A little over 6 weeks ago I became a Starbucks employee. I am going through their RMT (Retail Management Training) program and I am loving every minute of it. So far, I have completed Barista, Shift Supervisor, and Assistant Manager training.
My manager and I devised a schedule that would allow me to work on the floor with the partners majority of the time. She encouraged me to ask questions, talk with the partners about their experiences with the company and customers. What do they love, is there anything they think we could improve on, etc. I was able to create an environment that encouraged open conversation and welcomed suggestions between my fellow partners and myself.
The ability to converse openly with one another is crucial to a productive, and positive environment. This style of management and education is one that I will bring with me wherever I go, and encourage others to do. We learn so much from one another and are able to improve everyday operations by talking openly.
Six weeks later
Six week later, I was launched as an Assistant Manger and placed in a new store. This week was my first week and it has been a “hit the ground with your feet running” time. I love it. Every day I enter the store I know that today I am going to learn something new, work with people who are truly amazing and love what I do. The key here my friends is passion.
When customers ask me what I plan to do with my life, or when do I finish school? I respond with a huge smile saying this is what I want to do, and that I will be pursing a graduate degree in a few years with the help of my company.
Love what you do
I wanted to work for an amazing company who has a passion for it’s partners, customers and the communities that surround it, and I have been fortunate enough to find one. When I look into the future I see myself still working for Starbucks. I may not still be an assistant manager but I know that this is my career and my passion. Why on earth would I let it go?
Have you ever heard of this book? My boss suggested I read it, he read it over 20 years ago as well as my father.
During our amazing meeting he said the best way to learn about yourself is to do a self exploration. This book helped him figure out what exactly he wanted and lead him to the job he has now. He told me to read the book, take it seriously, and figure out what exactly I want to do. Then take what I learn and apply it to my current job.
He told me that I need to love what I do, so figure it out and then do it. Of course he meant figure it out and then apply it to what I do now. By applying it to my current job I will find a drive that is natural and not forced. The drive that everyone hopes to find when they begin their career. Few end up finding it and settle.
Do I really want to settle for something because it is comfortable and let my fear overcome by ambitions?
No. So don’t settle.
As we progress through this age of technology fads dissipate and trends turn into the everyday way of life. Current trends that have become our social norm are facebook and linkedin. The unlucky fad ended up being Myspace which in fact was one of the original Social Media known as first to market. They didn’t approach the social network like facebook making it exclusive then slowly lowering the walls, Myspace was for everyone; children, parents, marketers and sales people. Everyone had a reason to join; to socialize with friends, see what is going on in your grandchildren’s lives or sell a product.
Now Myspace is fading away and Facebook is now the ruler of the social networking phenomenon and linkedin follows close behind. These trend setters have progressed past second to market, past trial and error to a thriving business. As companies join the rest of the world in Web 2.0 they are integrating their marketing campaigns into the social networking market. They watch for trends, study their target market and begin to learn about who they sell too on a more personal level.
Consumers have been involved with social networking for a couple years now and it is becoming apart of our every day lives. I don’t exclude myself from these because what I am doing right now (blogging) is an example of adapting to change and rolling with it. Now that we have established our own personal identities via the internet we are starting to branch out. One method that has been slowly increasing is communicating with your favorite brands in some shape or form. We connect by simply liking their facebook page or writing a review on a website about a product or our recent experience. We are web 2.0.
Companies follow complaints, ideas, suggestions, and most of all our positive reviews. They track our moves and chart them. By allowing to make ourselves more transparent companies are able to learn more about us, what we like, what we want, our hopes, our goals, and even our geographic location. I am not saying they are pin pointing the location of your home but they know where in the world you are. We are marketing them by word of mouth, well in this case what we type and where we post. To make sure they maintain or improve their brands they connect with us. We are now hearing from these marketers through a tweet or facebook message and if we really push their buttons possibly through a personal response.
Social Media is becoming the next Customer Service. There is not question that it may take a little while, but it is the most direct contact companies can have with their consumers why not take full advantage of it?
Generations evolve and with each generation there is a shift in education. When my parents were my age college was not necessarily a norm. Compared to the percentage today college attendance was lower back then. Not many people had the option to further their education, therefore their education norm was finishing high school. For one of my parents the goal was to finish high school, get a job, move out and make a living for yourself. Where as the norm for the other was go to high school, get into a great university, graduate in four years, get a good job and make something of yourself. A lot has change over a few years, our though processes have progressed at a rate which not a lot of people can afford. When I entered high school there was no questioning that college was the next step. My mentality for college was the same as past generations for completing high school.
After four years of college, I have a degree in marketing and now have a full time job. The cost of education from my school is around a quarter of a million dollars for four years. The goal is to pay off college loans after graduation once you get a job. Over the years college debt has increased due to the cost of a college education increasing, while the job market has decreased due to econometric downturn. As you can tell this does cause a problem.
Throughout my four years at college, I have learned more than I thought possible. I understand business, philosophy, and the idea of thinking outside the box and approaching topics with an open mind. Despite the challenges that have arose throughout my four years I am proud of myself. But with this education and pride comes responsibilities, responsibilities that come every month once you get a job.
This past week I traveled to Rome, Italy where I walked the streets, observed the culture and gained insight about the business industry (focusing on marketing). From my personal perspective, the way to make it is to learn the culture. Immerse yourself or always be considered an outsider. Culture is an interesting thing; you can either adapt to it when the time comes or just observe from a distance.
Roaming the streets is the best way to get a feel for the culture of the city. Going to the market and observing the sales that take place and noticing how when you have two vendors why a person picks one over the other. It is all about relationships and creating that recognition with one another.
When walking the market there were two produce stands next to one another selling the same product at different prices. The two produce sellers were shouting out their prices and what they had, one was sell for a lower price. An elderly woman walked up looked at both stands and noted who was working and instantly recognized one of the sellers. Guess which stand she chose? Shopping at the market for produce and fresh fish everyday is not unusual, the food is fresh (in American termonolgy organic). But having a relationship with the person selling the product influences our decision. In this case the elderly woman chose the person she knew despite the price difference. Note that in the States we go for the cheaper prices example Walmart’s everyday low price vs. the local produce seller, if Walmart is cheaper most likely you will buy there.
Relationships help us pick and choose what we want to buy, what we want to do, and who we want to see. There aren’t billboards lining up on the street advertising price cuts or digital advertisements running on a building for a new car. The goal is work to live not to live to work. Money is just a possession not who you are, your family and your relationships created over the years are what helps define who you are.