25 October 2012

Today I work closing shift. Actually it was 2:00 to 10:00 pm but I decided to stay back and help the guys clean up. Today was extra tiring because I had this terrible backache, probably from all that weightlifting I did at home. It's time like this that I wish I was working 9 to 5 in an air-conditioned office *cough-cough*.

Second day, I learned a few more things today. Like I said we get 2 free drinks per day and 1 free meal. The rule clearly states that we must consume the food during our break and cannot pack it to go. So, sorry guys, I cannot bring home any food or drinks from work. Furthermore, I can give you any discounts let alone free stuff during work. It's clearly against store policy and I will get in serious trouble if I do. Perhaps someday when I take over from Vincent Tan as the boss of Berjaya Starbucks Coffee Company then all drinks on me. Until then you'll have to buy that mocha frappuccino yourself.

24 October 2012

Content Warning

The blog that you are about to view may contain content not suitable for readers with a faint and sensitive heart. Proceed at your own risk.

Looks like I ruffled a few feathers with my last blog post. I just like to reiterate here that I don't blame anyone for everything that has happened to me for the last few months. I made all the decisions that took me to where I am today and the fact is some of my decisions has had a negative and positive effect on me. Blaming anyone else for some of the bad things that occurred to me is like blaming MPSJ for giving me a parking ticket or getting mad at the bank for asking me to pay my bills. I should have known and planned better.

At the end of the day, it's all up to me. My decisions, my choice, my life. This blog is a journal of my life's journey. What I experience at that particular point in time and what I was thinking around that time. It is mostly personal so like it or not, it may involve my family, my colleagues and some of my closest friends. It is inevitable that I might hurt someone's feelings sometimes. If you think I'm wrong and what I said hurt you in anyway, I am sorry. Perhaps I should make this blog private and keep everything to myself and only make it public again when I die. Would you like that? Perhaps I should stop blogging altogether and revert to my old school journal ways like before.

Anyway, back to the present day. Today marks a new milestone in my life. The day I begin work as a Starbucks barista (cue fireworks & confetti . It is not the most glamorous or high paying job in the world but it will pay some of my bills and for once, I am not the loser in this family anymore.

I've had some experience in the fast food and customer service sector before. For four years, I was a part timer at McDonald's. I was also a cashier for another 2 years at IKEA Damansara. So working at Starbucks is not something entirely alien to me. I got the middle shift today. My store is not open until later next month so for the time being I'm stationed at one of the already opened stores in Seri Kembangan. The store manager there was kind enough to slot me in to her schedule and let me train at her store.

The first hour I did pretty much nothing. The manager was too busy doing her work that she didn't have the time to deal with me. I guess this is part of the module where you learn to be very patient. I think I handled that well.

Thankfully after an hour she finally got time to start training me. Today was most theory. I was kind of overwhelmed to learn that there are so many different type of coffee and drinks available at Starbucks. There's a few dozen standards one and many-many more customized coffee and drinks served at the store. But of course she said I don't have to know or memorize all of them at once. Slow and steady is the way to go. Besides, if a 17 year old can be a master in this why can't I? Yeah we have 'partners' as they call the crew/workers here from 17 to late 30s.

Today also I had my first taste of coffee frapuccino. Yes, that 14 ringgit drink that could feed me for a day with regular meal. As full time partners we get two free drinks per day and one free meal. I get to choose just about any drinks on the menu and one food item that costs less than RM7.90. That would go perfectly with my diet plan. Free drinks and fresh healthy, non-rice food. That said I have to go easy on the cold blended stuff because they're like one way ticket to obesity and diabetes. The amount of calories and sugar in them is unbelievable.

Starbucks is much different than McDonald's. We don't have any of those greasy burgers or fries, most of the food served here are like pastries, sandwiches, cakes and salads. While the food is limited in numbers, the amount of drinks and their variety is almost as many as all the menus at McDonald's. One thing I could say is working and serving the food at Starbucks is twice as difficult than regular fast food restaurants.

I think I had a good first day. The staffs and manager there were very friendly and helpful and were more than willing to teach me stuff around the store. Unlike my previous job at McDonald's which I spent most of my time lepaking in the kitchen, I had to stand and move around for like 7 hours straight which is okay by me since I do go jogging for about 1.5 kilometers every morning. So at least that has helped me in my new line of work.

