It's been nearly eighteen months since my split with "The Buck". My emotions have ranged from anxiety to apathy to resentment, but they always return to deep gratitude. Gratitude for what I learned from amazing people, less than amazing people, and gratitude that I was released from a situation that was not, ultimately what God wanted for my life.
These are the gems I want to share with you:
1. I don't care what kind of day you are having. The server, or cashier, or barista is a human being who, in most cases, is not responsible for your bad day. Treat this individual with respect or at least civility. Make eye contact. Do not throw your credit card or cash at her. Do answer any questions he has with courtesy. Learn how to say "please" and "thank you". I truly believe that you can tell a lot about a person by how he or she treats a waitress. It speaks volumes.
2. I don't care what kind of day you are having. The customer at your window, table, or in line is a human being who, in most cases, is not responsible for your bad day. You are being paid to perform a service. Do it to the best of your ability. These people do not dictate who you are, nor can they dictate your reactions to what they do or say. You are wholly responsible for how you act. Be mature.
3. Be very, very careful about cultivating deep friendships with married members of the opposite sex outside of work. Even if nothing happens, you can be certain that someone will think it has, and, as my Starbucks mentor/BFF Shawn B. Speir always told me, "perception is reality". Reputations are extremely difficult to repair - especially at work.
4. If you are going to make a dramatic change within your company, do not do so with a sloppy, disrespectful, hastily-typed note that leaves hundreds - possibly thousands - of your brightest, hardest workers jobless. It's bad for publicity, and you cut off your own nose to spite your face.
5. Quality is important to customers, but value is more important. The masses suffering from cutbacks and unemployment are not going to spend ten dollars for three packets of instant coffee. That's stupid.
6. Next to stealing from the company, gossip is the worst possible thing you can do - to yourself, your co-workers, and your corporation. Stop it right now. If you do not, you will deeply regret it. Besides, it's really just mean.
7. Friendships are, thank God, thicker than two-day-old mocha sauce. The co-workers who truly care about you won't care why you left the company. They just want to see you again. (I am fortunate that there is a whole mess of those awesome people who love me at the Greentree Drive-Thru.)
8. Complaining does not bring about positive results. Insubordination does not bring about positive results. Laziness does not bring about positive results. Positive results come from teamwork, sharing one goal, open lines of communication, and mutual respect. It's not easy, but there you have it.
9. The way the head goes, the body will follow. If you are a leader, act like one. No double-talk, no false promises and no pretending you are infallible. If you make a mistake, own up to it. If you don't know an answer, don't make one up. Excuse yourself to find the correct answer. And, most importantly, don't promise unless you can deliver. Countries have gone into civil war for lesser evils! Be the kind of leader you'd want to follow!
10. Forgive. Move on. Grow up. I have made my peace and still go to Starbucks, although my salary doesn't allow me to be a two-cup-a-day-guest. More like twice a month. But, in spite of the disappointments I've faced through Starbucks, I am still a sucker for a cup of Breakfast Blend and a Reduced-Fat Berry Muffin.
(They aren't getting rid of those muffins, too, are they?!)