Where do Erasmus University students end up? In this section, EU alumni talk about their career and life after graduation: what did they learn along the way? And in the process, we glean some useful tips on what you should or shouldn’t do when building a career for yourself.
Name: Celeste Andeweg (25)
Study: Graduated in Commercial Law in 2014, after first earning a bachelor’s degree in Law
Current job: Runs her own coffee shop in Barendrecht: ’t Ouwe Durp. “I’m always busy with the shop, even after business hours. People warned me I would never really have any time off. I remember thinking ‘it won’t be as bad as all that’ – well, forget about it.”
Career: She used to man the reception desk at the leisure park De Oude Maas in Barendrecht. The people whom she met there were having a good time, were relaxed and were always in for a chat. She enjoyed their company, while as a corporate lawyer, she would always be dealing with people with some issue or other. That’s when she put two and two together: she ‘wasn’t cut out for helping whiners with their problems.’ When a retail space in Barendrecht’s historic centre became available at the same time, she decided to become a coffee and tea barista at her own shop, which she runs with her husband.
Average score in the AD coffee ranking
“I was disappointed that we only scored ‘more than adequate’ in the coffee survey [Celeste ranks 65th in the list, eds.] published in the AD newspaper last Saturday, because I always go for 8-out-of-10 at the very least. Although it is nice to be judged by an objective third party every once in a while – it keeps you on your toes. And it’s heartening to know we were nominated by our customers. Apparently we serve the best cuppa in their book.”
Too straightforward for sales
“I’m good at getting people enthusiastic since I’m a very chatty person by nature. In my eyes, this trait doesn’t really suit a lawyer, but it does suit my role as hostess. Although I do feel like a social worker occasionally, when customers start telling me their whole life story.”
“You could say my enthusiasm comes in handy at the shop, where we sell all sorts of products linked to coffee or tea in some way. Although I’m probably too straightforward for sales. For example, if people are interested in an expensive coffee maker, and I don’t think it’s the right one for them, I tell them so. It may not be a smart move commercially speaking, but I owe it to my ‘moral compass’.”
Waste of my degree
“Sometimes I think it’s a pity that I’m not doing anything with my degree. Right now, I’m using my brain in a very different way, because the combination of retail and hospitality requires a lot of improvising. For example, which customer should you help first? What’s more: every aspect of the business needs to be taken care of: the coffee and tea need to taste right; you need to take good care of the espresso maker; create a friendly atmosphere. The most important thing is that everyone leaves in a good mood.”
No Wi-Fi on purpose
“Customers occasionally remark ‘how quiet’ it is. They’re right – and we do it on purpose. We want to create a setting where people can really meet one another. Sit back and relax; put your worries aside for a moment. To make it less tempting for customers to stare at their phones all the time, we decided not to offer Wi-Fi in the shop. Online interaction may be handy, but at the end of the day, talking face to face has more value.”