What’s the best way to find fulfillment after retirement? For these partners (employees), the answer is beginning a second career with Starbucks and interacting with customers every day.
‘I found myself missing the interaction with people’
For 45 years, Marilyn DiPasquale was committed to educating children in Topeka, Kansas. She taught fifth grade and special education, and was a school administrator and instructional technologist before retirement.
“For the first eight months after I stopped working I was okay,” said DiPasquale. “But after that, I found myself missing the interaction with people. I missed the kids, teachers and parents.”
While visiting her local Starbucks during the holidays two years ago, she saw a hiring sign in the window.
“I was curious about working as a barista, but I wasn’t sure if they would hire someone my age,” DiPasquale said. “I spoke with my daughter who works for Starbucks and she assured me that the company values diversity and hires all kinds of people.”
Without hesitation, DiPasquale reached out to the store manager who encouraged her to apply online. After interviewing, she joined the company in February of 2015.
“I completely enjoy the change of pace at Starbucks,” she said. “I have relationships with young people again, but in a completely different environment.”
DiPasquale has found that she can lean on her past experience in education when connecting with partners and customers.
“I enjoy the relationships I have especially with young people that I missed after leaving the education field,” she said. “I was able to take a bit of the past and combine it with my future.”
‘The best part of my job is that I feel young again’
In Malaysia, Doris Yap Ae Hua supported her husband’s business before she retired. A friend introduced her to a store manager at Starbucks who shared many stories about the company that piqued her interest. Eleven years later, she is a Starbucks partner who has worked in six different stores across the country in Southeast Asia.
“Life was not as interesting for me especially after my kids grew up,” said Yap Ae Hua. “When I interviewed for Starbucks, I wasn’t expecting to receive a job offer, but they requested that I start work right away.”
Yap Ae Hua serves a special role in her store at Berjaya Times Square, a busy mall in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. She focuses on arranging merchandise and making sure that the store is tidy at all times.
“The best part of my job is that I feel young again,” said Yap Ae Hua. “It’s really fun working with an energetic team of young and lively partners.”
To encourage more partners like Yap Ae Hua to return to the workforce, Starbucks Malaysia launched the VIP Program last year to attract candidates who are 55 years of age and above. As part of the program, the company provides flexible work hours and other benefits for seniors. There are currently 10 “VIP” partners working in Starbucks Malaysia stores, the oldest being 73.
“The VIP Program started because we care about the elderly people in our society,” said June Beh, director of Partner Resources for Starbucks Malaysia. “Initially our goal was to provide them a stable source of income, but now more importantly, these partners are enjoying the recognition and sense of achievement that their jobs bring to them.”
‘Don’t be afraid of a post-retirement career’
Bob Leslie was working at an accounting firm in Toronto when he returned to the small town of Belleville, Ontario to take over the family business in 1979.
“My father became gravely ill, so I decided it was time for me to get involved in Leslie’s Shoe Store, which my grandfather started in 1919,” he said.
For more than 18 years, Leslie managed the business until the recession in the late 1980s began taking a financial toll.
“I joined a worldwide water treatment company as Vice President of Finance and Human Resources for additional income, while still trying to keep the shoe store a float,” said Leslie.
The water treatment company prospered while the family business continued to decline. Leslie was forced to close the shoe store in 1997. He continued with his corporate job until an illness forced him to retire in January 2012. By July of that same year, however, he was recovering and wanted to find work to help his family recover financially.
“A friend gave me the book, “How Starbucks Saved My Life,” which mirrors my story quite a bit,” said Leslie. “I went down to my local Starbucks and asked the manager if she would consider hiring a more senior person on a part-time basis.”
Three and a half years later, Leslie is enjoying a fulltime role as a shift supervisor at Starbucks.
“I fell in love with the company and the culture,” he said. “I have the greatest job in the world because it doesn’t feel like work at all. It keeps me energized.
Leslie has made many new friends at his store – partners and customers alike. He hopes to continue moving up in the company and perhaps even work for Starbucks stores in other parts of Canada.
“My advice to other people who are considering a return to work is simple,” said Leslie. “Don’t be afraid of a post retirement career. Just take a deep breath and go for it. You will get so much satisfaction out of it and you will be met with the most wonderful experiences.”