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Restaurant server turns to PR to build a better job springboard

Ever since Mark Rywelski left the hospitality industry last year to take an entry-level job at a Manhattan-based public relations company, he has been living paycheck to paycheck.

Mr. Rywelski’s previous job as a server at some of the city’s trendiest celebrity-owned restaurants was hard work, but thanks to the generous tips, he was earning 50% more than he is today. He’s had to start hitting the sale racks and clipping coupons, and stop treating friends to drinks and meals.

“I had to scale back,” says the aspiring actor.

Salaries for entry-level public relations jobs range from $25,000 to $40,000, according to PRWeek.

“But I knew there was more potential for me in PR,” Mr. Rywelski says. “I saw so many restaurants close, and co-workers got stuck in the industry because you make so much money.”

For three years, the 28-year-old Long Island native managed tables and juggled orders at restaurants including Poetessa on the Lower East Side, Sazerac House in the West Village and Bolo—now closed—in Gramercy Park. Although Mr. Rywelski loved the fast-paced environment and thought of the experience as a free education on different foods, wines and the hospitality industry, he wanted a secure, steady job that provided him with broader career opportunities.

"I was not surprised he left his job,” says Amanda Hunt, who worked with Mr. Rywelski at Bolo for a year and a half. “He thinks outside of the box."

Mr. Rywelski has started getting acting roles. He stars in a Web series for Spherion, a temporary-job agency. Through that gig, he discovered his current employer, CJP Communications, the PR firm that represents Spherion. There, Mr. Rywelski is responsible for administrative work and event planning, as well as producing Web series for the firm’s clients.

“My days are never the same here,” he says.


Category: industry news