Most of us working in Customer Service don’t plan to pursue a career in the field professionally. We have bigger fish to fry, and are simply trying to pay our bills while we patiently work towards larger goals.
Consequently, when dealing with a particularly terrible sort of human on a daily basis, we are almost always stifling the urge to scream “I HATE EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU,” but we should bite our tongues. There are many ways in which our humbling day jobs will inevitably better us. Here are seven:
1) You become a hit at dinner parties. Think of all the stories and impersonations you now have stored in your arsenal thanks to servicing crazy people! For example, I work at a cabaret, and I frequently assist an individual who starts every sentence with, “I need to sit at table 35, because I’m a producer!” He then lists every celebrity he’s ever talked to (via fan mail), while vehemently repeating, “Because I’m a producer!” Mind you, he is not a producer, but he does share a birthday with Jeff Daniels. Needless to say, impersonating this man has made me exceedingly popular in new social situations.
2) You become infinitely more compassionate. I once had a middle-aged bride in hysterics because she couldn’t get tickets to a particular show. Out of utter pity, I set her up with two house seats. I tried to empathize with her stress by mentioning my own impending nuptials, to which she responded, “Yeah, you have no idea what this is really like.” She then hung up on me. However, my choice to be compassionate did not waiver. She was clearly worse off than me.
3) You learn how to laugh in the face of violence. I have been brutally bullied by guests over the phone, I have been stalked for tickets, and I have been told that “I am a disgraceful liar” simply because policy would not allow me to retroactively apply a discount code. A guest once even said to me over the phone, “Does my husband need to go down there and deal with you?! Is that how I’m gonna get tickets?!” Instead of responding right away, I put her on hold, and burst into loud, uncontrollable laughter. Deal with me? Is this blackjack? Am I five? Is she high? I mean you honestly have to laugh at people’s futile attempts to assassinate your morale.
4) You become an amazing, I repeat amazing, listener. The people that try to hold your attention the longest, that ask you every dumb question under the sun – don’t get too frustrated with them. They either have no friends or have a terribly limited supply of common sense. Circle back to compassion, and take pity on them. They just needa talk it out. They’re solving some sort of convoluted math problem in their heads, and to them, you are a MATH GENIUS – NO, SCREW THAT, A MATH WIZARD! Also, you might actually be the most exciting part of their day.
5) You master the art of passive-aggressive behavior. Usually in customer service, we have to apologize for things that are absolutely not our fault, and that we are absolutely not sorry for. Consequently, we learn how to preserve our dignities by sticking it to guests without them realizing it – “I’m so sorry that you’re having a hard time with this, but how can I assist you?”
6) You will be an incredible parent. Think of all the small-minded, whining, screaming, and needy patrons you’ve become so skilled at handling. Minus the dirty diapers, parenthood will be a breeze! Hell, dirty diapers are preferable compared to these people.
7) You are empowered to know that you will never turn into the hideous people you deal with. The phrase “treat other people the way you would like to be treated” will become your personal mantra. Think of all the nastiness you endure. I guarantee that you now make a conscious effort to be generous and respectful to all other individuals working service jobs, because you know just how tough they have it. No matter how successful you become, you will never call someone a “disgraceful liar.” And that my friends, is an undeniable gift.