A fellow in my network is thinking about ditching engineering and going to work in a kitchen.
I started out at Burger King in high school. I did 18 months in fast food. Fry station, counter, drive-though, finally A-line. "Hold the pickles hold the lettuce..." - That was me. I was in the Flow. In the Zone. Hard work with a good team is a helluvalot of fun. ZipZapZoop - I cannot be fazed. I OWN this line.
Until someone yells, "TRUCK!" (That's the 18-wheeler with a week's worthe of supplies.)
I earned my keep in kitchens until about a year after I got my Master's.
In college, a buddy was the Grill God of the local Mickey D's. 80 hours/week, because he *would*. One afternoon (after a morning after the "night before"), he wailed, "The eggs were SMILING at me!!!"
He had a nightmare once: He was all alone in the store. Every beeper in the place was going off - the grill, the fries, the pies, the fish... A tornado passed overhead, ripping off the roof and drenching the lobby. He has to go grab a mop. Then a school bus pulls in...
You will sweat. You will dance. You might sing. You will get cut, burned, and bruised. You may get fired for telling your boss he's violating the health code, and bask in quiet satisfaction later when the place closes. You'll get sick of the smell of teriyaki sauce. You will be able to break four eggs, using two hands, in three seconds.
You will understand the following at a deep level:
1. Customer Service is Job 1.
2. Rotate the stock.
3. Clean as you go.
4. You can get LOT done in thirty seconds.
Finally, whatever you do later in life, you will be able to will look back at your time in the kitchen and say, "I've worked harder for less money."