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  • When is a barista too old?

    Hey

    Ive been on this site a couple of times talking about the difficulties Ive had getting a job making coffee/getting into the coffee industry.Last time I posted a message here  someone asked me to come in for an interview for a barista position he had available in his cafe.I sent him my resume via email,and he sent me back an email basically saying that,at 40,I was too old,and that it would be "too hard to teach an old dog new tricks"as he had had problems once before with an older employee. I could understand his wariness,but assured him that when it came to coffee,I was totally open to learning everything I could.I never heard back from him.So I was wondering,how do other people feel about that?Am I over the hill,past it,flogging a dead horse etc etc,or should age be no barrier to making a good coffee?


  • #2
    Re: When is a barista too old?

    One would think that experience would make for a better barista. My spouse applied for a job at a coffee shop and was basically stopped at the start due to age. It did not fit the corporate image >. Perhaps they have not read the Discrimination Act properly .

    Nor have they taken into account that the more experience one has with coffee the more one realises how much there is still to learn. As a manager I have had experience with older workers joining my industry and whilst they present some challenges with changing their practices they have become valued employees and are much more reliable that some of the younger employees (not all).

    It is probably obvious that I am well over 40 ;D ;D

    I hope your next experience is more rewarding - keep trying.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: When is a barista too old?

      I reckon the the guy was a discriminatory idiot for rejecting you purely on the basis of age, & not at least giving you a go on a trial basis.

      In an industry that is notorious for high turnover, I cannot fathom why employers would prefer flighty younger people to more settled, reliable older people with more life experience. :-?

      Be perserverant PJ - someone will eventually see your worth. Good luck

      Tony (a 39 yr old self-employed barista)

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: When is a barista too old?

        I got a part time job last year with no commercial experience.
        I was 47 then.

        My take is that sometimes the young ones are harder to teach because they arent mature enough.
        For example, its easier to teach a 25 year old karate than a 10 year old.
        True though that teaching an arthritic 60 year old would be difficult.

        If speed speed and stamina are a requirement he may have an argument but its silly to say you couldnt learn.

        When I was a delivery driver for Pizza Hut the most reliable drivers were the old blokes.
        We never missed a shift whereas the young ones either got distracted by "more important" things or their cars broke down.
        I worked there for 6 years.
        My employee number was 3 digit, by the time I left numbers were in the 20,000s.
        That shows the turnover of mostly young people.

        Try talk him into a few trial shifts.
        Full pay rate (its illegal otherwise).
        Put it in writing if it makes him feel better.

        If you have it in writing that he said youre too old, you have grounds to sue for discrimination.
        If you are game enough you could use that to get your foot in the door.
        If youd be uncomfortable working there because of that then just sue the bastard and find a boss youd be happier to work with.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: When is a barista too old?

          Hey guys

          Thanks for the messages and the encouragement,its much appreciated.I dont have a huge amount of experience and this guy knew this,and was willing to give me a go,until he found out my age.i thought about pursuing the matter,and even thought about legal action,but decided that I really would not want to work with someone like that anyway. I have to say that I was a little discouraged at first but I do believe something will come up.See,being older is a good thing,you dont give up as easily!

          Tony,would love to hear how you became self -employed

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: When is a barista too old?

            Hi PJ,

            For me the answer to your question is an easy one- and it applies equally to baristi and cafe owners...

            You are too old when your mind is closed to new ideas and learning.....

            Chris

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            • #7
              Re: When is a barista too old?

              Sounds like we know who is really too old in PJs story.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: When is a barista too old?

                The guy is probably just stingy and doesnt want to pay you a full wage, when he can get a junior (under 21) for much much less.

                Being a junior (18 years old) this really really annoys me, I can work just as hard (harder most of the time) than the 22, 23 etc. at work but because I am 18 I only have to be paid 3/4 of their wage.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: When is a barista too old?

                  Though it wont help your cause PJ,.. you can quietly laugh at the reality that this guys opinion of what is too old....will shift with time...

                  Hang in there and keep trying.. youll do it!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: When is a barista too old?

                    Dont let it get to you PJ. Im guessing the employer was younger than you and that in itself could be difficult for that person - sometimes a younger boss finds it hard giving direction to an older employee.

                    The bit about being too old to learn is has been proven to be incorrect. There is a long list of famous people who didnt enter their field till in their 60s and beyond.

                    Pity that some employers like this one, dont consider facts like: older employees are more likely to stay around longer, take less sick leave, have fewer incidents of workers comp claims, are at least as, or more productive than their juniors, etc.

                    Might be hard to appreciate right now, but youre lucky you didnt get that particular job.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: When is a barista too old?

                      Originally posted by 2muchcoffeeman link=1209275105/0#5 date=1209280739
                      Hi PJ,

                      For me the answer to your question is an easy one- and it applies equally to baristi and cafe owners...

                      You are too old when your mind is closed to new ideas and learning.....

                      Chris
                      I whole heartedly agree with this comment. Youre too old when youre unwilling to accept new ideas. However, as someone who works in the specialty coffee industry, I know what cafe owners are after. Theyre after young, fun going, funky and hard working staff. A lot of people get knocked back for FOH positions because theyre too old for this very reason.

                      PJ, unfortunately youll experience this at 99% of the places you apply for. As for forcing their arm (as per thundergod suggestion), thats really up to you....but Im not sure if this is the best way of getting your foot in the door.

                      Good luck,

                      David

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: When is a barista too old?

                        I stopped putting my age and date of birth on my cv when I was in my late 30s I also started dropping the older jobs off my cv at that time. I figured that if I got to interview then theyd have to at least talk to me and its much easier face to face to work out if youd suit each other. Age plays less of a factor once you get talking.

                        I agree with the others, hang in there and youll find something good, where you and the employer actually get along - which is pretty important IMO.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: When is a barista too old?

                          I say again that last year at the age of 47 and with the cafe owner sending me packing after he asked if Id had any experience and me answering in the negative, I still managed to convince him to let me make him a coffee.
                          That got me a seat and more of an interview.
                          Pictures of my home gear had him thinking I was mad but convinced him to give me a go.
                          (I have done a course.)

                          Persist.

                          Youll get there.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: When is a barista too old?

                            Thanks again to everyone for their messages,all very thought provoking and inspiring! Yeah,I think Im going to start modifying my resume,so at least I can get to actually meet people.And I agree that youre only old when you stop being open to learning.

                            I figured that people would probably want young funky people ,I get that,and I certainly dont want to start my coffee career on a negative note,like trying to force my way into a job.And Iagree that its unfair that younger people get paid less for the same job-mad!!

                            Anyway,thanks again,I feel much better about it all now.Cheers

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: When is a barista too old?

                              Im 41 and Im making the best coffee of my life - & even though Ive been making coffee for longer than many of my staff have been alive I still have a lot to learn!

                              Pat

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