Thursday, December 03, 2009

A New Job Brings New Opportunities

I decided not to write about it until I had gotten started (just in case there was some way I might jinx it), but I got hired at a local Starbucks as a barista last Monday, the 23rd of November.  I started this Monday, the 30th, and have worked two training days of nine so far.

Starbucks is not necessarily my ideal career path (obviously, since I want to have my homestead), but it's not the worst place I could have been hired, and in this economy it's hard to say no to a job after being unemployed for 4 months.  The wage is not amazing, but the benefits are pretty great, and I get all the free coffee I can drink on shift.  Also, according to my roommate (who also works at Starbucks as a shift supervisor and put word in to help me get hired quickly) I will probably get promoted to shift supervisor very quickly thanks to my previous management experience, which would make the wage much more livable.

There is one more benefit that Starbucks has that I can only classify as a fringe benefit.  It is a national company.  Normally I would not be a big fan of this fact, since I'm very interested in localization, but in this case I'll make an exception.  Starbucks being a national company allows me to transfer to Portland with a job rather than trying to find one remotely, or moving there without one entirely and risking another long period of unemployment, which I frankly would not be able to afford again.

My 4 month long stretch of unemployment almost entirely drained my savings.  It might not have been noticeable over the 4 months I've had this blog, but my land fund started with significantly more money in it, and it will shrink some more before I get promoted with Starbucks.  So, I've made the decision to put planning for/thinking about internships on hold for a while until I can build up my nest egg again, and move to Portland and get settled there.  From Portland my options for learning PacNW specific permaculture techniques will be terrific, and I may not even have to take a long-term internship (though I still think I would like to).  My plan as of now is to work my butt off, save up some more money, and GOTu Portland.  (For anyone who doesn't remember what GOTu is, it stands for Get Out of Tucson, and is pronounced like go to.)  I'm hoping to make the move sometime during the spring or summer.  From there, I'll be able to proceed with my homesteading plans full-stride.  Of course in the meantime, I'm still going to learn as much as I can about permaculture, gardening, homesteading, and self-sustainability.

I have seen on my analytics page that I get a few visits from Portland readers.  If you are one of those people, and you or someone you know works at a Starbucks in the area, please leave me a comment or send me an email and let me know, because I have a few questions for you.  Actually, I'd love to get a comment or an email from any of my readers, so if you have any thoughts for me, please share!

Thanks for reading!


  1. Nice to read about your journey -- I wish I'd kept as nice of a journal when I'd started.

    I suggest taking home all of the spent coffee grounds from starbucks -- mixed with straw or leaves it makes a nice compost heap. A friend of mine has been bringing us all of the grounds for the past few months; enough to make a few yards of compost. Definitely look into that resource.

    I've got a whole list of books to recommend but several come to mind specifically. Original Wisdom by Robert Wolff, Food Not Lawns by Heather C. Flores, The Long Descent by John Michael Greer, and Edible Forest Gardens by Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier. These in particular have been very enlightening.

    I suggest planting a garden as the best place to start. You will reap many rewards!

  2. Thanks Mark! I have already started collecting coffee grounds from work, brought some home today actually!

    My second post in November is about the garden beds I built. I couldn't find enough mulch/compost/good soil to fill them all the way up, so my plan is to buy some straw bails and put them directly into my garden beds with coffee grinds and whatever other compostable materials I have, so they'll be full and ready by Feb/Mar of next year after the last frost for Tucson.

    I have several of the books you mentioned on my Christmas list this year, but I hadn't heard of Original Wisdom yet, so thanks for letting me know about that one!

    I'm currently reading Gaia's Garden and All-New Square Foot Gardening, trying to hybridize the two ideas and see if I can make the SFG a little bit more sustainable than just buying compost and vermiculite. I'll definitely be posting my results come Spring.

    Thanks for the info, and thanks for reading! I hope to get more of your ideas as I post more in the future.