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Choosing Mexico Starbucks as Work Place sample essay

Getting employed is important to a person whether they are single or with families to feed. Being productive gives a person a sense of wellbeing, self-worth and dignity. Choosing a workplace is a two way process between the employer and the employee. The process of employment involves many facets of social structure and context since work environment is a big issue involved in the decision.

Being African-American poses another dimension in the employment environment. Though African-Americans have enjoyed equal opportunities, with the help of the civil rights movement, there is still employment discrimination found in other countries or other global companies. Racial categories prevail and African-Americans have better chance of getting jobs under non-professional occupations.

“The racial categories were simplistic: white, Negro and other races. African Americans (Negroes) represented 10 percent of the population (12.8 percent today) and held 38 percent of service and labor positions and 18.2 percent of operative positions. And they held just 5 percent of managerial positions. The numbers today show African Americans are still underrepresented in management and professional occupations and overrepresented in service and labor-intensive ones. More than one-third (33.6 percent) of all civilian workers are in management and professional jobs, yet African Americans hold only 25.2 percent of those positions, according to the 2000 Census.” (Massie, 2006)

Given this data, it is only fitting to think that an African-American like me has better chances to get a job if I look for non-managerial positions. However, this decision does not hinder me from choosing an employer that I feel will be truly deserving of my hard work at the same time will be as professionally nurturing. Global brands likes Starbucks is an example of a workplace that advocates equal opportunity and non-discriminatory environments. Starbucks would be an excellent place for an African-American like me to work in.

Working in Starbucks has a holistic employee package that suits my needs. “Starbucks Total Pay package is referred to as “Your Special Blend” because it is unique to each partner. Partners who work full time or part time (generally 20 hours or more per week) may participate in a variety of programs, and make choices based on individual needs and interests.

Depending on job and a partner’s personal situation, a partner’s total pay package may include: Progressive Compensation Package Healthcare Benefits (Medical, Prescription Drugs, Dental and Vision) Retirement Savings Plan Stock Options and Discounted Stock Purchase Plan Income Protection Plan (Life and Disability Coverage) Management Bonus Plan Adoption Assistance Plan Domestic partner benefits Referral programs and support resources for child and eldercare Discounted Starbucks merchandise And of course, all partners get a pound of coffee each week.” (Starbucks.com)

The next decision to be made is whether to work in Starbucks Canada or Starbucks Mexico. This decision needs careful concerns to be pointed out and tackled one at a time because working in another country is a big step and challenge to take. Uprooting one’s self and family due to work decisions involves emotional, psychological and financial considerations. Given that Starbucks is a global brand, it will be safe for me to assume that work ethics in one country would be more or less approximate Starbucks work ethics in another country.

The differences will lie in the nuances found in each country in focus. Considering the I am an African-American, it will be best for me to look at discriminatory levels in both countries because I would be spending time outside of Starbucks as well when I am off duty. It is important for me to be comfortable to the outside environments. The elements in the environment and my adaptability to it is of utmost important so that I can focus on my work rather than worry about my family’s acculturation to the new surroundings.

Mexico City is a most populated city in the world and its surrounding mountainous regions prevent air circulation, polluting the air environment even more. Automobile emission control laws are set but have yet to be fully implemented and enforced. Green spaces are less in Mexico City especially in low-income neighborhoods that maximize land use for public housing facilities. Managing social inequality, Mexico invests on policing efforts illustrated by an increase in police discretionary powers, employment of private security guards and provision of surveillance cameras. “Mexico City provides less state-sponsored collection, relying more on informal and private management, it diverts roughly the same proportion of collected waste to recycling.

While Mexico City transports water from outside the city, it cannot transport enough water due to geographic constraints. Mexico City is currently employing several innovative tactics to avoid a water shortage and to help make water distribution more equitable.” (ISERP, 2005) Though these factors may paint a not so favorable picture of Mexico’s physical and political environment, it is important to consider that the society of the city respects and accepts workers as member of society, even those unregulated ones.

In contrast, working in Canada poses a challenge to the decision that has yet to be made. Historically, majority of black immigrants went to Canada to seek freedom when segregation and slavery was rampant in America. Researchers continue to note the exact historical basis of Canada’s discriminatory policies based on the past events. An article explains contentions of how the blacks saw the condition in Canada during that time.

