We moved across town recently (into a fantastic little rental house), and had to go through all of the fun of switching over utilities and services from one residence to the other.
Being self-employed, I swim around in a sea of hustlers and go-getters on a regular basis. I didn’t realize how energizing that was until this week, dealing with the polar opposite: Cable Company employees.
What follows is an open letter to those folks in call centers, corporate jobs they hate, and otherwise disgruntled little fish.
I used to work in retail telecom, so I get it. You are a small cog in a really big wheel, in an environment that breeds negativity and lack of care. You deal with angry, entitled people all day—customers and bosses who don’t seem to understand that you are a human with emotions.
But you don’t have to give in.
Sure, it’s going to take some serious want-to. You’ll have to possibly even avoid the break room and the water cooler all together. But with the right amount of effort, you can care.
I have a magic formula that works a surprising amount of times: if you care, you get promoted to a point where you are working over a group of people you can influence to care, and/or you can build the skill set and experience you need to get a better job at a company where you are encouraged to care and rewarded when you do.
Because the alternative is toxic. Eventually, enough negativity in your life breeds lack of care, which multiplies into anger and depression. It did for me.
I was miserable and 35 pounds overweight, working long hours and though the pay was adequate, I never got to see my family. Weekends were brutal. Nights were brutal.
You know how I got out? I chose to. I jumped with a half-packed parachute because I knew I could hustle my way out of financial trouble faster than I could hustle out of a mental breakdown.
But it all started with caring enough. Choosing each day that my attitude could not be influenced by a customer, or a boss, or a circumstance. I had practice from my previous job as a barista where I creatively washed dishes.
There was also a spiritual component to it, to be sure. (I honestly don’t know how non-Christians get through the day at a job they hate. That’s not a heavy-handed evangelistic push, just an honest observation. I’m way too weak to muscle through this stuff without Jesus.)
But you can start caring today. The next customer you deal with, treat them like your little sister calling in for help with her service. The coworker who is having a rough day, give them an honest compliment. Hold the door for somebody. Make it your life goal for everyone who deals with you today to smile. Start being a part of the solution.
And start hustling on your dream job on the side. Read 5 business books this month. Make the jump. Start to care. Nobody in the corporate office is going to care for you. You’ve got to do it yourself.
Take it from a guy who deals every day with people who love their jobs: it is SO worth it.
Also, in related news, can you please send a technician who cares to get my Internet service to work at my new house? All I’m getting is a blinking DS light on the modem.