Do I regret not accepting my previous employer's job offer? Absolutely no. Personally I think going back there is a step backward for me. Furthermore Starbucks has this policy of hiring internal staffs first for most of the support and administrative positions at the HQ. They will always circulate vacancies within the stores and hire inside people first before considering outsiders. And once I got my diploma next year, I think I'll have a good chance of getting into administrative work at HQ, hopefully. For now, let me concentrate on my job as a Starbucks barista.

This is like working at McDonald's 10 years all over again minus the hot grill and greasy fryers. This time it felt more like Ben and Fecility at Dean & Deluca sans the complicated love triangle. Let's hope I made the right choice and decision here. Here's to a start of something great.

23 October 2012

When I don't blog for an extended period of time it would either mean I don't have anything exciting or noteworthy to write here or I have an impending exam coming up that I would feel guilty of spending my time blogging instead of studying. Recently however, I sat for my final exams and yet I still don't feel like blogging. Why? Because I feel that I should be looking for a job instead of spending my time writing here.

You see, after I left my last job, I've been doing this freelance IT support stuff and working part time for my friend's company. My friend has this part time company where he sells IT stuff and does IT support in which case, I did most of the delivery and support stuff. He always said that someday he would quit his day job and do this thing full time with me and his partners. That was like earlier this year. 10 months later, that still doesn't happen. I guess he really loves his current job. And since he's so busy with his day job, he simply has no time to look for sales or do marketing for his part time job. Which mean I don't have much work to do and ultimately I only earn around a few hundred bucks each month which is definitely not enough to support my family. Of course I can't really blame or be mad at my friend here. It's his life and his choice. I can't really make him do something he doesn't really want to do. Maybe someday he would actually quit his job and run his very own company. Whatever it is, I can't wait for that to happen. Not anymore.

Which leaves me in a kind of limbo. I'd love to work with my long time friends and run that company with him. So I stalled on looking for a real job. Until I came to the realisation that this dream of mine, working with my friend, might never realize. So I started to look for a real, proper job. I emailed my not so impressive resume and registered on Jobstreet.com. After like a hundered applications online I got only one call for interview. Either I'm underqualified or the salary that I expected was too much or both.

So I thought maybe I should look for other working opportunities you know like fast food or cafes. For one thing there's always a vacancy there and they usually don't require you to have a diploma or degree in any kind. By this time, I just don't have much option or time left. Especially since the banks started calling and texting me like, everyday. You know how it feels like for the bank to call you every other day? Not cool.

I looked around for vacancies at shopping malls and stuff. For one thing, I don't want to be working at McDonald's again. Today just about anybody can work at McDonald's including Bangladeshis, Nepalese and Burmese people. It's not that I look down on them. It's just that I'm sure they won't pay you much. I thought if I wanna work in a low-paying, minimum wage kind of job, I might as well work for the best one out there. So after much research I only found one store that fits that requirement. Starbucks.

Did you know that Starbucks is the only company in Malaysia that was listed in Fortune's magazine top 100 best place to work in? Yeah they were listed at number 76. I know they still don't pay as much as my last 2 jobs but in my situation right now, I can't really be choosy.

I applied to work at two Starbucks store and today I got a call for an interview from one of the store. So I went there and sat for the interview with the manager who talks exclusively in English and after like 20 minutes, I got the job. She said I pass all the requirements to work there and offered me the job on the spot. Basically you need to have minimum SPM and talk a respectable English. I was expecting something like a shift supervisor you know for my age but since they only have a vacany for a barista so barista it is. Tomorrow will be my first day at work as a Starbucks barista.

5 months ago I was a director of a company with a nice paycheck at the end of the month. Today I am a lowly barista at Starbucks. How quick things change. How the mighty has fallen. To be honest, I'm not really ashamed working in a fast food place or in the F&B industry in general. Maybe God has other plans for me. Maybe I could build my career here. My motto in life has always been do the best in everything I do. Whether it's a McDonald's restaurant crew or a cashier at IKEA, a computer technician or a barista at Starbucks. Work hard and do you work sincerely and diligently. The rewards will come sooner or later.