Saturday, September 10, 2005


Well, I have not updated in quite awhile. I have been exhausted by my new temporary career as a barista , and as I stated previously, my internet access has been sketchy.

I guess it might be best to start with today and work my way backwards. I was very lucky this morning. I woke up and was not going to look at my clock but considered just rolling over and going back to sleep, but I am a glutton for punishment so I glanced over to see how much longer I had to sleep. The red glow of the alarm clock said 6:16. I set the alarm for 6:00, what the .... Ohhh yea, you can't just set the time you want it to go off, you actually have to flick the little plastic thing and turn. it. on. I'm a rocket scientist. Luckily I woke up.

Anyway, I worked today, although it was only four hours. Four hours on your feet can kill you, so I still had to come home and take a short nap. This has been my M.O. since I started. Some days I work nine hours, those days are killer, especially since that means I am opening and have to leave my house no later than 6am. I was supposed to be off the next two days, but a desperate plea from my boss today over the phone caused me to relent and agree to work Monday. Someone up and quit with no notice and now she is stuck. She is also on vacation at the moment because she is visiting with her daughter and family who are moving to Japan next week and she wants to get in as much time with them as possible. My initial instinct was to say not a chance in hell when I saw the note on the bulletin board asking me to cover a shift. My sneaker issue is under control [more on that later] but I don’t relish going all the way to work [45 minutes] on a day I had planned to spend glued to TNT’s “Primetime in the Daytime”. However, when my boss called while I was at work and gave me the I just don’t know what I am going to do routine I caved. She’s been really nice to me and I’d rather not put her in a bind. I also know how her family moving to the other side of the planet has her in a tizzy. I remember when my brother went to Japan [for only one year] and how much I missed him. Granted, sometimes these days I wish I could ship him back there, but that is another issue entirely.

So anyway, I am finally adjusting to the retail thing again. After spending months studying for the bar exam, sitting on my a$$ I was not prepared for being on my feet for hours at a time. Compounding the situation were my shoes. I was wearing black sneakers I bought for a previous retail job and they were cheap at the time and that was circa 1995, therefore my feet were killing me. I borrowed money from “Bank O’ Dad” and got some decent black sneakers, so that situation has improved, although I still come home and rub my feet and wish I could somehow speed up time to mid-November when the bar results come out and [hopefully] my time in this retail purgatory ends. I understand that someone has the work in retail, I just wish it wasn’t me. I spent considerable time, energy and MONEY to avoid this exact fate, so yes there will be kvetching and whining. I know it’s only temporary, I know it could certainly be worse and everything will be fine, I just need to complain about it. It makes me feel better. :)

I also find I complain when I get my paycheck. I feel like I am killing myself and then I get my paycheck which amounts to less than I used to make in a single day! Am I spoiled? Probably, but I’m just also anxious to get on with my chosen career, for monetary reasons, but for quite a few others as well.

In general I like the people I work with, and the customers I wait on. It’s not a bad gig at all. I get tips a lot, which is nice. We don’t have a tip jar so I really need to give 110% in order to get someone to notice. It’s not the one or two dollars I want as much as acknowledgement that people appreciate the fact that I give everyone a smile coupled with quick and efficient service. I decided when I started that I could not let my dissatisfaction with my current situation rule my customer service. It’s not their fault I am where I am, so I channeled all the pain from my feet into positive energy towards the customers. It makes the shifts seem a tad shorter, and so far it helps. [Randomly: I found this barista action figure online. I SO want one!]

Speaking of tips, I gave the guy at the gas station a $2 tip yesterday. It wasn't much, but I wanted to give him something. For those that may not know, we are not allowed to pump our own gas in NJ. You have to wait for an attendant. It was hot yesterday and the guy was all flushed. He was busting his butt because the lines were insane because that particular station was fifteen cents less per gallon than anywhere else in the area and everyone was taking full advantage. I have always enjoyed overtipping at restaurants, but given my recent experience I now realize how nice it feels to get a tip from someone when you are in a postion of not expecting said tip. He was really grateful, he told me I was an "awesome lady". That alone was worth more than $2! I'll take compliments where I can get them.

So now that you are all updated about my life as a barista I might be changing jobs. I had an interview at a certain cellular phone company. It’s still retail and heavy on the nights and weekends, but it has several advantages. It’s a higher pay rate, more hours, I can wear regular clothes and it is a scant few miles from home! I chose to serve over-priced coffee 45 minutes from my house, the reasons seemed valid at the time, and I really enjoy the particular location I am in [as opposed to a similar position closer to home where I don’t care for the store, even as a customer] but with the price of gas it has become silly. Another advantage is that if I get the job [which it looks like I will as soon as I pass the drug test – no problem there] when I am not actively waiting on customers I get to SIT! It seems silly, maybe even lazy but really I truly loathe having to stand for hours on a hard tile floor even when there is nothing else to do and my feet are throbbing and threatening to call the union and start picketing. I will miss the awesome employee discount I get from serving coffee though. [Not on the coffee mind you, on the other merchandise.]

