Career transitions and meaningful work: a convo with Lot Sixty One’s head barista Dani

Dani from Lot Sixty One Coffee Roasters Amsterdam

“I’ve always gravitated towards the introvert side, but working at Lot has balanced things out. I’d say that I’m currently 40% introvert and 60% extrovert” Dani reveals while we were arranging the setup for the interview that we shot together at Lot Sixty One Coffee Roasters in Amsterdam. The head barista and manager of the cafe at bustling Kinkerstraat is as precise in analyzing himself as he is when steaming the milk or maneuvering the coffee machine. On or off duty, Dani always looks focused, almost grave. “Lately, I’m trying to smile more,” he says, and this is one of those details that give away how much coffee, for him, is about being of service. Rather than showing off his skills, he prioritizes attention to customer service.

In his past life as a marketing analyst, Dani didn’t have to care for such interpersonal subtleties. He had to deliver. The corporate work ethic was perhaps useful when venturing out in a completely new career where he had zero network nor work experience. But his humbleness – his first job after corporate was at a bakery -, and drive to learn – he wrote a blog sharing the process – was what made the difference. I met him in 2016 when he was getting started in the third wave coffee scene, and watched him progress. Anno 2020, he has turned himself into a real coffee sommelier, and took the wheels of one of the most respected coffee establishments in the Netherlands. All of this in less than four years. Enough reasons to make me want to chat with Mr. Bordiniuc about career transitions and the journey to find meaningful work. All sprinkled with specialty coffee geekiness, of course.

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Ana Searches For Meaning is a series of interviews I run on my YouTube channel. If you’re feeling sassy, you should definitely subscribe. If you’re not, subscribe AND click the notification bell – there are a lot of videos coming up in which you can watch me fail and fail again, until eventually, I make something genuinely groundbreaking. Join me; it’s going to be amusing. As for the interview series: Ana Searches For Meaning is a video encyclopedia of sorts on how people I admire navigate life. These folks will be sharing their professional journeys or personal quests with us (sometimes both), along with the steps, the missteps, and the values that guide them. Also, I pledge to use enough B-roll and refrain from making never-ending sit-down videos with a cup of coffee in hand that I don’t actually drink from.

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