The first time I left Sbux, about two years ago, I thought it was for good. I basically did it out of necessity, I was exhausted and thoroughly miserable. But after four or five months I was back. And, like my departure, my arrival back into the world of corporate lattes was also out of necessity. I was running out of money! See, while love my day job the pay isn't exactly ideal. I mean, it's okay, but not when you factor in rent, bills, and three student loans that basically take over one of my paychecks a month. Sbux was always about money for me, or at least it was in the past. When I returned to Sbux, not much had changed...I was still kind of miserable. Working 60 hours a week has a way of wearing a person down, but when you don't really care about the place you spend those extra 20+ hours you're bound to be miserable. Sure, there were people I genuinely liked, but I either didn't work with them often or didn't feel as connected to them as I needed to, you know, in order to make it all feel worth it.
But then, sometime in the middle of last year there was a change. Namely, one person left...a person who I constantly worked with and HATED working with and then one of my closest friends at Sbux basically took their place. Sometimes it's just a matter of genuinely liking the people you work with! Sure, I was still tired, but somehow Sbux started feeling less like just work and more like a social environment. Since the shift manager that I spent about 2/3 of my week working with was also my friend, Vanessa, if I was having a bad day she actually cared. If I was tired she understood because she had a full-time and part-time job too! And it wasn't all scrubbing dishes and making drinks...we laughed and gossiped and pretty much had a blast. Basically, the difference this time was that I had made some really good friends! Friends I saw outside of Sbux, friends I bitched with and laughed with.
And I think that's another reason this consulting thing is feeling a little bittersweet! While I've dreamed about the day I would only have one job, when I could finally leave Sbux, now I finally feel some sort of connection to the place and good number of the people there. Plus, I think I've hit my peak when it comes to making drinks! I'll admit it, I rock on bar! After three years there I've totally found my groove/swagger. I kill on bar. It doesn't stress me out at all anymore, I'm fast and precise. It feels good! Sure, a year ago I was making good drinks and I was kind of quick, but lately it's been effortless and somewhat enjoyable. But then again, maybe it's a good thing I leave now, before I get too cocky!
Sorry about that little tangent! Okay, where was I? Oh yeah...see, the first time I left Sbux I promised (to the few friends I had) that I would keep in touch and visit often...but I didn't. Once I stepped outside those doors I think I returned only once during my five month absence. And while I know this time is different, I have more friends, better friends, and I'll have more nights free to visit (since Antoine will be out of town Monday-Thursday)...I'm still a little worried. I'm not the best communicator, I never have been. I live in my head and I'm not the best person when it comes to staying in touch. I get easily distracted by what is in front of me...it's a big character flaw, what can I say.
But, I have to hope that this time things will be different. They have to be! And, over the past week as the news has spread around Sbux that's what people have said to me...this time we MUST keep in touch! One of our regulars, who's so much more than just a regular, Kate called me out on my flakiness the last time I left! She chastised me to not staying in touch and she made it clear that that just wouldn't fly this time! Then, one of the morning ladies, Amy, who I very rarely work with but totally adore told me that she thought of me as her daughter and not staying in touch just wasn't an option. And then there's Vanessa, we're so alike, yet so different...it's really the perfect balance. I know that with her, my last week there is going to be so rough. She's the one I've bonded with most, my closest friend there and I know that I don't want to lose that friendship that we have. I'm not going to let that happen! So, here's to staying in touch, to keeping those friendships and continuing to keep those people in my life who make me smile/laugh!