Why You Should Work At A Locally Owned Business

Why You Should Work At A Locally Owned Business

It is the best kind of first job.
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Your first job: it’s either a horror story or must-visit every time you go home. A couple of years ago, I started looking for a job. Something that would provide a little more stability than babysitting here and there. I looked at some big name places in my hometown, some chain coffee shops and a couple of retail stores. There was a little Mediterranean café at the end of the street that I had heard of a few times but had only actually been in a couple of times for a quick cup of coffee. So, I figured I would check it out and see if they were hiring. Turns out a friend worked there, and so I applied. The boss was almost as intimidating as the menu which I knew nothing about and couldn’t pronounce. I offered no experience in the food industry. I was asked if I could start in the next week.

Training was terrifying and overwhelming and I thought for sure that I was doing every single thing wrong. If this is how you feel in the first few weeks of a job, stick it out. Give it a few months. Give your new coworkers and your new boss and your new customers a few months. If your experience is anything like mine, I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Since deciding to stick it out, I learned how to make a cappuccino with the perfect steamed milk to foamed milk ratio. I learned how to (sort of) pronounce everything on the menu. I figured out just how long to warm up the different flatbreads so that the dough was just right. I learned how to deal with customers who I didn’t really want to deal with. I built friendships with all of the regulars. I learned how to remember people’s names and how much it can brighten someone’s day when you know their name, and when they know yours.

Of course, like any job, working at the café taught me important life skills. It taught me how to manage my time. It taught me how to work with people and how to work for someone. These are all skills you will learn no matter what company you work with. But I worked for a boss who owned the café, cooked the food, and hired the employees. That made all the difference. Working at a locally owned business taught me how much behind the scenes work goes into owning a restaurant.

Work at a locally owned business so that you can befriend your boss. If you’re as lucky as I am, this will mean that she will cook food for you whenever you want it, even if it’s five minutes before close. Working at a locally owned business provides flexibility with hours that larger companies can’t accommodate. It also provides you with the opportunity to learn a variety of new skills, not just one. I didn’t just learn how to make lattes, or just learn how to take orders, or just learn how to serve food. I got to do it all, sometimes on rainy days when there wasn’t a line, and sometimes on days when the phone just wouldn’t stop ringing.

Work at a locally owned business so that you can get to know your coworkers, and so that when someone moves away, you can get all of your friends to interview. Getting paid to work with your closest friends is seriously as good as it gets.

Work at a locally owned business because it will push you far out of your comfort zone. You will have to know everything like the back of your hand, but it will be so worth it. You will build relationships and walk away with so many skills that I am thankful to have. If you’re lucky enough, your boss might even let you work when you come home for Christmas break and might even send you a care package with all of the food that you still can’t really pronounce but miss dearly.

If you’re ever on Belmont Street in Belmont, MA, stop by Seta’s Mediterranean Café and grab a Mano for lunch, or a Hannah Bowl for brunch. Don’t forget to ask for lavash with garlic sauce!

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Cook

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A Letter To My Humans On Our Last Day Together

We never thought this day would come.
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I didn't sleep much last night after I saw your tears. I would have gotten up to snuggle you, but I am just too weak. We both know my time with you is coming close to its end, and I just can't believe it how fast it has happened.

I remember the first time I saw you like it was yesterday.

You guys were squealing and jumping all around, because you were going home with a new dog. Dad, I can still feel your strong hands lifting me from the crate where the rest of my puppy brothers and sisters were snuggled around my warm, comforting puppy Momma. You held me up so that my chunky belly and floppy wrinkles squished my face together, and looked me right in the eyes, grinning, “She's the one."

I was so nervous on the way to my new home, I really didn't know what to expect.

But now, 12 years later as I sit in the sun on the front porch, trying to keep my wise, old eyes open, I am so grateful for you. We have been through it all together.

Twelve “First Days of School." Losing your first teeth. Watching Mom hang great tests on the refrigerator. Letting you guys use my fur as a tissue for your tears. Sneaking Halloween candy from your pillowcases.

Keeping quiet while Santa put your gifts under the tree each year. Never telling Mom and Dad when everyone started sneaking around. Being at the door to greet you no matter how long you were gone. Getting to be in senior pictures. Waking you up with big, sloppy kisses despite the sun not even being up.

