Thursday, December 30, 2010

Let there be kindness

In a work world of anger and mismanagement, I have often found it difficult to remember the principle of kindness. We are taught as children to be nice, smile, use our manners, and be wonderful little people. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood too many of us forget these early lessons in life.

Case in point: I work for a well known heating and air conditioning company. It is rare for me to have a day in which someone does not actually yell or curse at me for something that is completely out of my control. For instance, the other morning I explained to a customer that we were overbooked but that I could get a technician to his home sometime later in the day. The customer actually yelled, “I need a Goddamn time!” When I say yelled, I mean it. He didn’t just raise his voice or increase the seriousness of his tone, he freaking yelled. Like, he strained his voice. When telephone encounters like this occur, I literally say to myself, like a mantra, something in his life is very sad or horrible or else he wouldn’t be treating me, a stranger just doing her job, as if I’m his punching bag.

Luckily for me, while I do often speak with people during moments when they are not displaying any level of kindness, I also have moments with customers that fill me with a love of humanity that literally brings tears to my eyes. When people take the time to call, come in, and send notes of thanks, it reminds me to focus on all of the good around me. I hope with all of the distractions and work we have in this busy life, people will make a concerted effort to recognize the good around them and be the good. I am working every single day to be the good. Yes, sometimes I fail miserably, but the point is I keep trying.

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