Cafe work is HARD. And tiring. It is NOTHING like retail. When there are no customers, I have a load of chores, most of them physically demanding, to be done. Cleaning (LOTS!), stocking, while constantly being aware of customers' needs. I'm on the move every minute while I'm at work. Once I've learned and achieved my pace, I can pretty much cruise along with my work - except that there's never a shift without surprises.
What keeps me at my job? My strong belief in the importance of the institution of the coffeehouse as an important part of culture.