Aimee Groth is a New York-based journalist working for the Business Insider. Before that she was an assistant editor for a legal magazine published by Thomson Reuters in Minneapolis. But in between those gigs, she worked for three grueling weeks at the busiest Starbucks in Brooklyn – and she’s written a fascinating account of her time there for the Business Insider.

My initial idea of working a leisurely part-time job was completely false. This was going to be hard work. And a lot of it.

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In this way, she shares a background similar to a number of specialty coffee denizens (including the editor of this website), men and women who got their start at Starbucks prior to moving onwards and upwards in the industry. Groth’s account is harrowing, real, and at times hilarious:

We got two 10-minute breaks and one unpaid 30-minute break for every 8 hours on the floor, where weโ€™d have to decide between running next door to use the restroom (because ours was always had a line of customers in front of it), quickly eating a bag lunch (there was never time to stand in line and buy something from the store), or making a cell phone call. If youโ€™re lucky, you got to sit down on the one chair in the break room, or on the ladder, because there were never any open seats in the store.

Some of my coworkers were more demanding than others. Most were nice and welcoming. And there were office politics. On more than one occasion I walked into the break room to see someone crying, or talking about other coworkers. I mostly avoided this, until what would be my last week on the job.

If there’s something nice to be said about the new employee experience at Starbucks, it is that their streamlined training manual and procedures handbook are both top-notch. The brains at SBUXHQ have spent years studying and developing efficient flight patterns and customer service training, effective enough to break down and reform sixteen-year-old shitheads and working journalists alike. “In and out the door in 3 minutes, even at periods of high volume,” is something of a mantra. And it works, with an efficiency that is downright scary. This is how you build an empire.

Read Aimee Groth’s account of her time at Starbucks here, via Business Insider.

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