I know you’ve had interactions with people during the course of your daily life, some of which have been wonderful experiences, some rather unremarkable in any way, and some which have been downright terrible. It’s only common sense that this is the case, based on the wide diversity of people in any part of the world.
Have you for example, ever been approaching the checkout counters in your local grocery store and quickly observed not only the length of the lines, but the identity of the people operating each checkout? I bet you have. Further, I’m willing to bet that you might even opt for a line which is slightly longer if you perceive that the Cashier is friendly, smiling, efficient and will make checking out a more pleasurable experience.
Using the same image and situation, you might see a slightly shorter line open up, but you remain in your line because the Cashier in that line appears grumpy, disinterested, almost robotic and the people being served almost appear to be an unpleasant necessity of the job. You get the picture and the image, and I suspect you have the skills to determine which of the two Cashier’s is the more engaged, happier and communicates that working in that grocery store is a positive experience – AS IS CHECKING OUT WITH THEM.
And that’s the point people. Employers are looking for the right people to pay to work for them. There will almost always be a pool of people who have the technical skills to perform a job. Being able to scan items, bag groceries, receive and process payments is not really the most important part of the job at all. The biggest challenge for those who make employment decisions is locating and selecting people who bring enthusiasm for the work and a positive attitude to the workplace, which translates into a great experience for the customers the store serves. Lose the customers to your competition and profits drop, employees hours are reduced, layoffs occur, stores reduce operating hours and close up.
It stands to reason then that in every single interaction with a potential employer, be it in your cover letter, a phone conversation, walking onto their property, in an interview or after you’ve been hired, you should be aware of the overall message you communicate with those you come in contact with.
Smiling; not a forced painful looking smile, but a genuine smile and good manners, (please and thank-you) are never out of style and too overused. You see, if you and I can spot a good employee from a bad one, it only makes sense that others are also observing us and evaluating their experience when interacting with both you and I. This is essential information whether you are a City Sewer Worker, an animal Vet, a Police Officer or the person who picks up the recycling at the end of people’s driveways.
The real measure of a successful person is when they are putting forth their best effort, working with enthusiasm, and generally appear to be enjoying what they are doing. But I can hear you questioning aloud how an unemployed Information Technology Worker can genuinely look pleased to be working temporarily making submarine sandwiches to pay the bills until they can get a job in their field. Surely the frustration they must feel, the annoyance with the underutilization of their skills entitles them to look disgusted while asking, “Want to make that a combo?”
My answer is that their frustration might be entirely justified, but if they allow themselves to only see the underutilization of their skills and that results in poor service, they are hurting themselves more than they know. Take for example the possibility that the owner of the sandwich shop owns not just the one operation but 3 or 4. That person probably has some technology needs. Might they need some IT assistance from time to time? Might they as a small business owner have many other contacts in the hospitality sector and know people he or she could speak to on their behalf if they filled their own tech issues? You bet.
Good employees invest themselves in the work they are paid to do and do it with focus. They leave their problems outside the workplace as best they can an immerse themselves in the work at hand. If it’s a customer service job, they take a real interest in understanding their customers needs, practice their listening skills, problem-resolution skills, customer retention skills. Those same skills if you re-read them are all transferable skills. YOU CAN TAKE THEM TO YOUR NEXT JOB!
Not to be paranoid, but people are watching us. It might be our boss who notes how fast we learn, our co-workers who know how willing we are to lend a hand, our customer’s who put in a good word with Management on how friendly we are. These people may all be a future job reference for the smart employee working outside their field; and at the least they represent good examples of your skills in future interviews.
Every day you have a choice, as do I. We alone choose to be positive influence or a cancer in our places of work. Stop justifying your bad attitude if you do that; stop blaming your upbringing if it was poor. Start making the time you have now productive, positive and work with enthusiasm.
Choose to have a great day!