I’ve had many painful experiences, as well as positive ones, from working in customer oriented positions. Even though these jobs can be physically and mentally taxing, I’ve learned so many valuable life lessons that I’ve been able to take with me. If you’ve ever worked in one of these jobs, you’ll understand where I’m coming from.
You Won’t Like People When They’re “Hangry”
In case you’ve never heard of the term “hangry”, Urban Dictionary defines it as, “When you are so hungry that your lack of food causes you to become angry, frustrated or both.” It sounds trivial, but hanger is a very real thing. When I worked in fast food, I constantly saw people at their absolute worst. Many times, I’d see the transition of a very mean woman ordering at the cash register, to an absolute angel five bites into her burrito. I know we all become impatient when we’re hungry (including me), but even Gandhi managed to be civil when he went on a hunger strike.
Patience is a Virtue
Having patience in this world is extremely important, especially when we live in a “I want it now!” culture. Patience can range from being patient with customers, dealing with slow technology, or even just waiting in a crowded line. Everyone thinks the world needs to revolve around them to a degree. The ironic part about that school of thought, is that in reality barely anyone else actually cares about your wants and desires. Since people in the service industry are getting paid to care about the wants of others, they often get the brunt of customers’ frustrations. That brings me to my next point…
Treat People the Way You’d Like to Be Treated
At the end of the day we’re all human! Remember that the person behind the counter at Wendy’s is just like you and me. We all laugh, cry, smile, and frown with the same organs and senses. Just because you want a combo #4 does not mean you own that particular employee. That sounds like common sense, but you would be surprised at how entitled some customers are. On the other hand, if you are an employee don’t be rude to your customers (especially those that don’t deserve it)! I had to smile and apologize to some real jerks in my 6 years of working in food and retail. Having these experiences, I try to go out of my way to be friendly and polite to other workers in the service industry. That’s why nothing makes me more irritated than when a waiter or server is rude to me for no reason at all. I’m not even a picky eater, so they can’t use that excuse!
Clean Up After Yourself
I’ll admit I can be a messy eater, but I always clean up after myself in public. People can just be plain gross. When you see parents not cleaning up after their kids or not scolding their kids for making a mess, you can only wonder, “Does thou hath no shame?” I’ve actually developed a love/hate relationship with chopped cilantro and onions for this reason. Do you know how hard it is to sweep that stuff off of tile flooring? It’s nearly impossible. You know who doesn’t care? I would say at least 75% of Rubios’ clientele. Even though some of the worst messes I’ve seen are from working in food, there were enough times that retail gave me a run for my money. A former coworker of mine found a dirty diaper in our clearance section one time. I was just glad that I was given a different department that day.
Try Not to Take Things Too Personally
As I mentioned earlier, people like to take their frustrations on people who are forced to listen. Sometimes this can be your customers and sometimes this can be upper management. A customer’s credit card might get declined, and all of a sudden you’re getting yelled at as if you work for Master Card. The same day your boss may have gotten in an argument with her husband, and all of a sudden she snaps at you because he forgot to pay the electricity bill. These are all situations that are literally out of your control. Even though it sucks, you have to learn to inhale, exhale, and wait to scream until you get in your car on your lunch break.
Infographic of the Week:
Question of the Week:
What’s a lesson that your previous jobs have taught you?