I have always wanted to have a job. When I was little, I would go around trying to sell my scribbled drawings to my neighbors who reluctantly would give me twenty-five cents in return.As I grew up, I looked for every opportunity possible in order to work, make a little side cash, or help a family member out by doing odd jobs.As I transitioned into my angsty middle school daydreams, I fantasized about living life as a barista. When I was fourteen, my Mom started to allow me to drink coffee. Most days before school we were able to stop by my local Dutch Brothers Coffee and get an energy drink or a mocha.
The employees at Dutch Bros were supportive, asked us about our days, our lives, and for a moment I was more than just a kid in the back of someone’s car. I knew I would eventually like to work there, but I didn’t think I had the extroverted personality, the kindness, the self-confidence, and skill that a barista would have at Dutch Bros.When I turned fifteen, the internal inspiration to work overtook my life. I started looking into every opportunity I could, furiously looking for a way to get a work permit. My aunt, for starters, taught me how to make a resume.This was a good thing for me, as it allowed me to pursue a babysitting job that paid just as well as a regular job, with flexible hours, transportation, and most importantly, allowed me to live out the small amount of childhood that I had left.
In January of my junior year in high school, my mother was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. Money became a word with fear behind it. Getting a job was no longer a question, but a necessity. I had to provide the best I could for myself and my family, especially entering a realm of college applications. I no longer was able to ask for help and was forced into independence.Although I submitted an application to my local Dutch Bros on my sixteenth birthday, I knew that my application would blend in with the other million newly sixteen-year-olds with no work experience. I continued to make my face and name known by the workers. With my own vehicle, I was able to let them get to know me as an individual. In the meantime, I knew that I had to make myself stand out. I knew I needed experience.This led me to apply for other local coffee stands around my town. I came across a new business that was moving into the town called the Human Bean. It took two weeks for me to get a call, but the wait was worth it as it was the first call back I had ever got for a job application. When I told her that I was a high school student and couldn’t do an interview during school hours, I didn’t get a call back for another week.After that week I got an interview, but it was with at least twenty other applicants. She told me that if I didn’t get a call back in three days to start looking elsewhere. Three days went by and my future of working in coffee was looking pretty grim.
Miraculously, I received a phone call back a couple days later. It wasn’t exactly the amazing “You are perfect and you are hired” that I was looking for. Rather a “no one else worked out so I am giving you one chance”. I didn’t let this chance pass me by. I studied the menu and drinks for hours on end, making worksheets, quizzing myself, practicing, and researching. It was ravenous. It was glorious. I enjoyed the time I put into it. And it made it all so much more worth it when it all paid off.There I was, at the grand opening of a new Human Bean, during the middle of the hardest academic year in high school, at the top of the world. My work during the school year was limited, but the summer was when it really started to click for me. I was able to work in the early morning and afternoons and master every part of the job that I could. I even started opening the stand by myself and taking rushes head-on. I worked forty-hour weeks and even went into overtime. It gave me a distraction from the world of sickness I went home to everyday. I loved every second.
During the summer, I still continued to go to my favorite coffee shop, Dutch Bros. The opportunity presented itself to me when a long time Dutch employee asked me, “Why don’t you just… I don’t know… work here?” casually while I was in line. I sat in my car reflecting, asking myself, “Why am I not working here?”The next day I turned in my application and then began yet another long journey into the hiring process. Every day I asked for a manager, but it became apparent that they didn’t have one. I became great friends with their assistant manager and awaited the day that I was able to meet the regional manager and get in touch for an interview. We had a long thread of texts and even a few calls. I eventually made it to my interview, where they threw me on to the window.My life took a complicated turn as my first car that I was supposed to greet contained one of my fellow baristas from the Human Bean. By the time the interview was over, I was hired, and over the moon. Hours later I put in my two weeks and prepared for a life-changing opportunity as a Dutch Bros barista.
I have always been a very motivated and persistent individual. Throughout the struggles I have faced in my life including the deaths of family members, divorce, and sickness, I have strived to be something more in everything I do, and I needed a job that supported me while I was working towards my future and changing as an individual. I constantly want to get better and pursue things that will get me to the best me that I can be. Money became very taboo. Continuing to push forward despite not knowing the exact outcome was one of the best things I possibly could have done for myself. As I started my training at Dutch Bros, I was able to learn about how amazing of a company I was going to work for. I learned about the incredible generosity that they provide in terms of helping communities and allowing workers opportunities to better themselves and others through volunteering, giving, and goal setting. It is a place for me to flourish as a person, make genuine connections with customers, get more connected with people in my life, and allow me to love every aspect of working. It has stretched me in ways that I never could explain.Working while being a full-time student has been something challenging for me, but it has changed from being something that I struggle with to something that I enjoy thoroughly.I’m not rich, by any means, and still need a lot of help to achieve my dreams. But I have found an amazing support system through the company that I work for. I got a job in order to support myself so that my Mom didn’t have to in a time in her life that she struggled. I have saved money in order to get things that were crucial to my success in my education. I accomplished my goal of getting hired at a place I had dreamed about my entire life.My job has stretched me as a human being and always encourages me to strive for more.
Love this story? Share it on social media to vote! Check out the other finalists here: 2019 Side Hustlin’ Student Scholarship Results Page.