Always going to the basement first, to make sure there wasn't anything scary. Catching your first fish. First dates. Every birthday. Prom pictures. Happily watching dad as he taught the boys how to throw every kind of ball. Chasing the sticks you threw, even though it got harder over the years.

Cuddling every time any of you weren't feeling well. Running in the sprinkler all summer long. Claiming the title “Shotgun Rider" when you guys finally learned how to drive. Watching you cry in mom and dads arms before your graduation. Feeling lost every time you went on vacation without me.

Witnessing the awkward years that you magically all overcame. Hearing my siblings learn to read. Comforting you when you lost grandma and grandpa. Listening to your phone conversations. Celebrating new jobs. Licking your scraped knees when you would fall.

Hearing your shower singing. Sidewalk chalk and bubbles in the sun. New pets. Family reunions. Sleepovers. Watching you wave goodbye to me as the jam-packed car sped up the driveway to drop you off at college. So many memories in what feels like so little time.

When the time comes today, we will all be crying. We won't want to say goodbye. My eyes might look glossy, but just know that I feel your love and I see you hugging each other. I love that, I love when we are all together.

I want you to remember the times we shared, every milestone that I got to be a part of.

I won't be waiting for you at the door anymore and my fur will slowly stop covering your clothes. It will be different, and the house will feel empty. But I will be there in spirit.

No matter how bad of a game you played, how terrible your work day was, how ugly your outfit is, how bad you smell, how much money you have, I could go on; I will always love you just the way you are. You cared for me and I cared for you. We are companions, partners in crime.

To you, I was simply a part of your life, but to me, you were my entire life.

Thank you for letting me grow up with you.

Love always,

Your family dog

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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The Method Behind My Madness

How running is my favorite prescription

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High school put us in a box. I graduated with about 500 other students, so I guess my four corners were pretty big. By senior year, we thought that we had such control of our personality and destiny because of the seemingly vast experiences we had. However, we often forgot that we grew up beside these people, with few to none new faces. Everyone had their 'thing', whether it was sports, band, arts, or just being really academically gifted, everyone had a safe spot. A confined box of personality traits that were associated with their passion. I am not trying to put high school down in any way, I loved high school. I am more spectating how cool it was to have easily found a category that came with an identity. Because when you get to college, the box becomes spherical, a.k.a. the whole world is yours.

I remember during primary recruitment in middle August of my freshman year, I was asked what my passions were. And since I was months out of high school, I instinctively answered the question by talking about my love for soccer and memories from cross country. Obviously, I could not answer this for the rest of my life since the older I got, the farther away from my glory days I was. Luckily my dad had shown me that I could go on runs without having to chase a ball or to be on a team. Every morning during freshman year, I got up and explored on foot. That routine carried over to sophomore year and I was excited to find three other women in my house that had a burning itch to go for a run.

I am constantly asked why I run or how I do it. And honestly, I do not run for physical health reasons. Yes, I want my heart to be stronger and I hope to live a long healthy life, but I do not train for running yearly races, or to increase my speed, or to decrease my time. Being a health nut is far from my vocabulary and I have lots of things to prove it. Chicken tenders are my favorite food and I can eat chips and salsa like they are the main course at Mexican restaurants (feel free to fact check that with literally anyone!) Running is my new safe spot. People often say that I am crazy for going on daily runs, but I think that running keeps the crazy away. My mental health is pretty strong and I attribute that to running. Something about the combination of fresh air and sweating it out makes my problems not feel so big. For me, going on runs are catalysts for idea generating, solutions to mentally solving any problems, space from living in a house with 60 women (love you all so much), and my personal favorite: endorphins.

People always comment on how they would never run every single day or that running is not for them or that they cannot understand why I like to run. I know that they are just making conversation and not intentionally putting me down, however, sometimes I feel like I have to defend myself. So I have thought about it and come to a conclusion. Running cures all my bad moods and reduces my anxious mind. Concentrating on productivity, being a kinder human, and having an abundance of patience is all because of a little vitamin D and a lot of salty sweat. I am so fortunate to have found a recipe that is so simple to help me get on top of my life and destress from the hectic day. I genuinely hope that everyone finds the formula to keep away their gray days, and if anyone is inspired to go for a short jog after reading this, come find me and I probably already have my running shoes on.

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