As a sidenote, I am helping out a friend at a title insurance convention later this month. I get to schmooze for two days and discuss title insurance and real estate transactions. If nothing else it will be a fun change of pace. Who knows, maybe it will lead to yet another job as I continue my journey to eventual bar passage.

As I said, I do enjoy the people I work with and the customers I wait on – for the most part. However, I noticed a trend right away. Certain people see me, guesstimate my age, see where I work and immediately pass judgment in their minds. I tend to work days so it’s not like they could assume I am a student during the day or working a second job for extra cash. Therefore, serving coffee in the middle of the day and too old to be a teenager or college student, people assume I am an idiot. I don’t make a habit of telling people at work that I went to law school. I think that mainly no one would care, they want their coffee etc. not my curriculum vitae. However, on the rare occasion when I get treated as slightly more intelligent than a sea sponge I make a point of bringing it up in conversation. I have even had some people who thought I was lying! No way! Why would you be HERE if you went to law school?! Even the assistant manager of the store, who apparently had not seen my resume when I was first hired expressed shock at finding me reading a book on elderlaw during my break one day.

Asst. Mgr: Why are you reading THAT? It’s so boring. I can’t think of anyone who would find that interesting, except maybe a lawyer.

Me: [with a smile] Exactly.

A.M.: Oh, you want to go to law school?

Me: No, I already went.

A.M. Really?! What the hell are you doing here?!

Yea thanks, I feel SO much better about my situation now. That was almost as fun as when 17 year-old coworker exclaimed "WOW, I thought you were like 20, I didn't know you were that old!" when I told him my age. Great. Wonderful. The humiliation is complete now. Stick a fork in me, I am DONE!

Anyway, that’s it for the update front. Everything is pretty status quo for me. I cringe to think of my income tax return next year after working for umpteen employers in 2005.

On to the randomness:

First off I was listening to this song, [I'll add the link to the song as soon as I figure out HOW] by none other than “The Count” from Sesame Street. [No, I was not jamming out to Children's Television Workshop songs, my niece was in the car!] and suddenly we come to a part in the song right at one minute where Count is really getting into it and he goes “counting … counting, hey yeee yeee yeee yee, HEY yeee yeee yeee” and I was left wondering since when is the count Jewish?! It was as if he suddenly morphed into a principle from Fiddler on the Roof and I am thinking Does the Count have a side job as a cantor now?? If he needs a side job, I know where he can go to serve overpriced coffee. I must be getting old because I don’t remember that part of the song, but hey my niece loved it so all is good!

Speaking of my niece, I love little kids. I love when I can get them sugared up and give them back to their parents. ;) Seriously, last night we were out to dinner and I had a piece of key lime pie in front of me. She looked at my plate and said, Aunt T, you having green for dinner? I love that little cherub sometimes, no ALL the time, but you know what I mean. Shortly before this she returned from a bathroom trip with my mom and proudly announced to everyone within earshot, I did poopy in the restaurant!! Lovely. Little cherub I tell ya.

I saw a caravan of special trucks from this company getting onto 95 this morning. I’d like to think they were heading to NOLA.

I have discovered those Suduko number puzzles . Love them!!

And finally, a huge shout out and THANK YOU to the early morning school bus driver that realized there were 30 something cars behind him/her on a two lane semi-rural road on my way to work and PULLED OVER in between stops to let us pass. That was much appreciated.

In my CD player right now:
Chumbawumba – Tubthumper


At 3:16 PM, September 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi are you seriously working at STARBUCKS and you are a recent law school graduate?? I find this hard to believe!!! Please tell me you are living in an extremely rural area where jobs are scarce, otherwise I really hope you find something law-related to keep you afloat and competitive in the new Esq. job market!

At 6:32 PM, September 11, 2005, Blogger TSC Girl said...

Nope, I am quite serious. I am not in a major city, but I am in NJ which is not exactly "rural". I am a bar exam re-taker. I worked in a law firm for awhile in a temp position, but it ended. Most law firms near me are solos or very small and only want someone who is admitted. I tried applying for legal sec'y or paralegal postions but over and over heard I was "overqualified" or that they did not want someone short term. Therefore I am serving coffee.

I am not overly concerned about finding a job once I am admitted. I have quite a few contacts from summer positions and previous temp jobs who assure me that they will help in any way they can once I have a license to practice.


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