Saturday, May 7, 2016

Wanted: Band Members for Starbucks

The twins are looking for jobs and over the last couple of weeks Alex and Katie have done some initial job hunting, and both have decided their current life goal is to work at Starbucks.

The First Starbucks
2014 in Seattle
Why Starbucks? They're young. You can be anything you want to be, right? So why not look to be an engineer, write a novel, CEO of a major corporation, or any number of esteemed opportunities in life? Ok, so it's not the final life goal, but it's a great stepping stone and they want it for a few very good reasons.

First, they love coffee. They love the way coffee smells, the warmth of coffee, the many lives coffee can take, and the funny memes coffee inspires on Tumblre and Facebook. They get this from me. I may have failed in some parenting areas, but I like to think I got this one right.

Second, they love Starbucks. It was one of the pioneers to realize the art that is in coffee. Yes, we've traveled to some mighty amazing coffee places throughout the USA in our years on the road, but you have to give credit to a company that takes a great idea, makes a good business model, and convinces an entire nation that $5 is a reasonable price to pay for a cup of coffee. It's brilliant. You may think it's ridiculous to pay so much for coffee, and you may be right, but you can't knock the marketing magnificence that convinced so many others to cough up the money for a pile of milky, syrupy, artificial flavory cup of heaven. 
Nov. 2012 We still mourn the sad death
of this perfect coffee cup, purchased
at Disney World.

Finally, they want to work at Starbucks because they have a college option for good employees. Again. Brilliant. You get brainy employees that are goal minded. After having taken a year of online college and completely acing every subject, (that was an I-didn't-completely-fail-at-homeschooling plug, if you missed it), Alex has decided she likes this thing called college and finally decided on a likely educational direction in pursing a degree in communications, now that she is no longer an on-stage band diva. In watching this transformation, Katie has also decided school may be for her as well and she wants to pursue something in programming. Since neither have an interest in romance and are still determined to simply be crazy old cat ladies, they figure they have plenty of time, so they will take this year off to earn some money and get established in our new location, then look at beginning school in 2017. 

The problem is convincing Starbucks to hire them. Baristas are sought after positions around here and they turn down far more applicants than they hire. 

I've been helping them find ways to word their "past work experience" in a way that makes it look good, since I'll be doing the same, but I'm beginning to realize that it may be difficult to get a potential employer to look past the word "band" when they have 20 other applications on the desk, some of which can say "McDonalds", which looks so much more service related. 

Be honest. If you see the word "band" as the only other thing a young adult their age has ever done, do you sort of think of Wayne's World? A couple of young adults, living in their parents' basement, jamming to some obnoxious tunes. 

The reality is perhaps a bit different so I warned them that they may have to get some other job first and see if they can learn to serve people a sandwich and a drink, 'cause that's where you get the real important skills. Then after 6-8 months of this they can go bug Starbucks again and see if they will hire from that experience. 

Part of me sympathizes with the Waynes World mentality, especially when the only past employer the manager can call is the applicant's mommy. However, if they did call me, here is what I could then tell them.

Hire them. Do it. They know how to show up and work under some rather difficult situations and do it with a smile. 

Sept. 2012
First Pumpkin Spice of the season.
In a little "family band", they have played 3 hour sets in 45 degree weather where they could hardly feel their fingers on the metal strings and 4 hour music sets in 105 degree weather that made you almost dizzy. Torrents of rain? Done that. Wind that blew over the sound system? Yep.

They have gotten off the bus after driving 8 hours, set up a sound system, played music for a small group of people, sold CDs, then broke it down, to then drive to a Walmart and sleep a few hours before heading out again.

In a "quaint little family band", these young ladies have performed with fevers, sore throats, coughs, and have even had to sit down at times during the show from weakness from a minor illness, but they had to get through the show or we would not have the money to get by that month. 

May 2015
Some random Starbucks out east
After pulling out high energy for an hour on stage, they have taken their small 10 minute break to listen to some audience member who bent their ears about each of her grandchildren who plays various instruments and was a rock in a school show once, and how her cousin's brother's uncle's grandpappy played in a band once. They smiled. Their feet hurt and they never got that drink or run to the bathroom, then they got back up on stage to sing more. 

They have helped design shows, design original music, written their own solos, and learned 3 hours of challenging music without the aid of sheet music or lyrics. Then they have had to throw out the plan and wing it on stage when a string broke on the instrument that was to be featured next, cutting out a break or a whole verse of a song with only a look and a shrug, and the audience never knew anything happened. 

More importantly, they have lived in a small, leaky, sparse, 300 square foot bus for over 4 1/2 years with parents and siblings, learning to not kill one another when things get tough, the money ran low, and the days got long. 

Hire them. You won't get better.

So, anyone know anyone at Starbucks?