I Lost My Job, Not My Identity: Part 1 of My Employment Bio

(Want to skip to the punch line? Part 5 outlines how I can help you.)

I earned my undergraduate degree in Pre-Unemployment (with a focus in early 21st century barista trends).

Actually, make that degree “Religious Studies” and the focus “Early American Religious History” and you’ve got a better idea of why I just skip straight to prepping for unemployment. In its defense, my degree is highly regarded among graduate school applicants and admissions agents across a broad spectrum of fields.

Immediately following my undergrad career I spent 8 years in vocational Christian college ministry. Before you write off that time as “non-profit” for the rest of my employment life, keep in mind that over that time I personally developed more than $400,000 using an interactive sales presentation, complete with cold call, referral ask and financial close. Also thrown in the experience bucket:

  • delegation
  • time management
  • volunteer coordination
  • public speaking
  • personal coaching
  • grief counseling
  • web content development
  • viral marketing experience
  • social media pioneering
  • ultimate frisbee domination. (perhaps a bit of revisionist history in this bullet point)

In the summer of 2010, owing to a number of factors both beyond and within my control I started using that “Pre-Unemployment” degree. Two small children, a wife, and a strong aversion to taking money from the government led me to the doors of Starbucks Coffee Company, where I started in October(ish) of 2010.

My first “real job” as Barista was exhilarating (minus the 4:00 AM wake-up time) and I found a lot of joy in knowing people’s drinks, making it my personal mission to elicit smiles first thing in the morning. It’s also where I continued honing my sales technique, quickly becoming our store’s leading seller of VIA—Starbucks instant coffee (where a sizable chunk of revenue margin lives for the company) selling it out of the drive-through window.

While there were many things I loved about SBUX, the pay was not enough to cover the needs of my family of 4, which led me to the most physically excruciating 6 months of my life. Read all about it in the next chapter in this tale.