So I work at a Harley-Davidson shop and currently I am in charge of the Evo Espresso bar. It doesn't sound very glamorous and it really isn't. In the bike industry you are either part of the sales team and know your product, or you are the receptionist, office chick, or Espresso girl. If you are part of the "team" you get much more respect. People think you have knowledge about the products, the bikes, the best roads to ride on. They believe you must ride yourself and they seem to like you a whole lot more. But, when you are just the Espresso girl, receptionist and so on, you suddenly turn into "the cute girl". The girl that knows nothing about bikes. The girl that is only here in between quarters at college. You must be in college to perform these jobs. Somehow it's unthinkable for you to WANT to be a barista if you aren't in school. It's the lowest spot on the totem pole.
Now I used to work in a different dealership. I worked at Lynnwood Cycle Barn's now defunct metric location. I worked there for 2 years. I was NOT the receptionist or barista except for when the position needed to be covered. I have been an enthusiast for this industry for years. I worked in Motorclothes. Which still had its stigmas. Such as: You were just there for eye candy. You were the Motorhoes. You couldn't possibly know that the helmet is too small or too big or that certain chemicals will eat away at the strip on the bottom of Arai helmets. You can't possibly understand what gear is the most protective and comfortable to ride in. I had many guys tell me that they would prefer a guy to tell them everything I just told them. You couldn't really know how each helmet is made and the process that goes into it. There was no way in hell you knew how the cow hide was treated to get the right thickness and softness. So on and so on. You couldn't possibly be able to see a guy on a bike ride past and tell you the specs on everything he was wearing."
But you got more respect from the men then the "dumbo bimbos" that work in the cafe and front counter. It's just how it worked. While at Cycle Barn I stepped away from Motorclothes because of all the girl drama. It was starting to be a huge cat fight everyday and I needed to work with the boys.
So I started working in shipping & receiving. I touched every part that came into that store. I knew the computer program better than half the people on the floor. I was throwin' tires and slingin' lube day in and day out. I was forklift certified. I knew every part that went into a Honda 50cc motor and knew what a petcock was. I loved my job. I got more respect for my job. I was GOOD at my job.
I'm also an amazing barista. The Cafe de Barn was going down hill fast. My boss in shipping was the boss of the cafe. I soon took that over. I did the orders and trained the girls. I advised him on who to fire and who to keep. I was the manager of the cafe and I did that while working in the back. I loved it. So I got to do the two things I love. Make coffee and stay in the back AND be in the industry I love! What more can a girl ask for?
A lot more it turns out. I worked there for 2 years and received one $1 raise. It was bullshit. I worked harder than the majority of people there. My product was out to the floor before you could even take a 2nd break. I covered every department that needed me while still completing my own job tasks. My boss could go on 3 week vacations and know that everything would be getting done. I turned a cafe with a $6k deficit into at least coming out even. I was a huge asset to that company.
But no matter how much my boss fought for me to get a raise, they refused. So I made the decision to quit. That decision was one of the hardest.
I started working in a cubicle as a customer service rep at a collection agency and I hated it. Yes I was getting paid $3 more an hour, but I hated my job. Try telling someone that you work for a collection agency and see the response you get. People hate collectors like they hate lawyers. You never want to hear from either of them. I had to tell people that asked where I worked not to worry, that I wasn't an actual collector. I had to wear dress shoes and business attire. I had to file for hours on end. I was on the phone with retarded clients that didn't know what was going on. I had to baby the collectors because they didn't know how to do their job. I hated it.
I eventually got fired from that job.
A month later I called a few of my reps from when I worked at Cycle Barn. I was still in contact with them and saw them at every bike event. I asked them to keep their eyes open because I wanted back into the bike game. I needed to be back.
I got an interview at Eastside Harley and it was all over from there. They were going to put me in motorclothes but needed someone to start the espresso bar back up. So they stuck me in there against their will. They tried to tell me I was too qualified to work there. They thought the same about motorclothes. I had to tell them I wouldn't be interviewing unless I wanted to be there. I have managed to turn profit in the cafe and have made it successful.
I'm just the barista but that's OK.
The boss men know I'm more than that and they got plans for me. Don't judge me and think I can't do anything more than make coffee. I can do it all. And I will. In the next few months I'll be scaling down the cafe and start doing inventory control. I will be in charge of redoing the entire way motorclothes keeps their products. I will re-organize storage and show them a better way to track progress. After that, who knows where I will be. They may put me back into the cafe. They may keep me in motorclothes. Heck, I might be the receptionist but as I'm sitting at these positions, listening to everyone's spiel on how I should want more out of my life, I'll be the one smiling. I know I'm where I'm happy and I know I have big plans in my future.
This dealership has come into my life when I needed it most. The people here are outstanding and I met a guy. The guy. I met Cory. My life has gone from a crazy, hectic, alcholic spiral into a stable, healthy, happy line. But we'll save that for another post.
Just remember, that girl that works at your coffee stand, she probably has a whole lot more going on than you think. Maybe she's in college, a lot of them are. But maybe she owns that stand and four more down the road. Maybe she works there to supplement her own t-shirt line. Maybe she just loves making coffee and does it well enough to support her life. Same with those receptionists. Drop those stigmas and remember we don't know what these girls do when they get home. We don't know if they are stoked on that job and are right where they want to be in life. Suppose it comes down to don't judge a chick by her profession. I still feel silly telling people I work in the cafe. I still feel like I need to justify it. Like I need to prove I came for the bikes, not the coffee. But I'm getting better at being proud of where I am. It's the best damn place I've been in my entire life.