Adam Singleton, 27, has worked at the Starbucks Coffee Corporation for five years. For the past four he has been a shift supervisor. His work includes organizing, planning, and problem-solving within the standards and daily routine that come with working in a Starbucks coffee shop. The following interview explores his thoughts on the relationship between his faith and his work.
Anna Harris: What does a good day at work look like for you?
Adam Singleton: A good day at work is when there is the appropriate number of partners (Editor’s Note: Starbucks employees are called partners) needed to work the floor for the volume of customers. I’ve done a good job when I successfully lead, direct and serve the other baristas in their serving of customers and accomplishing tasks in a timely manner.
I love it when there is interaction and bantering back and forth between the customers and partners but especially when it occurs between the partners. I know it’s a good day when seeing us work together, customers say, “you all have fun at your job.”
AH: How do you see your Christian faith interacting with your career as a barista?
AS: Since I didn’t come to Christ until after a year into working at Starbucks, I have seen a noticeable difference between who I was at work before Christ and who I am at work with Christ. Although I don’t do this 100% of the time, I strive to always serve people well—whether it is customers or partners. Recently, I have wrestled with why it is so easy to serve my partners and our regular customers and why I struggle to serve rude or dismissive customers. I think this inability stems from my own pride and selfishness. There is no doubt that God uses my position and interactions to shape me into the image of His Son.
AH: What would you say is the thing God has called you to do in your present circumstance?
AS: God has called me to love others and love Him. I have unique gifts and abilities that I am responsible for using to love and serve others. I think I am at a place that allows me to love and serve my sister, brother-in-law and my two nieces and those around me.
AH: What has God called you to do in your job?
AS: Someone once told me that they thought it was time for me to “be faithful with a few things.” This is still true for me today. God isn’t going to ask me how far I climbed the corporate ladder in Starbucks. I believe He will ask me how I loved people and served others in whatever position He placed me. God has called me to love people, whether they are partners or customers, to work hard, and to show and share the grace that has been given to me.
AH: How has your own sense of calling developed in your work?
AS: I think that my calling always comes back to God and what He has called me to do in my job. The Scripture’s have shaped how I think about my work, how I should relate to customers, and how I should relate to those I work with. The epistles speak a lot about to the work that we do, the reason that we do it and the quality that it should be. Reading the Scriptures reminds me that my work needs to be shaped by the Gospel—that they are not separate.
AH: What specific moment are you proud of in your career as a barista? Why?
AS: I think one of the things that I am most proud of in regards to work is when a new store was opening and my current manager was asked to open it. She had asked me to join her as one of three shift supervisors. The doors were going to open only a few days before she had planned on being gone for two weeks at a leadership conference and then vacation. So, after being open for only a few days, our store had no manager, an Assistant Manager who had only been with the company for a few months and was not fully trained, and its partners were 18 people from 10 different stores who had never worked together. We were thrown all together into a top grossing drive thru with tons of kinks and wrinkles that needed to be ironed out. For two weeks, I was the operating manager and the point person for the baristas, other supervisors, and our assistant manager. It showed me that I was capable of managing a store even though I did not have the official title.
AH: Are there tensions or complexities that you come across when you think about your work as being part of God’s work?
AS: I struggle with believing that giving someone a cup of coffee is doing God’s work. I do believe that being intentional and relational with customers and partners is part of God’s work. Jesus Christ came in the flesh and He hung out with people. The Bible doesn’t record all of the moments that Jesus had with the disciples and I’m sure all the laughs, crying, and parties aren’t included. However, the Bible is very clear that Jesus came to be with people and relate to them. I am in a position that I get step into peoples’ daily lives, speak a kind word, pray for someone who is hurting or lost, be encouraged by other believers and be a lighthouse that hopefully guides others to Christ.
Anna Harris is a recent grad from Geneva College in Pennsylvania who is
always looking for opportunities for adventure and stories. She graduated
with a B.A. in communications with a writing concentration, which she
thinks is funny that she still puts in her bios. She has written various
freelance articles for her school newspaper, blogs, and other online news