The job has its archetypes — here are 5 you're bound to find waiting tables everywhere.

Above: Corporate rendering of alternate reality where everyone is attractive, drunk, rich and happy.

As a server, you’re beset on all sides by characters of all stripes (both in and out of the kitchen). For many (and not to condescend to the job), waiting tables is a purgatory — a summer, a year, a triennium spent madly plugging tips into a piggybank while trying to get to someplace better. It is, itself, waiting.

And it’s because of this the hands that heft the tray are so varied. Gather 20 average middle-class people in a room and it’s likely that a handful of them have better tip calculators in their heads than the others have in their phones.

That said, the job isn’t without its archetypes. We recently took some time to lump all of the servers we’ve known into five simple categories. And while not covering the whole range, these are some of the most common personalities. So prepare to meet/recognize the five people you’re most likely to work with if you’re a waiter.

The Proud Dreamer / The Soon-To-Be Departed (Maybe)

She’s been working here a while, and she’s almost done saving for the big move to San Francisco, Hollywood, New York, or some other big city where the big dreams go to live or die. This gal is absolutely miserable waiting tables (though she’s usually pretty good at it), with her only solace being anybody and everybody hearing about her escape plans.

And sometimes, they don’t work out. Be prepared to hear this gal talk about her imminent departure for months to come. If she leaves though, be prepared also to hear her legend for even longer. Suddenly, the restaurant will turn into Shawshank Prison. “Hey everybody! Cody made it to Alaska! She did it, man. She got out! She got out!”

The Haggard Party Hound

Hammocks hung under her eyes, this waiter lives weekend-to-weekend (or whatever constitutes a weekend working Olive Garden hours). She’s the one whose house we all go to afterwards, the one with the frosty bottle of everclear in the freezer. She’s bipolarly rosy and hostile, depending on how much time has passed since the last red-eyed wild night.

But, despite all this, she’s usually tight with the boss (at least until something dramatic happens) and will usually be the one to deliver a tired rundown of the workplace to the new blood. The wise will know not to cross this one, as she’s usually a high strung veteran. Trust us, you don’t want to mess with this.

The Artist

Like the dreamer, this one spends roughly half her time talking about her future projects outside of taking orders for filet mignon. She’s usually a painter, but we’ve seen sculptors and poets in the same mold. Regardless, and rest assured, she’s better than you.

This waiter can’t wait to casually drop a hint about some small time show she’s participating in (a gallery exhibition, a poetry slam, etc.). “Yeah, it’s going to be at Not of this World. Sherman Alexie once did a reading there twenty years ago, but yeah. No big deal.” But it totally is, for her anyway.

The College-Educated Funny One

This is the guy who’s, so far, only used is state college liberal arts degree to sprinkle his jokes with more cultured references. Basically a real-life version of a Seth MacFarlane character.

He loves to kid around, this one, but he’s also very sensitive, about as insecure as you’d expect, given that his four-year degree has landed him in the same pool as people who still decorate a room in their parents’ house.

The Career Guy

Despite the job’s stereotype as a seasonal affair, this guy has decided to devote himself wholeheartedly to the craft. He is what you might call a lifer. If you get the first day tour from this one, don’t expect wry humor or sarcastic jabs at the bossman. Instead expect him to follow that worn out corny employee handbook to the T.

Expect him also to wield some unholy corporate buzzphrase like “We’re all family here” like he believes it in his soul of souls (an existence you’ll start to doubt). Don’t judge him too harshly though. He probably made a decision to go for that promotion long ago, by any means necessary, and just forgot about how terrible and compromising those means were. Love him or hate him, you should be nice. Stay there longer than you want and this guy’ll be your boss.