Once upon a time a male white customer had told me that I was going to miss my barista job.
I remember thinking to myself “ uqalile ke umlungu akafuni umuntu omnyama aphumelele” Ingani I told him I’m studying phela towards a finance profession … I thought he was just being jealous yaaz
It took me days pondering on what he meant and sadly I didn’t have the courage at the time to ask him what he had meant by that
I was studying towards the National Diploma and was doing this job , I was now placed at Rosebank Mall and I honestly was loving what I was doing …..
I got paid R10 rands an hour , I mean that is a whole of cash for a student 👍🏾
But the thought of me being an educated unhappy somebody scared me. So I started finding out if there was anything special about my current job that I would miss
And I needed to understand the difference between my barista job and my destined job and if perhaps there’s a character or personality or gift limiting factors that the new , hoped for job would do to me
This led me to be pay attention to the “work” of a barista. One thing I wasn’t always good at was small talk , but the boys at the shop hated it even more , so we had a deal, that I will manage the till and do the “small talk” with the customers whilst they do coffee ( the boys)
Unbeknown to me I was such a natural at it . I actually stopped asking customers what would they like with their coffee and offered them the many options we had instead
In the mornings I started to sell bagels, muffins , healthy wraps , sandwiches and quiches… mid day I went for short breads and florentines and the afternoon brownies and cheese cakes were my go to stock. I started cleaning the fridges almost daily , I used my inventory theories I was learning at Wits Tech to do first in first out. I noticed that putting our coffee mugs directly into the washer didn’t remove all the stains , so I’d soak each cup before I wash it and our cups looked better.
When customers said our counters smell like babies bums because we used baby oil, I found a way to keep them clean and shiny without compromising the look and feel of the shop
We had positions A=till , B= coffee and C= tables
I found out that I pushed my ques very quickly and then I would go about to interact some more with customers on the other side of the till and spend time on position C …. this is usually a Managers role … but I had the luxury of time and talking advantage 🤷🏿♀️🤷🏿♀️🤷🏿♀️🤷🏿♀️
I paid attention that the people selling and delivering stock were a Joe next door and a stay at home mom who did quality products for the franchise. I understood the direct costs involved in the running of a coffee shop and was able to interpret profit margins – using the textbook knowledge I was getting at Wits Tech
Suddenly our inventory was moving fast and we didn’t have left over stock to take home with no more … our tips box was amazing and none of us ever used our wages for transportation…. the energy in the shop changed . It’s like we were all placed within our strength and we all loved it and we worked well
I was never a permanent member of the team because I could only manage a limited number of shifts. My full time priority was always my academic commitment. But because of this work ethic , I suddenly was given a key to open the shop on the days of my shift ( if you own anything you’d understand how much of a trust issue this is). When my boss had lazy days ( meaning when he didn’t show up an hour before closing ) I knew I can cash up and lock everything up in the safe and his job would be to do cross checks and balances
My shift supervisor suddenly started calling me to offer me more shifts. I worked at Rosebank Mall and never begged for a shift in my entire stay at that shop
So what was I going to miss that I would have taken for granted ……
These are simple things in life for me. So as a result I made sure that I carried these traits with me in all my future positions. I kept people at the center of my job , both my colleagues and customers alike. I used my influence ( even when I wasn’t a manager ) to inspire people for the greater good for ourselves and the organization. I engaged in intentional conversations with my teams and supervisors alike.
These three things were strengthened out of fear of getting bored in my professional career and the fear of missing selling coffee and bagels
This Rosebank experience made me understand that as a people we thrive when we are placed in the right positions that complement our personalities. That’s a gift never to be taken for granted
It also taught me that my work ethic make people want me in their team because I add value ….. I just get things done … finish and klaar
I also benefited from the relationship with the manager at this shop because I recommended many more people who started their jobs there. So sometimes it’s not that people hate you and your friends or family , perhaps they just don’t like your work ethic 🤷🏿♀️🤷🏿♀️🤷🏿♀️in my case my work ethic worked for me
So I literally applied what Shayna taught me and what I observed from Debbie and the fear of not knowing what I was going to miss. I yielded a good return
The gentleman was right …. the stresses of corporate life can have you wondering and asking and praying. And yes there are days when you don’t know whether you going or coming …..
But these three things have kept my feet on a solid ground …. they made me know what’s in it for me …. people are in it for me
In life … you will have everything that you asked for , wished for and prayed for …. the question will remain … then what ???? I think there is a direct correlation to the matters above to purpose
So What’s in it for you ???
Could I stay and be a barista for ever – the answer is absolutely yes !!! And can I stay in my current role forever , it’s a yes again , why ? I get to use my gifts to have conversations that influence people to become the best that they can be . I am finally connecting the dots …. my job must improve lives and must make people feel seen …. and must yield a positive return at the end of it all
Short sweet simple
As long as these three things remain …. ngi grand