A few weeks ago, when I panicked about health insurance, sick leave, and paid leave (what a dream!), I applied for a job as barista. With very mixed feelings. Did I do my PhD, investing so much time, money, and (mental) health, to become a barista?
I started thinking. What if they want me? And, more importantly: what if I like it? But I also thought about ethnographic possibilities. A coffeehouse might be an interesting place to be. Work processes. Hierarchies. Interactions. Interactions between staff and customers. Staff and staff. Customers and customers. The ethnographic mind never stops working.
A few days after my application, I found an enthusiastic email in my inbox. A job interview. A job interview? Yes, a job interview! I did not expect that. I thought they would not be interested once they saw my CV. Would expect me to look for temporary work. A transitional income. (And rightly so.)
Well, I thought, I can at least go and check it out. Nothing to lose, huh?
And today was the day. My interviewer was the really friendly and funny store manager. She explained all the benefits. Talked about salaries. Basic requirements which are next to nothing. Their benefits are quite good. The salary is ridiculous for someone with a PhD. But at least it is a job. With health insurance. Sick leave. Paid leave! (And so many more benefits! I guess I would earn more than I do now in some of my freelance jobs if I allow for all the benefits.)
So I agreed to come again next week. Work for a few hours and see how it goes. Get a (potentially) permanent position. I am still hoping that something else will come up. But the struggling anthropologist should take what comes her way. And who knows? I might enjoy it. I’m sure I will meet interesting people. I will definitely learn a lot. (By the way, I don’t drink coffee. But I love the smell.)
The ethnographic mind never stops learning.