And the saga continues….and finally ends, my barista journey finally ends…for now…(because who knows? Clearly not me…ever).
I wrote a blog post about starting my first job at Starbucks last year.
Click here to read it!
Oh crap, it wasn’t last year, it was last last year. May 2016. It’s almost been two freaking years.
I learned a lot. From life I mean, about people, about friends, the business world, dealing with the concept of temporary fleeting moments, and dealing with complete idiots in the work field.
It’s been an eye-opening experience, to talk to people and get to know their story. To personally train a barista about simple drink-making, to later find out they’re moving up to become a store manager. And it all started from a frantic barista who didn’t lid the blender for a frappuccino when blending: such moments of pride! ❤
Learning coworkers’ dreams and hopes for the future was so inspirational. To watch their motivations for success. So much creativity, talent and art.
And then experiencing moments where you learn to deal with people who have a problem with you for no damn reason.
A problem with you and your friends. A problem that needed to be dealt with by firing or trying to phase everyone away and finding replacements (with same names as us….is that creepy or what).
And today I learned that that person had been suspended and possibly fired (woohoo!) Our whole squad rejoiced. That person was the reason of so many months of frustration, that led to so many people leaving including me (well that, and scheduling problems).
But I mean there were good times, I promise! I got to know customers-the ones who would open up- a little bit about their personal lives.
It’s fascinating when you do it in a genuine manner, when you’re getting to know people because you care, rather than spitting compliments robotically like the company expects you to, for the sake of customer service.
That was definitely a hard lesson learned. The business world of Starbucks. People are just numbers, people are just ratings, it doesn’t matter what we say as long as we say something. As long as we give off our fake smiles and talk about the weather when a district manager is sitting on the side, breathing on our every word.
Because no you can not say, “I have a blonde iced vanilla latte for Carina,” it has to be “Carina, I have your blonde iced vanilla latte.”
And I get it. Just like any job, it has its rules, it has its structure that you have signed up to get through, with certain regulations and ways of speaking or dealing with customers.
But is the customer truly always right? Nope. More often than not, you have to be ‘baby-ing’ grown-ass adults with temper tantrums, apologizing for their behaviour and inconvenience, encouraging their childish hissy fits by giving them a drink on the house.
I swear some days we are baby-sitters, friends, consultants and clinical therapists (shouldn’t we get payed extra for that??) for the customers.
In short, I learned how to deal with people. A customer service job really does that to you. And no matter what, I am grateful.
I’ve been treated like shit. And the funny thing is it has happened more internally than externally. Let me re-phrase. It has happened more from inside the company, than from the customers-even though I’ve had my share of rude customers.
Having a coworker barista tell you in a sassy know-it-all ‘holier-than-thou’ “use your brain” when you ask which syrup bins need to be switched up for sanitizing. And another giving you ‘you’re an idiot’ looks when asking a simple question about a coffee bin. And those are just examples on the surface.
Yet preaching about teamwork in the groupchat, and how much we should care about our customers.
People end up controlling you-but they shouldn’t. Yeah you have a incompetent stupid manager, so what? Yeah you have rude coworkers who think they’re better than you, yet go into deep philosophical conversations with the customers because they get paid for that, so what?
You can’t control people’s actions, attitudes, personalities and the way they treat you.
But you can control your reaction. And that only comes through trial and error.
Through reacting, you learn that no reaction is the best reaction of all.
So you learn that everything isn’t about you. You learn that the world doesn’t owe you kindness and empathy, loyalty, care, compassion, and love.
It just doesn’t because that’s the world we live in.
You learn to distance yourself (after being attached for so freakin long), and not take it personally (after taking it personally for so long).
And most of all, the people you meet.
I was such a naive girl. Still am.
I met so many people all at once when starting at my first location in 2016, just loving life and all the interactions of our close-knit group who treated each other like family.
Starbucks was my second home, I spent more time there- with the people- than my actual home.
I thought it’d last.
I didn’t think it’d be so temporary.
But the work force is temporary. People are always leaving, transferring, switching, moving on with life.
And that was hard to grasp. I wanted our little group to stay. To last.
I was in tears the day I quit, in the summer of 2017. So much so that I immediately regretted it and frantically re-applied to hundreds of locations again, hoping to regain that feeling.
Hoping to regain that experience that left me. I wasn’t ready to let go of it just yet. Thus leading to my second location.
But the people from my original first location that made the effort to stay, is all that matters.
So much so, that quitting (…again…), quitting today, wasn’t a big deal. It’s that thing where you make up your mind long before leaving. When your mind and your heart make up a decision long before you have the courage to let go. So when you finally do, you’ve mentally prepared for it, and are at peace.
Like falling out of love.
Your priorities change (is this what adulting must feel like?!)
I still feel a pinch. A pinch to hang onto the past. A pinch that I can balance two jobs, full 5-course work-load at school, blogging here/instagram poetry, and all the goals I have for this year. Including more writing, reading books, learning the guitar and getting back my piano skills from years ago, singing at church, creating more digital projects, and having the time to drive back and forth to see my friends. It gives me anxiety just thinking about it, but I still feel it. A pinch, a whisper to clasp onto Starbucks even tighter.
I don’t necessarily have the swelling desire to clean washrooms, scrub the oven or sanitize bins with clumps of old mocha syrup (as much fun as that sounds).
It’s what Starbucks represents for me personally. That’s what I find myself reaching for.
But I guess that numbing feeling can show you that your experience was worth it. That whatever you go through, it will hurt to let go.
I think it just means that it meant something to you. Isn’t that a good thing though?
Starbucks gives me that bitter-sweet feeling. That weird nostalgia of fluttery happiness and innocence, and the crumbling feelings of loss and leaving behind a part of myself.
And I carry that around me wherever I go. Wherever I order my Starbucks Iced Latte, the coffee carries the weight of my story.
And it used to be heavy. I used to lug it around every day.
I catch a glimpse of it everytime I see a Starbucks sign. Everytime someone mentions the word.
Everytime I sip the coffee. Maybe I sip the coffee to feel a fraction of the past (Am I going too meta?)
But these days it doesn’t seem that way. The coffee cup seems light.
The memories still exist.
Not all the people do.
But the world seems to smell a bit better, even without the invasion of coffee beans.
I’ve grown up.
I’ve moved on.