I just finished reading, “How Starbucks Saved My Life,” and find it to be a compelling account of transition in American society today. Michael Gates Gill tells the story of how he was abruptly fired from his corporate, six-figure job in Manhattan. In his fifties, he has to start over, not knowing what it’s like to not have money. He writes about how he comes to terms with the firing and turns his life around with the help of a young manager from Starbucks.
It definitely needs to be a must-read for any job seeker, or person who would like to find a new job, as it paints the picture that there might be something better out there for you.
For me, the book personifies how so many large corporations treat employees. We often are not treated as Mothers, Fathers or people with families. We are expected to leave that life behind when we are in the office. To always be “working.” It’s hard to find a company that really cares about you as a person and that can bend to meet your needs when family situations arise. Compassionate workplaces do exist, you just have to find them.
I’ve worked for large and small corporations and have seen my share of problems. One of my first jobs didn’t offer maternity benefits, which meant that if I had a baby (and took leave) my job was not guaranteed. Furthermore, our health insurance plan didn’t cover babies, so I would have had to shell out the money (100%) for every doctor visit and hospital stay. We fell into the “under 50 employee category” so they weren’t required to offer the benefit. Needless to say, I didn’t have a child while working there and left when I found a better opportunity.
“How Starbucks Saved My Life” is an example of how one takes a lay off and turns it into something positive. With so many people still being laid off from their jobs — many who believe their job was their life — this book is a must read. Don’t think that if you lose your job, it’s the end for you. You never know, something could turn around for you and you may enjoy it even more than you did the job you went to every day.
Here’s the book description from Amazon:
In his fifties, Michael Gates Gill had it all: a mansion in the suburbs, a wife and loving children, a six-figure salary, and an Ivy League education. But in a few short years, he lost his job, got divorced, and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. With no money or health insurance, he was forced to get a job at Starbucks. Having gone from power lunches to scrubbing toilets, from being served to serving, Michael was a true fish out of water.
But fate brings an unexpected teacher into his life who opens his eyes to what living well really looks like. The two seem to have nothing in common: She is a young African American, the daughter of a drug addict; he is used to being the boss but reports to her now. For the first time in his life he experiences being a member of a minority trying hard to survive in a challenging new job. He learns the value of hard work and humility, as well as what it truly means to respect another person.
Behind the scenes at one of America’s most intriguing businesses, an inspiring friendship is born, a family begins to heal, and, thanks to his unlikely mentor, Michael Gill at last experiences a sense of self-worth and happiness he has never known before.