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EXPERIENCE AS A BARISTA IN A BAKERY

5

Author’s name

Working as a barista at the Vincent Bakery Café exposed me to muchexperience in both the positive and negative spectra. The wealth ofexperience involved all the parties and levels of interaction in theplace. They include the customers, co-baristas, and the authoritiesamong other existential environments. Notwithstanding the negativeencounters, there were still positive andeducative activities. As a result of theseencounters, I will focus on the quality of services andproducts offered to the guests and theinternal customers. Moreover, the conflicts, diversity and ethicalfactors that I came across while working there shall beexplored in detail.

Most of our customers were the working middle-classadults and young adults aged between 20 to50 years old. The customers alwaysexpected courteous treatment and provisionof the best drinks mostly coffee. The service performance of thecompany was average because we could receive both complaintsand compliments from different customersand on social media. One customer whose name isconcealed was unhappy about the fineness of the coffeeI told him it was a new procedure that was beingtested, and we were taking statistics. He calmed down andproceeded with the coffee. His remarks were that it was “badand you should not introduce this new recipe”. I regret because itwas a lie. Another client was worried about my uniform because hefelt it was not attractive. I told him to suggest the best outfit forthe entire cafe group. Thirdly, a customer went too far by asking meto make arrangements for him to make my colleague his girlfriend. Iwas unhappy and asked him to behave he gotloud, and I humbly asked him to consider mysituation in a place of work. He relented and apologized.

I consider myself having an excellent ability in interpersonal skillsbecause I managed to reconcile my colleagues and customers. Thecompany could do an analysis and establish the real needs ofits customers because many of them did not like even thesmallest of things like the workers’ dress codes and colors.They could also employ a public relations officer to help market thebrand.

Including me, the workers were demotivatedbecause of the workload that did not match the pay. The organizationwas making much money,but the real engineers of the success were not happy. Teamwork wasfounded on forceful allocations bythe manager. Otherwise, very few workerscooperated with one another. I tried my best because all I wanted wasan experience for future practice, and Imanaged to motivate some colleagues. In this regard, I motivated someof the workers. My strengths included being outgoing and extroverted,empathetic, and liking to joke around. However, the joking nature wasa weakness among others because the manager used me to motivateworkmates. Other weaknesses were being sympathetic and thus offeringcolleagues much of my pay, coming late to work, and being softspoken. I would suggest that the company employs a more understandingand interactive manager who will encourage the other baristas andworkers. The company can also increase the pay because many of theworkers were contemplating to quit. The company supported employeeempowerment, but it was not intensive andeducative because the content was often the same.

I was involved in a conflict with a colleague who wanted to take mysenior position. I was awarded the lead barista’s role due to theexperience I had in previous encounters and sometimes I wouldsupervise my colleagues. The lady made up stories saying that I wasincompetent. I reported the matter to the human resource manager,and it was solved, but the hatred couldstill be seen in her eyes. Another scenariois when I told the manager that my pay and that of my colleagues waslittle and we needed more. He got furious and threatened to dismissme, but I never shook. I forwardedthe matter to the CEO, who could not afford to lose my uniqueservices. The CEO lied about ensuring that our dues could beincreased. This is the reason I quitlater. Another conflict ensued when the kitchen department blamed theserving team that the delays were causing the hot drinks to get cold.I realized that the flasks were faulty andthat was the role of the chefs in noting. Itold them directly and later the managerreconciled us. In future, I would not directly approach a matterbecause it offends the other party. Out of these three experiences, Ilearnt that change is inevitable and despite the level of anger onemay have, rationality and the law should prevail.

Cultural issues and the society are diverse. I encountered differentreligious, social, cultural and other forms of living during thattime. We had a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) member of the team, andcould not come during Saturdays and the period of fasting. He did notmind losing the job or salary and the organizationadjusted its schedule to accommodate him. I learnt that personalconvictions have to be respected and nobody should judge any otherwhatsoever. In the future, I would instigate training programs oncultural integration so that workers can work together. Moreover, Iwould foster ethical considerations for the promotionof cultural consideration.

Ethical decision making is important in any work setting. First, thescenario where a customer asked me to woo a colleague for him wastricky. I was furious at first but later realizedthat I do not have to get angry. I explained to him that it was aplace of work, and there was no need ofbeing loud, but he could wait for her onceher duty is over. He got calm and left peacefully. Anotherscenario was when I engaged the manager asking for an increment ofour pay. He wanted to frustrate me by being angry,but I opted to approach the CEO, who later called the manager fordiscussion. This was an ethical move. WhenI was at loggerheads with the lady colleaguewho wanted to replace me as a lead barista, she wanted to prove herpoint by provoking me, but I opted toreport to the seniors. I learnt that my personal code of ethics wasstandard and plausible. I did not get overwhelmed with personalfeelings in all the scenarios. I would not handle the same situationsin the future differently but just to improve on the interventions Imade. I would also help other workers to have a command of ethicaloperations in all dilemmas. I would tell them alwaysto be conscious of personal values before reacting to anyscenario. This would help them to maintainethical behavior.

In conclusion, the experience I had at the Vincent Bakery Café wasrich. It involved many ups and downs,but it was educative at the same time. Some of the negatives includeextremely misunderstanding customers, colleagues who are malicious,rigid managers among others. The positiveencounters included an increase inexperience, personal development, relating well with colleagues, andmany others. It was an educative experience.