Friday, January 14, 2011

Little Bit of History

I've said it before. I haven't always been like this. I used to think that going to work was fun and that I was a "valued member of the team" but over the years you begin to realize just how unimportant in the world you are. In my own case I found how every job I held I and my fellow employees were just reduced to numbers. Merely a changing face with a changing set of variables accompanying it. How much per hour, how much seniority, how many times late, how many 'training objectives' met, and most importantly. How much money we generated for the company.

It didn't matter if you were a "good" employee who was great with customers. Why? Because the guy who answered questions, didn't make chit-chat, and filled the absolute minimum requirements for a sale was numerically more valuable. Fore go the fact that showing some humanity or god forbid empathy for a customer gives a better shopping experience and also an unmeasurable increase in workplace morale (happy customer = happy employee). No, it's all been reduced to immediate gains that can be penned in black ink for the budget report.

Did you know that long ago people used to have a business relationship with their local grocer or butcher? That repeat business and a simple personal touch always ensured future business versus the other store that might have lower prices?

I had just thought about this the other day. When I grew up their was a local barber who always cut my father's and I hair. He would always ask us how the family was and what I was up to as a little playful scamp and so forth. As I got older I started going on separate days from my father, just because of scheduling and that I could drive myself. He would ask about my Dad and vice-versa.  Now note, this guy wasn't a family friend. We didn't have him over for dinner ever, just a guy who cut our hair. Yet he took the time to actually show interest in the people who came into his little one chair shop where he was the only guy working. He kept all the change loose in a drawer as we always gave tips for the good experience. If you asked for a receipt you would a get a fucked up look from the rest of the customers who waited on the benches flanking the one chair, taking a moment to look up from the Popular Science or Maxim Magazine they may have been reading at the moment.The thing is. The guy owned a house just by cutting hair and giving shaves. Can anyone who works at "Magic cuts" say the same? 

I don't really know what this was supposed to be about. I started out wanting to rant about how shitty I got treated by bosses growing up, but then it turned into more of a nostalgic commentary on how we treat each other as people in public. But if I can give you any advice your willing to accept, it's this.

Make your work a performance of art. Then nobody can measure or compare it to anything or anyone.

Administration note: Stop posting your blogs address in the comments. If people are interested in you, they will click your name to find your blog. I will not publish any comments doing this from now on. Even more so now, since I'm writing this.

21 comments:

  1. Common courtesy has completely gone out the window these days. It's rare that you see anyone actually take an interest in your day to day life unless they're being forced too or god forbid, genuinely interested. It's just like you said, the minute you're enslaved*ahem* i mean employed in any kind of retail business, they push it down your throat to be on your absolutely best behavior, akin to your parents telling you to be good when you're 5.

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  2. Its sad how many people just follow and follow...they always end up empty.

    Love your new blog style, keep it up!

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  3. when i used to live in the boonies, i had a neighborhood grocery store who conducted personalized business similar to how you described your local barber. things were great until they stuck a walmart in the area, then everything went to shit.

    companies will try to make their employees feel important, utilizing various tactics under the philosophy of "employee retention," but it's all bullshit. gotta work for yourself if you want a TRUE sense of accomplishment.

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  4. It's sad but interesting to see the way people interact with each other, but you have to understand why people act the way they do.

    It mostly has to do with social pressures, and the way others influence our decisions. Take for example someone laying hurt on the side of the road, if no-one stops to help, you probably won't help. It's sad, but that's how we operate.

    The best thing you can do is to live your life and be the greatest person you can be, and by doing that you are encouraging others to do the same. :)

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  5. The world seems less personal and friendly then it did, say 10 years ago.

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  6. it's all about connecting with people and making it feel like a personalised experience. sadly, while it is encouraged to make a good impression, in the end it's all about making the cash moneys so it's whoever can do it efficiently that will be favoured among others.

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  7. Very interesting post bro, you make a really valid point. I guess it boils down to if you can find enjoyment in your work, food for thaught tho, as i've come to expect here ;D

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  8. Yup, it does suck. Having always been part of a family business myself, it seems moronic the way corporate-owned businesses sometimes operate. It's impossible to foster any real employee pride when you create a cycle where: Employers pay employees just enough to keep them from quitting, and employees only work hard enough not to get fired.

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  9. These are words are wisdom. People are forgetting how to be sentimental.

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  10. People make the difference in life, nothing else really matters.

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  11. Yes, you really arent important at all and your life has no effect on the big picture. Enjoy your day :)

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  12. Noone cares about eachother anymore :( I blame the internet tbh

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  13. Nice new layout! and sorry bouts posting my link before, i'll stop..

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  14. I think this shitty employee attitude has carried over to most customers too. They treat you like shit because they expect you to treat them shitty

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  15. Had to re read this post, too interesting!!

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  16. My family, well except for my father who is bald, goes and gets our hair trimmed by a woman who sounds just like your local barber.

    Every time any one of us goes in (me, my brother or my mother) and gets our hair trimmed, its like we never left. Never the same questions because she remembers what we talked about before. She seems genuinely interested in who we are as people and even though she also runs her own business, she has people lined up outside, waiting patiently.

    In the end I think it all comes down to service. And thats it. Good service means good word of mouth which means a larger bottom line. I just wish others would do the same.

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