“Previous studies undertaken by such noted historians as Robin Winks, Jonathan Walton, and William and Jane Pease have concluded that for the vast majority of black immigrants–whether fugitive or free–Canada offered only discrimination, segregation, poverty, and oppression. This article contends that blacks encountered less discrimination and prejudice in Canada than in the United States and that in Canada they found the freedom they so desperately sought. Canada may not have been a perfect refuge, but it was better than the United States. (Hepburn, 1999)

Today, Canada ranks high in the scale of working environments around the globe but still plagued by problems brought about by the paradigms shifts happening around the world. “In Canada, only two-thirds of the employed workforce is in “standard” salaried jobs with no defined end date (mostly provided by large firms and the public sector). In this shrinking core job market, workers who have survived layoffs, privatization and contracting-out are generally working longer and harder. Employers have tried to increase profitability and competitiveness and to contain budgets by boosting productivity. This has been accomplished largely by increasing workloads.” (Jackson, 2002)

Huge differences in wages, job tenure, security, and working conditions continue to be a growing feature of working-class life. Precarious work is becoming more prevalent. Better-off workers worry about losing their jobs and being forced into a lower tier of the labor market. Lower down the ladder, those who survive by working longer hours and making other sacrifices blame those at the bottom. The poorest feel little solidarity with the rest of the class. The reduction of social services and rights and the lack of collective experiences of common struggle have helped to create a “disorganization” of the class, with a growing consciousness of resignation to and acceptance of the status quo, resulting in a search for individual solutions. (Gindin, 2004)

“Native peoples, visible minorities, women’s groups and the gay community constitute only a partial list of disadvantaged groups who are struggling to overcome what they perceive to be a legacy of societal discrimination in Canada. Their struggle has made the issue of discrimination a salient one, whose negative overtones are likely to impact advantaged and disadvantaged Canadians alike.” (Taylor, 1996)

As an African American, I value freedom. Freedom for African American is truly important and like many minorities in the US or in the world, the freedom of minorities, their rights and privileges have always been a topic that has needed vigilance. And since I would be part of non-management in Starbucks, it is important for me to consider the culture of management that prevails in the country in general as well. A summary of these management styles between Mexico and Canada is elaborated in the table below.

Table 1. Comparative Management Styles – Summary Table

Comparative Management Styles – Summary Table

AspectMexicoCanada/USA
Work/LeisureWorks to live.

Leisure considered essential for full life.

Money is for enjoying life.
Lives to work.

Leisure seen as reward for hard work.

Money often end in itself

Direction/DelegationTraditional manager is autocratic.

Younger managers starting to accept and delegate responsibility.

Subordinates used to being assigned tasks, not authority.
Managers delegate responsibility and authority.

Executive seeks responsibility and accepts accountability.

Theory vs. PracticeBasically theoretical mind.

Practical implementation often difficult.
Basically pragmatic mind.

Action-oriented problem-solving approach.

ControlStill not fully accepted.

Sensitive to being “checked upon.”

Sensitive to giving and receiving critical feed-back.
Universally accepted and practiced.

Critical feed-back expected and discussed.

LoyaltyMostly loyal to superior (person rather than organization).

Beginnings of self-loyalty.
Mainly self-loyalty.

Performance motivated by ambition.

StaffingFamily and friends are preferred due to trustworthiness.

Promotions based on loyalty to superior.
Relatives usually barred – No nepotism here!

Promotion based on performance.

CompetitionAvoids personal competition; favours harmony at work.Enjoys proving self in competitive situations.
Training &
DevelopmentTraining highly theoretical.

Few structured programs.
Training concrete, specific.

Usually structured programs.

TimeRelative concept.

Deadlines flexible.

“Manaña can mean “not today.”

What is happening now is more important than the future.
Literal imperative.

Deadlines and commitments are firm.

What is happening now is only important if it contributes towards the future.

PlanningMostly short term because of uncertain environment and sense of “now.”Mostly long-term in predicted environment.

Source: http://www.mexconnect.com/mex_/culmngt.html

It is truly compelling to make me chose Mexico as destination of to work in. Getting into Starbucks Mexico will be putting me and my family into the best of both worlds. I could imagine that with the environment inside and outside Starbucks, my workplace and the environment my family will be living in can provide a venue where African Americans would be most comfortable, productive and accepted. Many Americans and even Canadians have seen this element in Mexico as they compare living in Mexico compared to other cities in Latin America.

“The reason so many Americans and Canadians choose Mexico is because they can drive to Mexico in a car. A bigger reason is that Mexico is a bargain compared to the USA and Canada. But there are also a large number of Europeans in Mexico. Mexico is rich with history, steeped in culture, having perhaps a more pronounced culture than any other nation in Latin America with the exception of Brazil and Argentina.

Mexico has great food, great architecture and many areas with an excellent climate. Mexico is also modern, with better highways than many parts of latin America and an infrastructure that allows foreigners to connect via telephone and internet to the rest of the world. This level of infrastructure isn’t available in Nicaragua, nor in Guatemala, and this is a very important determining factor for the retiree who doesn’t want to be inconvenienced by inconveniences.” (Pearson, 2006)

Problems arise in many communities but Mexico proves that it is a country where workers better view diversity who live there. The diversity has been appreciated by Starbucks as it continues its advocacy of helping coffee farmers from plantation to cup schemes. It is an important criterion for me to choose the country where social responsibility is highest. And Mexico is a country where coffee is both grown and served as a part of a cultural heritage. And Starbucks efforts in Mexico have been appreciated by organizations like the USAID no less.

