Barista Confession: After 5 years of passion, I am now resigning from my job

It’s 4 in the morning and I am watching the street lights of Manila from the vantage point of a Grab car driving me home — I just got back from Bali after my 2 week solo backpacking trip in Indonesia.

“If you’re not happy coming back then quit your job”, my best friend from abroad messaged me. This is the time that I got the answer.

I am going back to work the next day in a new store and going back as a barista (and as a shift supervisor) doesn’t feel right anymore. I know I am going through some post-travel depression but I’ve been thinking of quitting my job since the beginning of 2019.

In my early days as a barista (circa 2014) my reason for working was about providing to fund my travels. I know it’s shallow. Because damn I know, I wasn’t blessed with eagle wings, just human feet and an inordinate fondness of going to brand new places. And throughout my career, I’ve learned that not everything is perfect when you go to your store every day, but if there is some “purpose” that comes with it, you can find meaning and fulfillment.

I can’t remember the exact day I started wearing my green (and coffee master) apron with pride. All I know was I’m starting to fall in love with it. Honestly falling in love with it.

My go-to coffee whenever I wanted to showcase a winning coffee tasting. Hahaha! Life should be Veranda; simple, laid-back and relaxed. So iconic.
The first time I did a rosette art!

Because passion is found in all sorts of forms. Somebody said that: whatever you do, if you go in with a good attitude and sees it as a path for learning; you will find much more opportunity and happiness than if you go in not inspired everyday.

Working as a barista, we have a rare opportunity: to work in a job that we love. I may be biased, but I believe there’s no more exciting or inspirational industry than coffee. And coffee has been more than my job — it became my identity. I wake up in the morning excited to start working towards my purpose, experiencing coffee adventures, and sharing my passion with others. And I wouldn’t do that if coffee wasn’t fun.

@starbuckspartners featured me. Insane!
One month old coffee master here and I took all the risk to join the first ever Barista Championship district eliminations and I won! After this, I became a District Coffee Master. I was in cloud 9. This was the day that I started to become popular in the district hahaha iba din diba.

It is said that working out your purpose isn’t always that easy. But with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. True passion for coffee is contagious. When you express it, you inspire everyone you come into contact with. And the magical thing is that when you inspire other people, they also inspire you. Seeing someone wake up to the wonders of coffee makes you remember why you love it so much.

My 2 weeks cross training in St. Charbel drive thru way back 2017 (?) My anxiety was hella upbeat with my telephonophobia. And until now everyone thinks I’m joking when I’m talking about it. Haha!

But I had to quit my job

I’m a dreamer. My closest friends know what’s in the deepest of my heart. And lately I came to a realization that if I really wanted to chase all my big dreams in life I needed to find another job that can fund it. I have no plans right now and I just know that breaking up with my job and actually getting out of it as it became a comfort zone is the first step.

I wanna be out there, you know. I don’t want to be stuck here. Just like the maptia manifesto that we always see in pinterest:

I, Marron Santillan, want to see the world. Follow a map to its edges, and keep going. Forgo the plains. Trust my instinct. Let curiosity be my guide. I want to change hemispheres, sleep with unfamiliar stars and let the journey unfold before me.

If you’re going to ask me, “what’s next?” then my answer would be “I’ll find out.”

I might work in a hostel somewhere in Bali or Lombok. I might be teaching yoga in Cambodia. Maybe I’ll go to Italy, eat the best pizza in the world and learn how to speak Italian. I might visit my friends in United Kingdom. Perhaps go down south Australia and study there since I’m thinking of getting a Masters degree or another Bachelor. How about go back to Siargao and never leave the island until I can able to surf in Clooud 9? I will never know. Also thinking of getting a camera, start a Youtube channel for chrissakes and vlog the hell this whole journey.

I am soooo excited to meet the people and see the places of this world.

And then I became a Reserve partner

Counting the days down to my last day was the hardest part especially when the baristas (or should I say my friends) doesn’t have a single idea what shit is about to drop. There were shifts that I wanted to make the announcement of how excited I am for my decision and there were also times that I wanted to talk about it, one on one, because it gets me so emotional. Well, saying adios to my third place since I left college can be so damn emotional. That’s 5 years, man. And 5 years IS a long time especially if it’s packed with meaningful moments.

My job with Starbucks was supposed to be a summer job. And then I changed my plan to stay 2 years in the company. Never would have thought I’d extend 3 more years because Starbucks is such a good company.

The reason why I kept it a secret is because I didn’t want to receive an avalanche of emotional hugs and goodbyes. Even though it breaks my heart because I am aware how attached I’d become to the people of different Starbucks stores.

My coffee tasting presentation for my promotion! My piece right here is still the best coffee tasting I have ever composted. 

Right now, I am getting a burst of nostalgia.

Removing my siren apron only reminded me a lot of things; no more coming to the store 30 minutes before shift for some vanilla cold brew and a stick of cigar. No more quick blushing with the barista on the register when a cute customer approaches. No more spilled milk, frappuccino base syrups, mocha and caramel drizzle on my apron every after peak. No more going to support center for DCM workshop. No more exciting store meeting prior to Christmas Promotion. And by that, no more Peppermint Mocha and Toffeenut Latte for FREE. I spent 5 Christmases in a shift and that means I worked for the last 5 of my birthdays and even if the store was packed with people, my tears could only silently roll down because the partners never failed to make me feel special on my birthday. No more annual dinners. No more loud, fun and nothing-but-good-vibes-only shift, be it opening, mid or closing. No more after-shift food trip and no more after-shift inuman. No more turning down the bucket for the road because you have to open the store the next morning (though I always ended up taking it anyway) no more dark chocolate macadamia cookie when I’m holding hands with my anxiety. No more getting inspired feelings every time there’s a coffee tasting.

No more.

I also opened 2 premium Reserve store in the Philippines. Wow, right!

I’m deadly gonna miss it all. I am leaving a great company and I am feeling a lot of mixed emotions about leaving — even if this is 100% right move for me. Change is hard that it has a tendency to produce nostalgic feelings. So to all people who have been a part of this one of a kind amazing coffee journey, small or big, I thank you for all the opportunities you’ve given me in the course of the last 5 years. You guys created a climate that makes it easier for me to go to work each morning.

My last closing shift. Locking the door is like leaving all my benefits as a partner.

And someday, whether I come back again as a partner or just as a customer, I know that the doors of any Starbucks store will always be open to welcome me home.

So then, coolest Starbucks Barista ever existed yet, is now clocking out from his last day of duty.

Thank you for the inspired moments, fam! Love always xx

My 2017 District Partner of the Year plaque. I never would have thought I will get this elusive award.

Bringing with me our memories together,

Marron xx


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      1. Grepz

        Hi I’m a Starbucks Partner here in Boracay International Airport. I read it until the end and I was like wow, you’re an SS, DCM pa, sa R store pa haii. You’re so blessed, GOD bless sa next journey mo. May all your dreams come true. 🙂 Someday, kung makita kita, papaturo po ako mag Latte art at CT haha. Ramdam ko na masaya kang kasama sa shift. Soar high partner! 🙂

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          Marron Santillan

          Awww thank you partner! Grabe ang goal ko lang eh i-post to to let my friends know that I resigned, hindi ko naman alam na aabot pa pala ng Boracay. Salamat! And good luck on your coffee journey.

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  1. Casey Encomienda

    Nice and inspiring blog. Good luck on your next journey. Like you, I love to travel and I work just to fund my travels. Hahaha. Go and explore the world.

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      Marron Santillan

      Thank you so much for reading, Casey! I’m happy I made you inspired. That’s really the goal of this blog. I wish you a safe and fulfilling moments on your upcoming travels!

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  2. Joy

    Im from boracay store and i have been so emotional reading this too. Youve become an inspiration to everyone and the Starbucks door is always open for you not maybe as a partner but a friend who knows you. Good luck on your next journey and may our dear God will bless you always.

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      Marron Santillan

      This poss has reached Boracay partners it’s insane 😭 I remember during one of our Reserve orientation, I get to meet your manager there! We call her Mani 😊 Such a nice manager. Anyway, thank you so much for reading and for dropping a comment. I appreciate it!

  3. ICE

    Definitely worth reading. Actually, I just applied as a barista for Starbucks few days ago and I still need to pass two more interviews. Coincidentally, the first option that I have written on the locations that I would gladly be assigned to is the same branch as yours (Charbel). I was really inspired by your blog and I really hope I pass and become a partner, too.

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