I’ve been working at a little Starbucks inside of a grocery store for almost a year. While this job doesn’t take me further than the other side of my hometown, it has expanded my world view and shifted my perspective in ways I wasn’t expecting.
This job sort of fell into my lap after I applied at Market Street, a grocery store on the edge of my hometown. I applied for a different position during finals week because I was in need of a summer job and they called me back and offered me an interview for a position as a Starbucks barista.
I said an enthusiastic yes, which is ironic considering the thought of being a barista had always stressed me out. But something about this job felt right. I always found myself more excited than nervous — even in the beginning when everything was new.
I consider this job a blessing and answered prayer. At the very end of my semester last year, I prayed God would provide me with a summer job, and it came with my very first interview. Since starting, I have loved working at Starbucks. Although the 5:00 am shifts get old after a while, there has never been a moment I wanted to quit nor have I ever been absolutely miserable.
I’m grateful for this job for many, many reasons. Here are three that have been on my mind recently:
This job has given me countless opportunities to practice the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Living out my faith has always been challenging. I often feel like I’m not doing enough, whether this be evangelizing, tuning into the Holy Spirit, praying, serving the less fortunate, and so on. Although I read scripture and connect with God in the mornings, I’ve always felt burdened by this feeling that I’m not producing enough — if any — fruit (Matthew 13:18-23).
My freshman year at APU shifted my perspective. I was in a discipleship group with a few other girls my first semester on campus, and I shared with my leaders what I just shared with you in the above paragraph. One of them whipped out her bible and read to me Galatians 5:22-23. We then proceeded to go around in a circle and tell each other which fruits of the spirit we saw in each group member.
That experience was not only encouraging, but it also taught me that just because I don’t always see the fruit doesn’t mean it’s not being produced. I’ve carried this lesson with me and have done my best to act with these qualities in mind — especially at work.
Sometimes it’s easy; anyone can get along with friendly customers and responsible co-workers. It’s when a customer raises their voice, looks irritated, or is just plain rude that my chirpy customer service voice starts to falter and my eyes threaten to roll. Other times, when a co-worker doesn’t clean up their workspace or makes a drink wrong, my patience wears thin and my words become sharp.
Work has given me countless opportunities to work on my patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control when it comes to my interactions with others. I try to bless the strangers I come into contact with and bless my co-workers by encouraging them them over condemning them.
This job has widened my view and broadened my perspective of the world and its people.
I’ve encountered people from very different walks of life at this job. While some of my co-workers lead similar lives — college students working part time for some extra money — most of them work at Starbucks/Market Street full-time or have a second job.
At the risk of sounding naive, privileged, and out-of-touch with the world, I never really realized that many adults work at coffee shops, restaurants, bars, and grocery stores full-time. (By this, I mean it never really crossed my mind.) I know it sounds ridiculous of me to say that, but it truly wasn’t something I had ever thought about or dwelled on before my job at Starbucks.
I grew up in Coppell, Texas — a wealthier suburb north of Dallas — and attended a church for my middle and high school years full of people with more money than my family. Essentially, I lived in a bubble. The expectation was college and then a professional career to follow. Anything other than that was viewed negatively.
Now I work at a grocery store and many of the people I meet are quite different from the members of my former church and myself. Many don’t go to church; they no longer go to college or never went; their jobs are their livelihood, not simply a means to earn extra money; they (and myself) don’t work from 9am-5pm, but from 5am-1pm, 1pm-9pm, or 10pm-6am.
Again, I know it may sound silly that I am so intrigued by the different lives of the various workers at Market Street, but working there for a year truly has expanded my view of the world and I find myself reflecting on the different walks of life I’m surrounded with on a weekly basis.
This job has taught me that I’m not entitled to anything.
In Texas, the minimum wage is $7.25. Thankfully, I make more than this, but I remember telling friends in California and other states how much I make and they could hardly believe it. This, of course, made me little jealous of the higher wages in other states.
On top of that, I don’t work at a corporate Starbucks location (a stand-alone store) and technically work for Market Street instead. Because of this, the only benefit I receive from my job is a 10% discount on drinks and grocery items (if they are the Market Street brand).
When I tell others about my minimal benefits and somewhat low pay, they often gasp in horror and tell me I should transfer to a different store. Their reactions often make me feel as though I’m settling and leave me feeling like I deserve higher pay and free drinks.
Maybe I do, maybe I don’t. Either way, I’ve come to discover that by dwelling on what I think I deserve only leaves me more discontented. But when I choose a more positive mindset and focus on all the things I love about my job, these feelings of entitlement vanish.
While I could dwell on my hourly pay rate or lack of free drinks (which I never crave anyway), I choose gratitude instead. Gratitude for my co-workers, the environment of working in a grocery store versus a stand-alone store, my level of comfort now that I’ve been there a year, the regulars I get to interact with each time I work, even tips!
As I continue on in this job through the summer, I look forward to my continued search for God in life’s mundane, everyday moments. I encourage you to do the same.
Grace and peace,