Wait a second. Salary: $12,000 or less
You're the new server at a dumpy downtown diner. The diner's open for lunch and dinner, but because you haven't "paid your dues," you get scheduled for the lower-tipped lunch shifts. You've started making friends though, and occasionally one of them spots you a dinner shift. Weekday, of course; no one likes you enough to give you Saturday night.
Feels like you're always waiting. Salary: $17,000
You're working the typical Thursday post-work dinner crowd on what seems to be a typical shift. After one of your tables leaves, you notice an atypical hundred-dollar bill on the table. Thinking you've been treated incredibly well, you pick it up—only to find that it has Justin Bieber's smug face on it. Typical.
At least the tips are good. Salary: $22,000
You enjoy working at a high-end restaurant in a city with a busy nightlife. You've managed to get a set schedule where you work mostly evenings during the week and every other weekend which gives you more time to do your thing on the weekends. One thing you don't do is spend any time inside a restaurant—if you're getting food service, it's while you're tanning on the beach far outside the city.
More special than the specials. Salary: $30,000
The long hours that you've been putting in recently have qualified you for health care and, more importantly, dental work. You finally get to be seen by a dental professional, who takes a good look inside your mouth. Turns out, all the stress eating this job caused you to do has made your teeth into incredibly powerful chewing machines. Who knew?
Would you like my life with that? Salary: $40,000
Working at a five-star restaurant in a Vegas hotel is almost a dream come true. Casino regulars ask to be seated in your section since they know how good you are at your job, and they tip really, really well. Life's pretty perfect—or at least it will be, once you score a seat at the World Poker Tour. Who said this food service thing was a lifetime gig?