In just over a week – and 5 shifts – I will no longer be making coffee for the masses. I won't be earning my living by brewing the sweetest lattes and frothiest mochas. Not any more. It's all coming to an end.
I can assure you all, however, that I will not be losing my coffee snobbery and slight expertise. I will still hunt down the best possible cuppas in a city; I will still live for a good coffee date; I'll still lecture on the difference between a flat white and a cappuccino.
I'll go independent wherever possible now, too, rather than feeding the big greedy chains (which I've avoided doing for some time now, and it's been lovely).
I'm excited to forget all the knee-jerk reactions when someone orders a drink ('regular or large? Have in or take away? Chocolate/cream on top? Do you want a large tea – it's the same price?') and stop resenting the general public as much as I have grown to recently. I'm excited to not wear a black unflattering uniform any more. I'm excited to work regular hours, not 6am-2pm or 12:30pm-7pm, or worst case scenario 6am-7pm...ughh.
But what am I most excited about? Finally being...a bookseller.
That's right, I am making a transition from barista to bookseller. I got one of my dream jobs – starting early July I will be roaming the floors and shuffling the shelves and talking books with people in my local Waterstones, Hastings town centre.
Everyone I've told so far (not many people in person, then of course the Twitter announcement got 130+ likes, so cute!) has immediately gasped and shrieked 'that's like, perfect for you!!'
I feel the same way, honestly. I even said in the (lovely friendly awesome chattery) interview: 'I have applied before but been unsuccessful because that was a while ago and I wasn't ready. Now, though...I'm perfect for this job.'
Yes, everything is coming up Milhouse.
Now I just have to work my notice at the cafe. It's such a weird feeling, knowing I'll be leaving soon. Counting down the days. The shifts. My dad claims that as soon as you've decided to leave your place of work, even before you tell your manager and colleagues, you are officially 'in the departures lounge'. You've already checked out and committed to the life beyond the place, the people, the job. So it's odd when you make that meeting and hand over that letter, and are greeted with surprise. Because really, you wrote that letter some time ago if only in your mind. You knew this was coming. It's like you were in on a big secret and now you're finally sharing it with others – the people who need to know this the most. Weird.
Then starting fresh! Going to a new place, meeting the new people, working out the new route to work – for me it's getting the train in the other direction, for a third of the time and a third of the price!
I was nervous going in there the other day, to ask about the date of my first shift. I needn't have been, of course, I just built it up in my head to be this enormous moment. I stood outside and stared at the sign above my head, suddenly feeling the newness and the alien despite having been in this shop (and spent a lot of money in this shop) countless times since I was very young. Since it was an Ottakar's. That's right, that's why there's a mural of TinTin on the wall adjacent to the stairs and escalator to the second floor. I've felt so at home in that place over the years, and yet in that one moment...it was a new workplace, a new start and a new challenge.
I expect I'll be blogging about my first day, first week, etc etc. as a bookseller. Don't you worry, you'll get updates. For now though, I am in a limbo.
I will give y'all one piece of advice here – and no it's not 'never give up on your dreams' although that is important too...it's 'if you're unhappy, get out'. This applies to all sorts of situations, yes, but right now it's being applied to jobs. Your job. If you're unhappy, if you dread going in each day, if you resent every customer you serve or every email you answer – you must leave. My sensible side will always say 'line something else up first! Get a job in the pipeline, so you don't starve!' But then my heart says 'screw that, make do, just don't be unhappy.'
Mini-lecture over. High-fives all round, guys. This is Gracie: The Grumpy Barista signing off! In just 10 days she'll be Gracie: The Fabulous & Babbling Bookseller.