Small Meetings / by Rattaya Nagorski

I met with my general manager today at the most popular coffee shop chain in the world (assumed, of course), Starbucks. The weathered chairs went along with the stale air, it was early Monday morning and I imagined many small meetings was happening around me much like ours. Meetings of friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and even just a solitude of coffee moment among a small crowd.

We had these small meetings often before we opened the first restaurant. We continued these meetings at different restaurant tables on site throughout the year. It was somewhat refreshing to meet outside our normal four walls. It was nice to talk shop, drink some sugary coffee, and simply talk about work outside of work.

This is my first blog entry about my work life. It seems so strange to even think it is a work life when it has consumed my entire life, my entire being. I would like to think that running a restaurant was something I excelled at, something I understood fairly well, and I wanted to combine my passion of writing and my work life together. The phrase "If you love what you do, it doesn't feel like working." OK, I'm definitely butchering the phrase, but I'm beginning to see the truth in that phrase. Often times I would wake up with a jolt, suddenly nervous, thinking I was supposed to be at work or I had missed a shift. Then I would realize, wait, I was just fine and that I made my own schedule.

We started small talks of opening our second restaurant. The words floated in the air throughout the last few weeks, and even more now at this particular meeting. We were meeting to look at a site, quite far away, both distance and the possibility of it even happening. Was I ready to go through all the chaos, emotions, and physical challenges again? Could we even get a realistic loan? Could we go through all this with much less verbal fights and frustrations?

My GM, Ben, smiled. He was ready and excited. But I was the one that would carry the financial burden. My current debt was still so deep right now with the first restaurant. Once again: could we do this again?

"We're building an empire," he said. "I love it."