awesome bartenders and baristas. [things i’m thankful for #25]

Well, it’s been a rough few days. Or, as I like to call it, my worst month ever. I’ve had my meds bottom out, leaving me mired in overwhelming despair. I’ve been fired for the first time in my life. And I had an interview yesterday that was one of the weirdest, and worst, interactions I’ve ever had with a person I wasn’t related to.

The bad experience was an “interview” at a cafe here in Seattle. The meeting was with the owner of the shop I was applying to work for, and the first interview I had was fantastic. Said first interview had been with the manager of the particular location I would have been working, and it was clear quickly that we got along swimmingly. The way we understood coffee, people, and the place of the cafe in Ballard fit together so well. I was excited about the opportunity to pour my energy into working alongside her in making this cafe an indispensable part of the Ballard neighborhood.

Then, I had a second interview with the owner. It wasn’t an interview. It was an ambush. He literally spent the entire interview berating me for having the audacity to apply to work for him when in my heart I really wanted to be a writer. He said he wasn’t going to “finance [my] writing by paying [me] to be a barista” for him. He said there was no place for me at the cafe unless I could make my first and only priority coffee. He complained about a friend of mine who works at the cafe, saying, “We’ve had problems with [him] putting [his wife] and school ahead of the cafe.” He really fucking said that to me! First, he talked negatively about one of his employees to a random person who was interviewing at his cafe. Second, he complained that someone was putting his wife ahead of his hourly barista job. WTF?!?

The guy also used Million Dollar Baby as his example of how much I would need to care about coffee to work at the coffee shop. He said everyone who works for him would be able to say they had no regrets about working in the cafe, even if the job somehow paralyzed them for life. I’m not exaggerating, there is no hyperbole there, he really said that to me. It was the most wearying experience I’ve had in some time, just trying to keep from freaking out and walking out on him. In hindsight, I guess I probably should have just freaked out on him and left, instead of listening to him go on about how I wasn’t a good fit for over an hour! 

I left pretty heavy, and since I forgot my phone at home I was stranded in downtown Seattle with no way to contact my ride. It wasn’t a big deal, just one of those insult to injury things.

Anyway, things have been pretty heavy lately. However, there has been so much support from friends, family, and, oddly enough, local baristas and bartenders. I prefer to frequent places where I can get to know the people behind the bar. And those people I’ve gotten to know have been kind to me when I’ve really needed it over the last few days. I’ve been given two and a half free cocktails, three shots of whiskey, a beer, and two free coffee drinks, just because. One bartender friend bought me a shot and a beer out of her own pocket because she wasn’t even working when she heard about my terrible interview, she just asked the bartender to give us each a shot, and said “his beer is on me, too.”

I can’t wait until I have an income of some kind so I can return all this wonderful kindness that I’ve received.


4 Responses to “ awesome bartenders and baristas. [things i’m thankful for #25] ”

  1. Hey long lost barista friend! So sorry to hear about your recent troubles. What an insane man you must have interviewed with, and given our shared experience with such people, that’s saying something. I hope the support you have gotten in response to all that has happened will help pull you up and on to better things! You certainly deserve it!

    • Thanks Steph. That’s so sweet of you to say! =) Thanks for the pick-me-up. It’d be cool to see you again some time!

  2. glad that you are writing. It is always a blessing to read what you have written even when it is about insane coffee people 🙂

  3. The heck with him someday when u are making a living from your writing you can write an story about the idiot and embarrass the hell out of him. In the mean time talk all the baristas into leaving him and finding better jobs