Saturday, June 1, 2013

It's a Starbucks Wrap

Some of you may know, but some of you may not, that I got a new full time job with the Girl Scouts (wooo hoo!) More on that topic in a bit. For now let's talk about Starbucks.

Obviously getting a full time position at Girl Scouts meant I had to leave Starbucks behind and that is why I am writing this now. After a period of reflection I want you to read some final notes about how this job fit purposefully into my life.

I got the job at Starbucks at just the right time. It was finally a stable job, with enough hours to allow me to move into my own place, and it also had the added plus of health benefits. I was incredibly thankful to have it. 

While working at Starbucks I learned skills that are applicable in any workplace and close to any life situation. Between lines of disgruntled customers, multitasking between brewing four coffees, putting out pastries, waiting on customers while cooking sandwiches, and working with six people in a tiny, tiny space I got a lot of skills that leave me ready for anything. 

A few things I learned:
-How to keep my cool when there are a lot of people starting you down because they have been waiting in line for 15 minutes. 
-How to balance many tasks, and prioritize tasks quickly .
-How to always keep in mind what needs to be done.
-How to have multiple conversations at once (drive thru speaker, drive through window, fellow baristas).
-How to work as a team with people to get something done for the customer.
-How to get things done quickly. 

I used to talk a lot about missing the comradery that being in Peace Corps brought me. Working at Starbucks gave me that back.  Plenty of conversation that goes on at Starbucks is non-verbal and when you can make a couple of hand signals to a person and they do what you ask, that's a good connection. 

There were times when all you have to do is look at each other and the other person knows exactly how you are feeling. Sometimes when it would be very busy, we would feel like we were going through battle together, and would praise each other for getting though it. There was a lot of support at Starbucks. Many encouraging words and gratitude went around. 

I also was very impressed with myself for learning everything I had to learn.  When I started at Starbucks, the concept of memorizing so many drink codes to write on cups, many drink recipes, and processes seemed like it wouldn't happen. When I saw veteran baristas do things without even thinking and know everything about everything, I didn't understand how it was possible, but soon enough I was one of those people.

Starbucks was one of the most physical jobs I'd ever had. Being on my feet all day, working with my hands, actually producing something was a great experience for me. I really enjoy doing that kind of work. I also enjoyed learning a lot about coffee, something I hadn't known much about before. 

Some may have thought that having a bachelors degree in journalism and being stuck working at a Starbucks was not a good fate. But it taught me so much including as long as you love the job you are doing, it shouldn't matter what anyone else thinks of what you do. 

So I think what you are getting out of this is that I loved it at Starbucks. The staff, the customers, the work, everything. Not a minute of being there felt like work and I laughed so much. I never expected to work for a Starbucks and I never expected to love it. It was a true lesson in learning love life's little surprises.