In an earlier post, Small World Coffee’s lead trainer, Tuc, introduced us to the concept of ‘the worldling’, describing what it takes to be one of the red apron-wearing employees at our cafes. Without further ado, here’s the second installment of Tuc’s series!
“I recently asked several seasoned worldlings what they remember feeling their first day, or week at Small World Coffee and these are some of the responses they gave:
“I felt overwhelmed.”
“It was terrifying.”
“Everyone was so cool. I didn’t want to let them down.”
“I don’t know if I can do this.”
“What did I get myself into?”
I have difficulty remembering these worldlings’ first clumsy days considering they have grown into some of the finest people I have ever had an opportunity to work beside. What I take away from their comments in light of their success on the job is the seriousness of their work ethic.
Working in a coffee house is not rocket science. The multitude of skill sets which comprise the job, like any other job, can be performed well or poorly. The excellence is found in the details. The challenge resides in being able to pay attention to the myriad of details of the situation surrounding you; developing and maintaining that awareness takes practice. The cafe has many nooks and crannies where the tools we use in providing the coffee goodies we sell dwell. We have our arcane lingo which we use to call drinks and convey other important information. If you spend any time in the cafe one common phrase you might hear is, “can I get a freshie!” It’s formatted as a question, but in the context of the barista behind the counter it is treated as an imperative.
If you are a frequent visitor to the cafe you may have noticed a recent influx of new faces behind the counter. Myself and Tim, Small World’s other trainer, have been quite busy over the past two months orienting and developing the latest batch of worldlings. They are a good bunch, one of which is the brother of a previous worldling. I mentioned he had big shoes to fill. He replied, “that’s good because we have the same size feet.”
For the past 16 or so years I’ve greeted each new batch of fledgling worldlings – “newbies” we call them – with a general greeting along these lines: “Welcome to SWC. My name is Tuc and I’ll be your trainer today. As far as I’m concerned you’ve just landed on planet Small World. I don’t expect you to know the language, culture, or geography, but we’re going to change that.” In general, it takes upwards of three months for a newbie to become a full worldling and that is when the real learning begins because each transaction with a guest is a learning opportunity…”