It took me the better part of 10 years after graduating college and getting a "real" job to make more money than I did as a waiter/bartender during college.
I am talking kitchen help-forgot to specify that. It was a rough crew that manned that area in the 60's early 70's. I learned a lot of bad habits working in kitchens
Today there are more college educated people in the kitchen than I ever remember growing up but the big operations still rely on the old school, smokers, rough and tumbles, for help and a big part is they still pay terrible. Artisan shops tend to pay more, are hip for young people to work in, and usually are geared towards the hip clientele. My wife made over $300/night in tips at a nice NJ Italian place in the early 80's. Walter