Baristas Who Made Career-changing Decisions to Find Happiness

What you don’t know about that cup of coffee you just drank, was that it may have been made by someone genuinely happy to be serving you your coffee.

By Shin Yiing Lee

Coffee making is now an admirable skill – Photo copyrights to Shin Yiing Lee

The reception of the art of coffee making has created a shift in the working world. It is an admirable skill to have now, and people are becoming more open to working as baristas.

Guardian previously reported a buzz in the economy as demand for baristas increased. The growth of coffee shops have been inevitable as well, which also led to the cropping up of many independent cafes all over the world until today.

Telegraph UK even had an article which said that being a barista “could be the making of you” in this generation.

It has been found that almost 60% of UK workers are unhappy with their jobs, and nearly half of the world’s employees are unsatisfied.

Some choose to stay in those jobs in fear of losing financial security. Whereas some have taken a leap of faith to change their lives for the happier than to suffer in silence.

“There was a bigger picture which I wasn’t happy with and I felt that I didn’t have control of that.” Kapow Coffee barista Fiona King’s previous daily routine of being an anesthetic practitioner took a toll on her.

“I was getting the train to Barnsley every day and I was throwing up in the train station when I got there because I was so nervous about going into my job.”

Fiona King seen working in Kapow Coffee – Photo copyrights to Shin Yiing Lee

“There is a great feeling in knowing you’re responsible for making somebody’s day.” Ze Liang, a 27 year-old barista in Malaysia, says.

“It’s nice to see other people’s reaction when you pour them a bear in their coffee, or just by chatting with them.”

For former accountant Steve Hastwell, his job in a car rental firm of 8 years could not bring him the same joy he experiences as a specialist barista now.

“It’s so good having a job where you actually enjoy what you do because if you’re doing something that you have passion for and you enjoy, it doesn’t seem like work… It just seems like an extension of your hobby.”

There’s always the saying that you should do what you love. Investors in People also reported that 44% of UK’s workforce think that job satisfaction is more important than a big salary.

Fiona King felt just that. “No amount of money can help you deal with that” She says.

“You lose sleep, you lose everything, you lose a sense of yourself, you really do lose everything.”

Ze Liang, in his happy place – Photo copyrights to Shin Yiing Lee

Ze Liang feels that his previous job didn’t give credit where it was due, and felt unappreciated.

“Like with previous videos, animations… I don’t really get the credit for doing them, it’s usually the company who gets all the credit.”

Working in a cafe, the satisfaction can be directly received first-hand from customers and that brings Ze Liang a greater sense of achievement.

Steve Hastwell feels like a changed man alike the rest. “If you didn’t know me, when I worked in that job, I was always very quiet and was very low in confidence and self esteem.”

Photo copyrights to Shin Yiing Lee

Steve, Ze Liang and Fiona became baristas by chance, and by connections of friends who are baristas. Luckily, it all turned out well for them.

They have a resounding “it’s going to be alright” in their sharings for those who are afraid about getting less pay after changing jobs.

“Yes, being a barista in Malaysia doesn’t offer much pay” Ze Liang admits. “But it’s still manageable… and I’ve also become more cautious on what I spend my money on now compared to before.”

“I guess when I first started, it was a similar pay to what I was earning as an accountant” said Steve Hastwell.

“But now that I’ve worked my way up the ladder for three and a half years… The pay has kind of done the same!”

Steve Hastwell seen more happy with his flat white over his old accounting job. – Photo copyrights to Shin Yiing Lee

Steve Hastwell also reveals that a barista doesn’t have to be stuck serving behind the bar forever.

“When I train people I always say that in this day and age, a barista is not just a job. You’re going to have a really really big career out of being a barista.”

“There’s the UK Barista championships. You can enter if you can win and represent your country in the world barista championships!”

Speaking from experience, they all agree that if you’re unhappy with what you’re doing, get out of it. After all, it is important to put mental and emotional health above working for material riches.

“If you are awake on a Sunday night and can’t sleep, dreading your journey to work, being ill because of your work… it’s not the career for you.” Fiona King says.

“I feel… as cliche as it sounds I feel much richer now. As I’m a better person, I’m healthier, everything about me is better.”

“Everything about me is better” – Photo copyrights to Shin Yiing Lee

*Note: Word count on WordPress counter is inaccurate. (819 words)


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