Being a Barista

It consistently amazes me that I can go to work at 5am, have the craziest things happen that in many other jobs drive me crazy (people calling in sick, my key breaking in the lock, a sanitizer machine flooding the back room) and come out in such an amazing mood. I’ve finally boiled it down to the plain fact that the company I work for and the people I work with make a huge difference.

Setbacks are expected at Starbucks. The company, our district and regional managers, and our store management all know that we are going to run into errors, that machines break, that people make reasonable amounts of mistakes, that sometimes alarm clocks stop working for no good reason, and that the occasional rush or drink can stump even the most experienced of baristas.

They emphasize that its how we handle the mistakes and grow from the experience that matters. It takes time to grow into a role, as my manager emphasizes. I have worked at (and subbed in for) five different starbucks in my region and visited countless others and for the most part the environment is very similar.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but the fact that there are so many lines of communication for employees to voice their concerns, anonymous or otherwise, makes having a negative experience easy to deal with.

I’m not expected to be perfect, and therefore, I feel comfortable being myself and learning as I go. As a result, I think I’m a much better barista and leader than I would be otherwise.

It takes a special team to have the day we had, be short a person, and still be happy. We depend on each other and are not afraid to ask each other questions. Which makes it a lot easier to lead a team. I never dread going to work, and 99% of the time I’m looking forward to it (even if getting up at 4am does suck sometimes)!

Of course, we couldn’t do any of it without our customers. My regulars, and now the majority, my friends, are the one thing I will miss the most if I do ever end up leaving this store.

For April’s month of service I’m really excited about the projects my store is involved in. Last year we supported a run for the special olympics of Canada (that’s where I am in that picture), and this year we are doing the Walk for MS and a community cleanup (some of our customers are coming to the clean up)! Today I had a long-time customer share with me that she is inspired by our participation in the MS Walk.

I love that I work for a company that inspires me to make a difference.

I hope that you all had amazing days, and remember, its learning from the experience that matters. In the words of Howard, onward.

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