This long weekend I am traveling, & needed both a shot of caffeine & wifi (to write this…), you can count on Starbucks to deal with both. I have been in multiple locations, & have always been really impressed with their staff. This week’s podcast is with Michael Gill, New York Times best-selling author of “How Starbucks Saved My Life.” Starbucks really did save his life, in many ways. You may be thinking, “Did a Barista do the Heimlich maneuver as Michael was choking on a venti-non-fat-extra-hot-½ Soya-½ skim milk Moccachino?” Well, not exactly.
Michael grew up in New York, son of the famous writer Brendan Gill who wrote for the New Yorker. Like his father, he graduated from Yale and joined the world’s leading advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson. Michael had a great career climbing the corporate ladder, working with Fortune 500 companies like Ford and spending time in Toronto working on the Labatt account. He was in the “you are, because you have” business. At age 53 he was taken out for breakfast, or what he would call his Last Supper, and was let go from his position. “I had given them most of my life, my talents and energy, spending most of my time working and away from my family”
Michael’s status came very much from his work. It gave him a place, title, income and community. As with others who are defined by what they do and are fired, there was an extreme loss of identity. Then one day while standing in line at Starbucks, he was approached by a store manager and asked if he would consider applying for a job. He was open and ready to try something completely different in his life. Michael shared “Some of the best things in life happen by accident.”
Michael shared the another purpose in accepting this role was balance “The ideal life is a balanced life, where you have the time for work and friends and where you don’t commit to some sort of corporate vision”
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Open & willing to try something different, along the road with you!
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