ 18-60 year olds carry experiences that play a role in how they behave. Together, generation x and z members “[revealed] differences in the effect of self-efficacy on participation,” Min wrote. Those differences all funnel to whether or not society complies with social distancing efforts when in public; a challenging task seen today.

Understanding why food service is no easier feat than what is stigmatized by the community, many do face a breaking point in motivation especially when they have a lot on their plate in their lives already. How people feel in their given work setting translates into their performance, and has potential to bleed over on academic work. That is an issue that should not be quieted and reconsidered. I am letting us workers get the respect we deserve for what we do outside of school as well; providing assistance.