Thursday, August 30, 2012

Training at Starbucks

I've been working at Starbucks for around a week and a half now. A large majority of that time has been training which consists of having something explained to me, trying it myself, and then being asked about it to know how much I comprehend. The training is very through and it is great at giving the knowledge about how to do something. That said, the real learning comes in the practice and repetition of the tasks one must do to be a Starbucks barista. 

Yesterday, during my first non-training shift I worked the drive-thru for six straight hours after I had just spent two hours learning it. In the drive-thru training module I was able to learn and try each task with my trainer no more than two feet away. Certain things got me a bit flustered and she was there to hold my hand in that situation. I was wearing a head-set, from which I heard the drink order of the customer at the speaker, I had a computer screen in front of me to punch in the orders, last I had a separate computer screen in which to ring the customers up.  The worst part was comprehending what the customer had said and punching it into the order screen in a quick enough manner. Also I was told to avoid awkward pauses by trying to fill in dead air with something.

(Sidebar-this was hard for me, because as some of you may already know that after spending two years in a foreign country with hundreds of awkward moments, I am now immunized to awkward moments and couldn't care less if they happen.)

Once my trainer went home I was left to my own devices and had to spend the rest of my shift doing what I had just learned. I quickly found out I wasn't completely alone because Jen, a co-worker, was determined not to leave me hanging. She remained by my side as much as she could while still completing her own job. Later in my shift, Adam came in, another co-worker who had a similar kindness to Jen's. By that time I was surprisingly a bit more comfortable with the operation and I needed help less and less. As a new  obstacle would come up I called to Adam, never far away, and he came to my rescue. He even had to save me from a rude customer, more than willing to gracefully defend my newness!

To give a little rhythm to my rant what I am taking out of this is firstly, my co-workers are great. I am so appreciative of the amount of empathy for my being new that is coming from them and their willingness to help me. I am enjoying being a part of their team. Secondly I learned today that more I do something at Starbucks, the easier it will become. Jen told me to just relax and know that it will come. I agree with her wholeheartedly. Lastly I take the same thing that I always take after completing a challenge, an even better sense of knowing that I can face new things and come out on top. My challenges with Starbucks are far from over but my challenge for this day was to learn the drive-thru and in my eyes, I rocked it.