After moving back to Portland for an internship at Portland Monthly Magazine, I needed a job. That internship was amazing, but it was unpaid. I was looking for a job, but this time, I wanted to work at the coolest shop. I drooled at the Schoolhouse Electric fixtures, clean lines, modern and airy feel, and good vibes of a coffee shop on SE Division. It was my coffee shop dream job.
I went to a Thursday Night Throwdown (TNT) competition at a cool shop in NW Portland. It was your basic throwdown—crowded with eager baristas waiting for their turn to show off their latte art skills. Such fun energy. There was a girl competing—I recognized the apron. A cute logo on the side of the apron. She worked at my dream coffee shop. It was weird, I basically was thinking of her like a celebrity.
Continuing my job search, I found one at my coffee shop dream job. I applied and got an interview.
I was thrilled.
I had a chance at my coffee shop dream job.
My coffee shop dream job!
I nailed the interview and got the job.
Soon, I realized that this wasn’t actually my dream job. There were some personalities—coworkers and customers—that I had a hard time getting along with. They were religious, and I am 100 percent not (at best, I’m ex-mormon). It was one of those situations where everyone was super nice, but we just didn’t have a lot in common. We had totally different worldviews and it made it difficult. I often felt like I had to censor my emotional reactions and opinions (much like growing up mormon) in order to be liked.
It wasn’t a good fit.
And that was incredibly disappointing. This was my coffee shop dream job! The decor was what I dreamed my house would be, the coffee was excellent—best (or at least top five) in the city IMHO—and I was getting the best espresso and latte art training I ever had.
But I was having very little fun. I dreaded going to work.
My dream job was not my dream.
So I had to dream bigger. The coffee shop dream job wasn’t working out, but through my internship at Portland Monthly Magazine, I had an interview at a PR/Brand Strategy firm. That job would be full-time and paid pretty well, so I’d be leaving my days as a barista behind me.
For most people, quitting a coffee shop job would be a no-brainer. But being a barista was a big part of my identity. I had some pieces published in the top trade publication, I knew my shit, and I was getting pretty good at latte art (multi-tiered hearts, tulips, and the occasional rosetta). Not being a barista, or even in the coffee industry was so scary. Who would I be if not a barista?
I got that job at the PR firm, and I learned so much. That move ended up being one of the best moves I made, and it all came from being forced to dream bigger. If that last coffee shop had been the dream I thought it would be, I might have never left.
So when your dream job stops being awesome, dream bigger.