Saturday, October 25, 2008

Okay, so I had a thought today.
I don't really get why some jobs are considered better than others, you know, like, more important, more respected. We all have to do something to get by, right?
But we are led to believe that the CEO is more important, smarter and better educated than the waiter. The high powered attorney deserves better than the shampoo girl. And that the arrogant jerk of a football player works harder and therefore should be paid better than the preschool teacher (ha!).
I'll tell you why I thought this. I filled out this stupid survey on myspace about my senior year of high school. You know, "who was your favorite teacher, who'd you go to prom with, what did you do for money?" And some of the questions are obviously followed by..."do you still talk to your prom date, what do you do now?"
So I'm filling it out, have a good ol' trip down memory lane, and I get to that last question...the one about what do you do now...and I hesitate. I was actually trying to figure out a way to spin "daycare provider" into something cooler.
Official Gold's Gym Staff Member
Alternative Classroom Teacher
Juvenile Circadian Custodian
And I sat there shocked at myself. I mean, I know that there are people I used to know on myspace that will read the survey. People I went to high school with, people I knew in college and people I knew in Chicago (where I had some really cool jobs)...I knew this. What I wasn't aware of until that moment was that I cared about what these people thought about my job. It was all very Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion. I panicked. I had to come up with something! "Yes, I work in daycare but did you know that I invented stamps?"
What is wrong with me? Why do I give a shit?
I don't know, I haven't figured it out yet. All I know is that I was actually ashamed to type out what I do for a living.
Is it because I wish I were still performing on a regular basis? Is it the money? Or is it the stereotype that goes with something like daycare? That idea that I am working in daycare and thinking about having kids sooner than later and I can see my diaper, carseat, booger, whiney, huggy, blankie, dolly, tantrum filled, never gonna work in the theatre again future life laid out before me?
No...but that apparently is the start of another blog.
I think it's because of this stupid hierarchy of jobs we seem to live by in this country. The idea that I may not be as qualified or as smart because I hang with kids. I must not have found something I'm really good at because I play games all day. I am not a successful person because I have memorized the entire opening sequence of Dora the Explorer
That's what I don't get. The CEO that is rude to the waiter? Gets spit in his drink. The high powered attorney who doesn't notice the shampoo girl? Gets bleach put in her conditioner. And the football player who thinks he's better because he makes all this money and can afford to send his kid off to the private school where the underpaid preschool teacher works? The jokes on him. While he's off "making money" and being a jerk she gets to be with his children.
I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. Yes I wish I made more money, yes I wish I had a more glamorous job, yes I want to be performing more...but in the meantime I get to watch Dora, hear about Halloween costumes and teach kids how to 'punch it in' and say "Peace out". I'm actually quite lucky in the sense that I don't have to work long hours in an office or on the phone. I get to go to work and play, cavort and generally be silly.
And I think that's pretty damn important.
Cause while that Executive is off getting tone and trim, working on his abs, while taking a sales call.....I get to hang out with his kids.

Monday, October 6, 2008

I should be working out.

But I just read a random blog and could not keep quiet. I found it through a blog of a friend and because I have no idea who this person is, I did not feel it appropriate to comment on her page. She was discussing giving up her dog. She had many reasons that she was wrestling with (some valid, some not) and I have to say it was a bit upsetting to read.
I will preface with this: I don't have a baby so I have NO idea what it is like to juggle a baby and a dog...but when I do decide to have a baby you bet your ass I will take into consideration how this new baby will affect every part of my life..including my dog. So here goes.
-You made a commitment. You didn't get a dog and realize two days later that you were allergic in a life threatening way, you got a dog many years ago when it was a puppy and now it is pushing old age for its breed...and you wanna get rid of it now, really?
-What people don't seem to realize is that a dog is very similar to a have to train it! A kid is not gonna walk up to a toilet one day and say "This is where I urinate, good luck to you diaper I now move on to my porcelain throne!"...just like a dog is not gonna stopping jumping on counters or people unless you train him not to. He's excited, he's hungry...he needs training! Some breeds in particular, it is not even a question that you need to put them in training the day you get them...and commit to it. Unlike kids...dogs do come with books! Read up on breeds before getting a may adore a particular kind of dog but maybe he's not the right breed for your lifestyle.
-Sometimes it is NOT that dog's fault. The dog keeps getting out of the fence? Get off your lazy butt and reinforce the fence or maybe you can't leave you dog unattended out in the yard..sorry. It's common sense!
-Crate training is imperative...and hard. My dog is not crate trained....therefore she is not completely housebroken...not her fault. I didn't stick with it. She whined once and I let her out. Because I am a dumbass. Dogs are den animals folks. They like it. They also like to be around HAVE to be diligent, but I promise you, it is the best thing you can do for house-braking and general training of your dog.
-I don't think dog sharing is a good idea...dogs get confused, just like us. They don't understand why they are being crated around from one place to another with different people...they lose trust and they act out. (of course I've not done research on this)
-Train your kids. Do you like getting your hair pulled? Didn't think so. We teach children to be kind and courteous to the people around them so why the heck don't we teach them to be kind and courteous to the animals around them too!?
I apologize if I offend anyone with this post. I don't live your life, I have no idea what stressful choices you have to make on a day to day basis. (And certainly I realize that sometimes there are extenuating circumstances.) What I do know is that I worked in a shelter for almost 2 years and I saw the scared, heartbroken, confused look on a dog's face when he had to leave his home because he got too big or was too much to handle. The dog is a part of the least mine is. She drives me bonkers when she pees on the carpet, gets into the garbage, and chews something she shouldn't. So we go back, we try again, like with any other love in your life, it is hard work but you don't give up.
Make good choices, please. If you are not willing to care for a dog for it's entire life...don't get one!

