August 28, 2014

Partner, or Peon?

I work at Starbucks.

You probably know that I had wanted to work for Starbucks since the age of 15 or 16. I applied many times. I interviewed many times. I got rejected many times. Then one day, I decided to apply one last time. I had a few options in front of me - moving to Colorado, moving to Tennessee, and this job.

The day of my interview, there was a huge snowstorm, and when I called the manager to let her know that I might be a couple minutes late, she told me that it was okay if I wanted to reschedule. I said no. I had determined in my mind that I HAD to make it to this interview. If I decided to skip it because of bad weather, then what would that say about me? That I wasn't going to come to work if the weather was bad? That doesn't make me look like a good employee, right? No. I had to get there. My father drove me, like a mad man, through inches of slush on the 95. I walked in the door the minute that I was supposed to be there. I interviewed, I was myself, and I was offered a job before I walked out.

When I got into the car, and told my dad that I had been offered the job, we both started crying. My parents knew how much this meant to me. They had seen my disappointment, and they knew how much I wanted the job. They supported my unwillingness to just apply willy-nilly for any job because of how committed I was to getting a job at Starbucks. I was set. I was determined that this was it. I wanted to do coffee, and Starbucks was the best way for me to start. I knew it. My parents supported me, and my dream of making coffee for people, to give people a moment of happiness in their day.

That's what I believed Starbucks was. It's what Starbucks says they are. Sometimes, I still believe it. Unfortunately, oftentimes these days...I don't. Even in little things like not brewing decaf coffee first thing in the morning. We have early morning regulars who ALWAYS get half-caf, or decaf coffee, and they don't want to wait for a pour over, because waiting for a pour over stinks. No one should have to wait for a pour over in a place like Starbucks.

My job is always on my mind these days. A lot has been going on this year. I won't go into specifics, some of you know exactly what has been going on, but I won't go into it here. Very long story short, Starbucks has let me down. And I get it. This is The Man. This is Corporate. However, this is a corporation that has made a really big deal about being more than Corporate, or being more than just The Man. And maybe I'm just naive peon who wanted to believe in something better than what is showing to just be simple reality. Isn't that always the way? Even with Communism - it was a great idea at first. People supported it, believed in it til the end. Even when it was ruining lives. They didn't want to admit that this thing...wasn't all that it was made out to be.

That's what Starbucks is to me now. Not all it was cracked up to be. Sure, there's insurance. Sure, there's access to education. Sure, there's free coffee. Okay. But what are we really to Howard Schultz in the end? A machine. Cogs that when they start to squeak, get a little grease, but even when that little bit of grease doesn't fix the problem, and the cogs keep jamming...the mechanic begins to dig a little bit..okay. But he certainly likes to take his time. The cogs keep jamming. For months. And yet, just little drops of oil, little tweaks are made, instead of just taking apart the machine and finding out how to really fix whatever might be wrong.

This company really does just care about money. I love my coworkers. My partners. And unfortunately, the job keeps you stuck because honestly - insurance is a pain to deal with these days. It's nice to not have to worry about it.

I don't like being a cog. I wish that I was really a partner. They say that I am, but I'm not really. I'm a peon, and I'm having trouble accepting that. But I don't know what else to do. I've done everything. I've taken every flashlight and shone it into every crevice to try to get the mechanic to take me seriously.

They say they do. I just am really struggling to believe it. But I keep going to work. I keep coming back from my lunch breaks. I haven't walked out yet. Clearly, there's a microscopic bit of me that believes Them. Or is hoping that I do. Telling myself to try and think about trying to believe them.

I either need a husband with a solid income, or Jesus needs to come back, because being unemployed is not awesome.

I wish that I could somehow be convinced that I'm not a peon. I desperately want to be a partner instead. I wish that I knew what to expect when I go to work..well, I do. But I mean from myself. Sometimes it's a good day. And then the next day will be rock bottom. I'm getting motion sickness from this roller coaster.

I wasn't really ever expecting to write about this, while still working for the company. I figured that eventually I'd quit, and then blog it all out. But none of this is angry. It's mostly just sad. Sort of hopeless. Disillusioned. I guess that's the best word. Disillusioned.

Alas, it's all I can think about. But I've talked to so many people in Corporate about it, and ugly cried to them, on the phone or in person, and I've talked to my coworkers about it all so...I guess it's not much of a secret.

My heart is genuinely broken. That sounds silly, to most of you, probably. You think, "It's just a job. It's just Starbucks." Well, yes. But getting this job was a literal dream come true for me. I am heartbroken.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry. Unfortunately you will find this with every job in corporate America. It wasn't mean't to be your "life". I find that part comforting.
    That you are a true Christian...this job wasn't meant to be anything other than getting a paycheck and making someone's day a little brighter for the service you give and I'll bet you give great service. That is hard to come by in this day. I salute you for that. Just hang on to Jesus...He will make sense of it all in due time.