I Tried To Quit
I worked at Starbucks for six years. It should’ve been only two weeks.
After my first couple of morning shifts, I put in my two-week notice. But my manager didn’t hire a replacement, and I decided to stay because I wasn’t working much, and hey, at least I had a job.
In hindsight, I’m glad I continued to work at Starbucks because I wouldn’t be the person I am without that job.
Here are the 5 lessons I learned while selling drugs to coffee vampires:
. . .
I wasn’t the most skilled barista, but my coworkers and customers believed I was.
I wasn’t the best manager, but my coworkers believed I was.
Charisma trumps skill every time. The more likable you are, the more people will support you.
I wasn’t always charismatic. In fact, I was the opposite until I worked at Starbuck.
I was always the shy, introverted kid in school. I avoided social interaction like elderly folks avoid COVID.
I knew I needed to make a change when one of the worst baristas I worked with was the most popular amongst my colleagues and customers.
I talked to every customer. Every. Single. One.
It didn’t matter if they looked happy, sad, angry, hurried, or how many drinks I had to make; I asked questions, made comments, and pushed all interactions to the brink.
But the most important connections I made were with my coworkers. If I didn’t have their support, my success as a barista and manager would’ve been slim.
I always tried to bring positive energy, and I was always joking, teasing, and genuinely asking questions to get to know them better.
I was able to get the most timid, closed-off coworkers to open up and feel comfortable.
Before I knew it, I was deemed the most charismatic, best barista, customers would ask where I was on the days I didn’t work, and I got promoted to be a manager after only being a supervisor for a couple of months.
Out of all the lessons, learning how to connect with anyone is the most important for it improves your professional and personal life.
. . .
Five in the morning is when the war begins at Starbucks.
A line of enemies (customers) in the store and drive-thru, and mobile orders firing food and drinks like a machine gun.
Some of my best soldiers (coworkers) would often call out of duty and not show up for battle. And the soldiers fighting by my side were subpar at best.
Enemies yelling and complaining and demanding your attention while you’re trying to help your allies from drowning in a sea of drinks behind the counter.
I could keep going, but I think you get the point. It took every ounce of self-control I could summon not to lash out at customers or coworkers, and honestly, cry during shift.
Not much could rattle me currently. Getting fired, COVID, leaving the girl I liked more than the others; you name it. Nothing compares to the battles I’ve already conquered externally and internally while working at Starbucks.
PTSD is a real issue, though. I’m triggered every time I walk into a Starbucks.
. . .
Wake up at three-thirty in the morning. Check.
Leave work at one in the afternoon. Check.
Go straight to school and try not to fall asleep during class. Check.
Drag myself to the gym while looking like a zombie and daydreaming about my bed. Check.
Go home, do homework, and study. Check.
Repeat four days a week. Check.
Looking back, I don’t know how my head didn’t sprout grey hairs at twenty-two years old or how I didn’t end up in the hospital from exhaustion.
But I had goals. None of them felt less significant compared to the other. I had to work the early shift to take extra classes to graduate on time. And staying in shape was as much a priority as sleep, money, food, water, and oxygen.
We all have dreams and aspirations. But what separates success from failure is the discipline to execute.
. . .
Breaking out of my shell and becoming more extroverted, winning wars, and accomplishing my goals made me feel invincible.
If it weren’t for Starbucks, I probably wouldn’t have the self-belief to become a full-time writer. I sure as hell wouldn’t have had the courage to start an email list or blog, for I’m the least tech-savvy person I know. I created my Instagram last year and just started playing video games last week.
Take challenges. Do something, minor or major, that scares you.
Most importantly, pat yourself on the back. Effort with blind praise equals zero growth.
. . .
This is the last lesson because, without the others, I wouldn’t have become a good leader.
And leadership is valuable because dream chasers need support.
People listen, follow, and support people they like (charisma), that lead by example (self-control and discipline), and respect (confidence).
. . .
Reflect & Extract
Win or lose, success or fail, love or heartbreak, growth can occur if we’re willing to be honest with ourselves, reflect, and extract the lessons we learned.
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Dream Chasers is my email list for those who want to be inspired by words (and prevent Starbucks from stealing their money).
This post was previously published on Change Becomes You.
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