Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Work has been going well, and I’m surprised. Being the new guy is awful, having to learn a job almost from scratch, dealing with an entire new set of clientele, learning who thinks their ass needs to be kissed, stuff like that. So far it has been a pretty easy transition into this new job, I suppose because I’ve done before much of what I’m doing now, but still it’s hard to shake the anxiety. Whenever a customer walks in, I’m struck with a feeling of dread, and it just reminds me of how much I need to get out of customer service. Perhaps it’s experiences like this that drive one to improve their lot in life. This isn’t such a terrible experience that I feel the need to completely change my life, but I think it’s just what I need to spur me on in a different, better direction.

Monday, June 28, 2010

On customer service

Tomorrow is the first day at my new job, and being the nervous kind of guy that I am, I’m, well, nervous. In trying to calm my feelings of anxiety, I tried to think about how I already have a general idea of what to do, how it’s a small store in a part of town inhospitable to window shoppers, and how I’ll have to get up at only 8:30 everyday. But what really put me in the right frame of mind was something I had never thought to do before: make this job what I want it to be. I will always be courteous to the management and keep busy, but who’s to say I can’t have fun with the customers (as long as I don’t piss any of them off, of course)? Why can’t I not get nervous when I don’t know something, but admit that I don’t know and send them in the right direction? Why can’t I make fun of a snotty customer right to their face in a manner they won’t pick up on, but still get them what they need? Why can’t I bullshit with a customer who seems like a bullshitter? There’s no reason at all.

I’ve spent a total of about four years in customer service jobs, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, but still have had trouble taking to heart, is to not take things personally. Put in an order for a cheeseburger, but forgot to tell the kitchen to make it without onions? Didn’t know the yield of a particular toner cartridge or the size of the cache on a particular hard drive? No big deal. Mistakes happen, and you just won’t know things from time to time. The customer got upset? Fuck ‘em. They won’t remember tomorrow, and you shouldn’t think about for days after it happened. Take the opportunity to learn from mistakes, but don’t let guilt or worry swallow you whole.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Today was a lazy day. A very lazy day. The kind where undies make the fashion statement no one wants to hear, and where the available time to make a five-course meal meets the ambition to make a peanut butter sandwich. The only event of note to happen today was that I received an e-mail from the assistant manager at my new job that I needed to schedule a time for orientation on Tuesday. Orientation. For a company I worked for just a year and a half ago. Doing essentially the same job. I apparently need to be reoriented. Yes, I probably should have my head put on a bit tighter and be reoriented that way, but spending a couple hours going over company policies I don’t care about, meeting people with whom I’ve already been acquainted, and going over benefits I won’t be getting? Now that sounds necessary.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A journey of a thousand miles...

My main goal in life is to achieve at least mediocrity in everything I do. I’d like to not look stupid doing it, but I understand that’s asking for kind of a lot. Bumping myself up onto the plateau of success known as mediocrity is an arduous task as it is, and I probably shouldn’t burden myself with the weight of trying to save face, but what can I say? I guess I’m an overachiever.

The level of effort it takes to maintain mediocrity has become quite apparent while looking for a job over the past few months. Two weeks ago, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography (Is that the one where you study rocks?) from the University of Washington, and for approximately 37 minutes, the worry of what I was going to do about paying the bills was alleviated. Champagne bottles blew their corks. Doors opened. I even peed a little. But as it turns out, the only purpose graduation serves is to increase your nervousness and flop sweats, as the urgency with which you need to find a job has shot up like a pet owner off the couch upon hearing their cat in the throes of puking up a hairball...on the carpet.

So, as you might have guessed, I have spent the past two weeks with my job search in top gear. Well, I guess I haven’t been in top gear the entire time. I have downshifted for a couple coffee breaks. All right, several coffee breaks. And to make tuna salad and bacon sandwiches. And for four-hour sessions of playing Final Fantasy XIII. And to do important research on the Internet (Watching a video of someone hitting themselves in the face with a speed bag is considered important research, right? How about watching it 16 times?). Fine, I’ve been a bit lazy, but the fish aren’t biting. Nothing but rejections, non-responses, and waiting for responses. Until today. I contacted my manager at my last job, and she was able to put my name out and get me hired on at another store in the chain where I worked, this time near where I live in Seattle. Here’s where the mediocrity marches in, banging its loose drums, slobbering into its bent horns, and smacking together its dented cymbals. The only job I’ve managed to snag is doing customer service, which I loathe from the deepest, most cholesterol-spackled regions of my heart, for a wage that covers only 80% of my modest budget. This appears to be the best I can do, folks. Awesome.