Thursday, December 3, 2009

Our work is like a cappuccino (or Coffee latte)

I don't remember where I picked that up years ago, but I liked this description: Our work is like a cappuccino. The coffee, that's our day job, what we do fro 9 to 5 and where me make a living from. Then we have some other work, we do that in our free time or on weekends, where we create websites for others, repair cars, sell art, whatever. We like that work, and we make some money from. We call it the milk foam or cream on top. And then there is the work we do as a volunteer, helping elderly people in the neighborhood, organizing summer camps, joining school committees. We like it, but there is no money coming from. That's the chocolate on top.

Now, my work was pretty much like a cappuccino for years. I worked for a newspaper, got well payed, did some public relations on the side where I got some money to buy a new computer or stuff like that, and then I was organizing rock music events and stand up comedy nights, what I liked a lot, but what actually cost me money.

The change
I actually first changed my coffee taste. I switched from Cappuccino to Coffee latte. A Coffee latte is made out of one or two shots espresso and then a huge amount of milk. And I thought by myself, why not changing my work like that: Having some work like and espresso, where still a lot of money is coming from but in less time, and using the remaining time for the kind of work what you like, but is less paid? The hot milk? (Ok, you still can put chocolate on top)

The situation in Vietnam

Cappuccino and Coffee latte isn't well known in Vietnam, people here are drinking Ca Phe sua da, that means Coffee with sweet milk and ice. But that actually describes their work as well. The very strong coffee is the daily hard work people are doing here. There is only a small amount of that sweet milk, where they can make money on the side. But there is a lot of ice in the glass, and thats the family duties: Caring for the parents and relatives, borrowing money to family members, helping them out with other stuff. No chocolate work, because you don't really like it.

In Germany we used to have filter coffee, usually black. Even that fits if you see German people are very focussed on their work, drinking strong coffee without any milk and sugar, only doing their job. Hmm, what about the so called american coffee? That's left for the comments section...

(Pictures by Thomas Wanhoff,, under Creative Commons Licence

1 comment:

Mush Heads said...

American coffee can be black, or with a couple spoonfuls of sugar, or sugar and cream (which is often just milk, or powered cream). The analogy which pretty well, for the most part. Myself, I love a good cappuccino or ice cappuccino. I've had many good cappuccino and (ice) ca phe sua da drinks in Vietnam. :-)