Sunday, August 1, 2010

Starbucks & Service

It's funny that I spent most of the summer reading and contemplating nonfiction books more on the theory side of things, ie they strictly talked about one or more of the five program values of MercyWorks (service, spirituality, simple lifestyle, community, professional development). Funny because I both started and ended the summer with books on my own to-read list that fell under the practice side of things, ie they followed one person's journey of some sort and how they lived out one or more of the five program values.

How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone ElseThe book I started with was Eat, Pray, Love, but I've talked about that one enough on here. The book I just finished, How Starbucks Saved My Life, showcased almost all of the values, with the exception of spirituality (though an argument could be made that it had hints of spirituality).

When Michael Gates Gill finds himself out of a job, he is knocked pretty far down the social ladder. A job at a busy Starbucks in New York City allows him to refocus his priorities. Instead of demanding services from others, he serves all types of people ("Guests") without prejudice. Instead of treating himself to all-you-can-eat dinners, he cuts his spending and enjoys things like evening walks or sampling coffees. No longer a part of the cutthroat world of corporate America, he embraces his fellow Starbucks workers ("Partners") and forms a sort of community with them. And even though he had been at the top of the professional world as an advertising executive, his professional development at Starbucks puts his old life to shame.

As I read this book, I wondered why it hadn't been made into a movie yet. A simple Google search proved that one is in the making, though. It also really made me want to work at a coffee shop. Maybe that's what I'll do after my year of service in Chicago.

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