"Customers don't expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong"-Donald Porter

I have no idea who Donald Porter is. But I appreciate what he has to say. Of all the years that I worked in some sort of customer service related field, I have to say, I have learned a few things. I've learned that you can say almost anything to anyone as long as you have a smile on your face. People appreciate smiles.
I've also learned that even if you don't agree with the return of product, discount, or freebie (etc) that the customer is getting, you still have to do it. So make it comfortable for at least make eye contact.
Let's take a look at some of my customer service jobs I have had, shall we?
-Front Desk at Navy Pier-Have you ever seen Navy Pier? This is not a tiny little lobby where you have 2 or 3 people at a's a pier folks! I would have groups of 20-30 high school students in front of me all wanting to know where the arcade is! (Just so you are all aware, there is no "arcade" at the Pier. The South Arcade at Navy Pier refers to "an arched or covered passageway, usually with shops on each side".)
-Navy Pier Players-We sang songs for the public, not your typical customer service, it was harder, because there are no bigger skeptics than better wear that costume proudly cause if you don't buy it, the kids won't.
-Origins (Marshall Field's on Michigan and free standing store on Halsted)- This was a fun one. Now I will fully admit that I am a terrible salesperson. I could give a shit if you bought a $50 moisturizer. But I did give a shit if you had fun in my store! I sold make up for god's sake I was not saving the world, why shouldn't it be fun ( and why shouldn't saving the world be fun, for that matter). I loved the days where I never had to leave my station...where all I had to do was put make up on you and gossip. Even the days when I was exhausted and I had to do a Healthy Happy Hour for a group of 80 pound dancers who had been partying all night and didn't care what I was saying...I did it with a smile.
-SPCA of AA County- I thought working with animals would be a nice change...apparently I smiled a little too much in the interview and they asked me to be their Office Manager...which was fun...for about a day. This is not the kind of customer service you want to give. Without going too much into detail these are angry, emotional, high stress people in front of you...I did a lot of defusing. But it still makes my point. There was once a gentleman who, through a misunderstanding (on both sides) we declined to adopt to...sorry...I declined. After a lengthy discussion with a supervisor it was decided that we would in fact do the adoption...sorry...I would do the adoption...can you say awkward...but I did it with, you guessed it...a smile.
Which brings me to today. When I found out that I could no longer drive without glasses (god, I'm old) I decided to fork out some dough for 2 pair...2 nice pair. One sort of classic brown and one more funky black and blue. I had my eye exam, got my glasses and was on my way. That was 4 months ago. The other night at our friends house I set my glasses down (the funky pair) for about 20 minutes, I picked them back up to put on and they were broken. Nobody had touched them, I certainly hadn't dropped them but they were broken...not-able-to-be-fixed-by-me broken.
This morning I head into the unnamed eyeglass place to have them replaced...oh fuck it, it was VisionWorks. The young lady behind the counter is on the phone when I walk in. I hear "Can I help you?" I don't respond because you see, she's on the phone. I then hear the same voice, only annoyed this time, still with the phone up to her ear, no smile on her face, "Can I help you?" I now realize that she is talking to me. I explain what I need quickly, cause she's still on the phone. She tells me to have a seat at the table. Have you ever been to an eyeglass store? It's all tables! I quickly ask which one...she rolls her eyes (!) and tells me "The one where everyone else is".
Another young lady comes to help me when it is my turn. I tell here what's up and she gets my file and informs me that I did not purchase the warranty and I will have to pay for the frames.
Now here is where the "customer service bitch" that lives in my head has a seizure. I NEVER ask for free shit but I do know when you (as the company) need to fix something. I very calmly explain to the woman that I had only bought the glasses 4 months ago and they broke as to NO fault of my own and I would appreciate if she could see if anything could be done about it. Yes I was that nice. I understand how people can freak out and yell and think that that will get them what they want. I don't work that way, that's when you get spit in your coffee.
Without looking me in the eye or responding at all, she goes into the lab..which is surrounded by glass. Not only can I see her but I can hear her bitching about me! Once again without a word she comes out and takes my glasses and receipt. Finally I realize that she is in fact getting me a new pair of glasses, but of course she never told me this herself.
It took all of 10 minute to get my new pair of glasses, I thanked her kindly for her time and help and came home to have lunch.
Oh, Sara! Why didn't you call that bitch out? Why didn't you find a manager and tell them how their employees need a seminar on customer service or they should be put out on their asses....their big, no smilin', eye rollin', receipt grabbin' no shame bitchin' asses!?
Here's why-It wouldn't do any good. I got my glasses didn't I? I wasn't morally offended. It felt better not to ruin her day too. And as my mom always says, kill them with kindness.
And as Jeff Bezos (I don't know him either) once said: "If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the internet, they can each tell 6000 friends"