I may or may not be a workaholic.
Or maybe I’m passionate about what I do. (it is in fact all about how you frame things).
I think about coffee and management even when I’m not on the clock at the chain coffee shop I work at.
In fact I was just sitting at a different store in the same chain with a friend who works at yet another store, talking about how to make our respective stores better (confused yet?)
But the fact of the matter is, I love what I do.
Even the cranky customers.
Maybe especially the cranky customers.
I truly believe I make a difference in lives, one latte at a time.
I know coffee has made a difference in my life.
In the beginnings. . .
Once upon a time, a long long time ago, in a galaxy about an hour north of where I live now, there was a younger version of me who was insanely depressed. This me was in therapy, and saw a psychiatrist about an hour away from home.
There was a small coffee shop in this town, a little local number with dark wood in the historic part of town. I never wanted to go to therapy. I never wanted to go see the psychiatrist. But I always made the bargain with myself; if I managed to go to therapy, or see the psychiatrist, I would be able to get a raspberry mocha at this small time coffee shop (don’t judge me for my immature coffee drink, I was but 20 years old. My palate wasn’t refined yet).
9 times out of 10 the only reason I went to my appointments was to get a raspberry mocha.
Raspberry Mocha’s got me out of bed. Raspberry Mocha’s made me interact with people. Raspberry Mocha’s got me to the appointments which taught me how to manage this illness.
And when cancer happened. . .
My younger sister passed away almost two years ago. Cancer is a Bitch with a capital B. She went on hospice care and required around the clock care, which my family provided. My store worked with me and allowed me to work two days a week for almost a month so I could spend more time at home helping my parents care for my sister and sepnding time with her during her last days.
When she was in the hospital before going on hospice care, when she napped in the afternoon we would walk up the street from the hospital to the local store of my coffee company and get drinks, which was the highlight of our long day sitting at the hospital watching my sister fail.
Fancy coffee was the one bright spot in our day. A friendly cashier and a frou-frou drink could make a shitty day better.
This is what I do.
The ways coffee culture, and this company specifically has changed my life is not limited to customer experience.
Before working for this company I didn’t believe in myself. I thought I was lazy and a slacker.
Spoiler Alert: I’m not.
I work hard and I love what I do. This job is fast paced and it energizes me.
I am capable of waking up at 4:15 in the morning to be at work at 5. (this coming from someone who once slept for a week straight in the depths of depression)
I have touched lives and my life has been touched from both sides of the counter.
Yes I “just” serve coffee.
But I don’t know what might be going on in my customer's lives.
Maybe it is the one bright spot. The one thing they have to look forward to.
I serve coffee.
I serve hope.
What do you do?