People have been asking why they haven't seen any blog posts from me in a while. It's because life has been crazy busy. However, things will be getting back to normal soon. Let me 'splain....
On June 2 of this year I started working at Starbucks as a barista. There were many reasons that I chose to do that. Here are a few:
1. I had plenty of time on my hands since I was on summer vacation.
2. I love coffee.
3. I love people.
4. As a teacher in a Christian college, I am around people whose worldview is mostly similar to mine. I wanted to connect naturally with people whose worldview might be different from mine, to learn and to engage.
5. I hope to retire from teaching in a few more years (how many, yet undetermined), and I don't want to sit and rust as I wait for Jesus' return or my death, whichever comes first. I want to do something meaningful and enjoyable in my old age, but just not full time.
I have thoroughly enjoyed connecting with people on both sides of the coffee bar. Having started at Starbucks in June and having learned most of what I needed for the job, I thought I would be able to keep both jobs going throughout the school year. After all, I managed just fine working there all summer. Admittedly, the first week or two of the school year were rough as I adjusted to a very full schedule. But then things fell into a fairly comfortable rhythm. As we approach the holidays, though, business at Starbucks, which always seems to be busy, is picking up significantly, and they have needed all of us to work more and more hours. Last week I worked 19 hours, and this week 23 hours! And that, on top of teaching full time!
I got sick a couple of weeks ago and began to feel more and more both the physical and the mental effects of what I have been trying to do, especially as I am still trying to dig out from being ill. (Read: the realities of living in a 63 year old body) I asked my store manager if Starbucks allowed partners to work seasonally — just summers and Christmas breaks. When she told me that they used to but don't currently, I knew I would have to terminate my employment there and gave my two weeks' notice. It was a very difficult decision because I have grown to love the partners in my store and the guests who come in on a regular basis.
This semester at the university, as part of my duties, I have been a freshman seminar coach. One of the activities in that course is the weekly reading and discussion of a chapter in a book called Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem , by Kevin DeYoung. Throughout the semester, as we have discussed that week's chapter in class, I have given examples from my experience of teaching full time and working part time at Starbucks. This past week's chapter was particularly convicting to me and was undoubtedly one of the catalysts in my leaving Starbucks for now.
When I talked to my store manager, she said she understood completely. She told me I have been a good worker and that I am totally "rehireable." So don't be surprised when you hear that I'm back at the Bux ... sometime in the future. One thing I discovered is that I will totally enjoy working there and, once I retire from teaching, I will be able to do the work. 🙂
Working at Starbucks is not a matter of just being there during your shift — it's not just "putting in your time." It's a lot of work, especially when things get really busy. Even when there are few or no guests at the register, there are many necessary tasks to perform. There are sauces and whipped cream to make, shelves to stock, dishes to wash or put away, floors to sweep and mop, and much more. And when there are many guests waiting to be served, those tasks still need to be taken care of. I learned firsthand that Starbucks baristas work very hard! Even though guests are paying for their beverages, the baristas deserve every tip that is left in the jar by the register or the drive-thru window!
The first week I worked at Starbucks, I did some web searches to find out everything I could about the company and life as a Starbucks barista. Something that turned up in my searches was a book called How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else . I can't say that my life was in need of rescue, but it was interesting that the author was the same age I was when he began working at Starbucks. I checked his book out of the local library and read it with interest. If you'd like to know more, you can read a little about his experience on Wikipedia .
I am thankful for this past five and a half months and wouldn't trade them for anything. I learned a lot about myself, people, coffee, and much more, but especially about my faithful Lord. I am extremely thankful for my dear, patient wife who put up with my bizarre schedule with meals and packed lunches, countless evenings and parts of weekend days alone, and fascinating stories about people she doesn't know and will probably never meet. She deserves a medal of valor for her constant sweetness through it all. Now I very much look forward to spending more time again with Becka!
Just so this post isn't just about Starbucks and me, here are a couple of pictures for your amusement. Strangely enough, they all seem to fit with the theme of this blog post, even if they're not at all about Starbucks.
It might be a few weeks until I post again on a regular schedule, but at least now you know why. 🙂
"The gospel is not about fighting. It's about reconciliation." — Drew Conley
I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger.