Tuesday, December 14, 2010

If You Ask, I Shall Answer.

What should I get to drink at Starbucks?
If you like coffee: espresso con panna (espresso over whipped cream: awesomely sweet and caramelly deliciousness), solo affogato vanilla bean frappuccino (a shot is poured over the top), macchiato (apparently I just like my espresso on top), caramel brulee latte.
If you don't like coffee: raspberry hot chocolate, salted caramel hot chocolate, caramel white mocha, eggnog chai, soy green tea latte, passion iced tea.

Don't you have a college degree? And you're working at Starbucks? *snicker*
I sure do! And working at Starbucks won't take that away from me. I'll still have a college degree tomorrow or in 10 years. And even if I never work another job that requires a college degree, I'll have the experiences, education, and perspective afforded to me by my college education. I'm pretty lucky, eh?

You left a salaried job with paid vacation and benefits to work at minimum wage?
Why, yes. Yes, I did. Sometimes quality of life is a benefit, you know? I no longer have to spend hours of my day in the car and I get to see my son a ton. Worth it for me right now. (Not that I haven't had occasional moments where I doubt my sanity – such as this upcoming Christmas break for schools. Then I remind myself that I only work 2-3 days a week. Every week.)

Hey, you're a barista! Make me coffee! 
You're very funny. 

So, how is it? What's it like?
Fast-paced. Fun. Stressful. Relaxed. Crazy. Caffeinated. Hilarious. Great customers. Crazy customers. Humbling.

Is working at Starbucks what you thought it'd be like?
Mostly? Yes.

How can you work for an evil corporation?
Well, they give me lots of free coffee. That makes it easier. (If you want to give me perks like free lattes and make part-time employees eligible for health insurance, I will come work for you.)

Aren't you afraid of derailing your career?
What career? In all honesty, I've had a pretty patchy career history – and although I absolutely adored my last job at the high school, I'd also be content creating a new career out of design, my Etsy shop, and photography. I still have to figure out how absolutely crazy or not that is, but I'm fairly confident that if I wanted to go back and work at a school again, I could. My school was actually filled with women who took years off to raise their families before returning to work.  I might only be out of the 'real job' world for a year. Who knows? And my child is way more important than my career right now. If this means it's harder to find a 'real job' later, so be it. I've never really defined myself by my career. This is an ever-unfolding story, and I'm not quite sure of where it will lead next.

Why you have to hide the fact that you're pumping during your lunch break?
Sure, I might overshare on the internet, but that doesn't mean I'm ready to share everything with people I've only just met. I don't have to hide the fact that I'm going to my car and pumping during my break, but I can't really imagine the context to share that without it becoming awkward later. “Hey, I'm about to go expose my breasts in my car and pump milk out of them so they don't explode. Just try not to imagine me doing it. Mmmkay?” 

I get regular breaks where I can pump if I need to, so I don't need to ask for the time to pump. Also, I work with a lot of younger people, and only one other mom, so I imagine it might be a bit uncomfortable telling them. I don't need to feel any more self-conscious about what I'm doing by having a 19-year-old guy I work with freaked out by my needing to pump.

How do you go 6 hours without pumping?
If I work six or less hours, I only get 10-minute breaks instead of a 30-minute one. And while I have pumped during a 10-minute break, it's not really ideal. (And by that, I mean nearly impossible).  I decided to try not have to pump at work during those shorter shifts. I have a super-fast letdown and flow, so I can get a lot of milk before I leave in the morning, then I feed Gabe as soon as I come home. Since I nurse most of the time, I don't really notice a difference in my supply. Gabe seems happy and full, so I am happy. And now I've talked too much about this and bored you. Great.

If your work has more than 50 employees, your employer must provide you a private place to pump.
Yes, but I'm not sure how my store would change to provide a clean, non-bathroom place to pump. It's basically a back room with all our supplies and the cafe. I choose not to tell my boss that I'm pumping because, like I said, I don't really need anyone else to know. I get breaks and I have a car. It's not ideal (it can be cold and I risk the possibility of someone parking next to me), but it's probably something that Starbucks' HR department needs to figure out on a company level, and I'm just too lazy to deal with that. Any advice?

Can you please stop talking about your boobs?
Yes. Yes, I can.
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