Coffee Jobs: It Pays to be Wired
While it can be tough relying on tips for a living, working as a barista also has the potential of being a tolerable, decently paying, and possibly even enjoyable part-time or transitional job. With specialty coffee companies on the rise and major chains still making solid profits, the occupational opportunities and benefits of barista-ing have actually never looked so appealing for those searching for employment.
Of course now that I’m not working in a coffee shop, I kind of miss working in one, even though I didn’t adore the scene when I was in it. Maybe “the beans are always fresher on the other side” or some other wittily skewed saying is true for me. Regardless, I know that being a barista is not my ideal job title, but I still think it’s a position with potential. Coffee remains a huge commodity and is a booming industry nationwide, so if you’re in need of work–and you dislike office jobs as much as I do–you may want to think about getting in the business of caffeine.
If you’re struggling to pay for a college education, then maybe consider working at Starbucks(!). Over the past year, the coffee leader partnered with Arizona State University to offer bachelor’s degrees for its employees who enroll in ASU’s online program. Although I’m not a fan of mediocre coffee shops or virtual classrooms, I still think it’s a great academic opportunity for students who can’t afford the high tuition prices of American universities.
However, if you’re not in it for a college degree or if you’re more interested in working for a specialty coffee company, then you’ll be excited to hear that the third wave sector is growing and likely to have more job openings than before. Recently, the San Francisco-based Blue Bottle Coffee raised an incredible $70 million funds from its investors, in order to expand their market. With cafés already open in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York, and Tokyo, Blue Bottle may be eyeing other cities now. As third wave companies expand and consumer demand increases for well-crafted coffee, budding baristas and other food service employees will likely find more local job opportunities.
I know that standing on your feet all day and risking tendonitis (“barista’s wrist”) just so caffeine fiends can get their fix doesn’t appeal to everyone, nor does coming home smelling like stale coffee (blegh). Luckily for job searchers, a lot of effort goes into running a specialty roastery, including work outside of the retail store. Companies require lots of administrative and creative employees to run their business, especially the bigger ones like Stumptown, Intelligentsia, and the aforementioned Blue Bottle. So if you’re a talented graphic designer, savvy marketer, diligent accountant, or great IT technician, you may be able to put your skills to use in the coffee world. Checkout the websites of your favorite roasteries and local cafés to see if they’re hiring for positions that interest you, or be bold and email your resume to their hiring managers.
Third wave coffee is only getting more trendy and competitive, so you may want to jump on the inevitable bandwagon now, while there’s still a potential job spot for you.