“USAID began its environmental activities in Mexico in 1989 and was the first bilateral donor to support the Mexican Government and conservation community’s efforts towards sustainable development,” said Adolfo Franco, administrator for Latin America, U.S. Agency for International Development. “Since then, USAID’s commitment to conservation and social welfare has grown stronger. USAID is proud to support the Starbucks – Conservation International partnership for the benefit of local communities living in one of Mexico’s important ecosystems. This Alliance approach is a new, creative way of doing business. It combines market forces and business interests to help improve the lives of rural people and the environment worldwide.” (Cheng, 2004)

Adding to this development, Starbucks in Mexico sees a lot of growth in terms of dealing with other organizations to alleviate the income of coffee farmers especially as world market prices has been an all time low. Keeping fair trade prices is a major challenge and where fairness is required, being an African American, I would be privileged to be working for a company that values equality and equity in a holistic context. And this effort is even cemented in Starbucks’ relations with organizations such as Oxfam America, CEPCO and the Ford Foundation.

“Oxfam America and CEPCO, Mexico’s largest cooperative of small-scale coffee producers, will implement the innovative partnership in the state of Oaxaca. Starbucks and the Ford Foundation have committed a total of $250,000 to the pilot for its first year. The comprehensive quality program will provide farmers with valuable technical assistance, market information and product quality feedback. Ultimately, the project seeks to build mutually understanding trading relationships between small-farmer fair trade cooperatives and coffee roasters in the U.S. specialty coffee industry. (Oxfam, 2002)

Summary

Every African-American lives freely on the face of this earth but due to racial discriminations yet prevailing in many communities, the choice of work and the place to live in is still an important and critical endeavor where many factors must be noted. The struggle to be part of a productive community is imperative. Working is an essential tool in maintaining ones self esteem and dignity.

With Starbucks Mexico, I believe that my talents will be appreciated and nurtured while I serve the visions of the company towards integrating diversity with social responsibility. Canada is a challenge due to its strictness in work ethics found in other stressful workplaces in Europe. At the least, as an African American, blending in the Mexican workplace will be less stressful since Mexico has historic experience of the struggle against racial discrimination just like my own culture.

Another factor that I personally value when choosing where to work is the employer’s social commitment to the environment that it directly works with. Since Mexico is a source of coffee for Starbucks, I see a lot of growth areas for career paths in Starbucks Mexico. As a team player, the more diverse, active and abundant the activities of the company I work for, the more skills, knowledge and commitment I could personally nurture. Routine work in the Starbucks stores can be challenging in terms of sustainability but knowing that Starbucks is not just selling coffee but selling an experience and sharing a social commitment, will help me love my job better and easier.

References

Cheng, Katherine. 2004. United States Agency for International Development Teams with Conservation International and Starbucks to Support Coffee Farmers and Promote Environmentally Friendly Coffee Cultivation http://www.celb.org/xp/CELB/news-events/press_releases/09272004.xml

Gindin, Sam. 2004. “Frozen in Neoliberalism’s Headlights: Labor and the Polarization of Options,” on October 22, 2004, at Auto21 Conference on Workers and Labor Markets in the Global Economy, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.

Hepburn, Sharon A Roger. 1999. Following the North Star: Canada as a Haven for Nineteenth-Century American Blacks. Michigan Historical Review, Vol. 25, 1999

ISERP, 2005. A Tale of Two Cities: Urban Sustainability in New York and Mexico http://www.iserp.columbia.edu/publications/press_releases/urban_sustainability.html

Jackson A. (2002). The Unhealthy Canadian Workplace. Paper given at The Social Determinants of Health Across the Life-Span Conference, Toronto, November 2002.

Kras, Eva. UPI. 2006. Comparing Management Differences: 
Mexico with Canada & the United States. http://www.mexconnect.com/mex_/culmngt.html

Massie, Michelle K. 2006. Rosa Parks, Civil Rights and the World of Work. Retrieved October 29, 2006 http://diversity.monster.com/afam/articles/rosaparksworker/

Oxfam, 29 July 2002. Starbucks, Ford Foundation, Oxfam America and CEPCO Announce Innovative Collaboration to Increase the Supply of High Quality Fair Trade Coffee. http://www.oxfamamerica.org/newsandpublications/press_releases/archive2002/art3007.html

Pearson, Dru. 2006. Retire In Mexico 
Live Better For Less Money 
By Dru Pearson http://www.escapeartist.com/e_Books/Mexico/Retire_In_Mexico.html

Taylor Donald et al. 1996. Personal/group discrimination discrepancy: towards a two-factor explanation. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, Jul 1996

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