August 3rd, 2004

socks and cat

Dead clients and angry clients...

Two clients dead in two days. Yesterday’s notification came by voicemail. Today I got notification by mail of yet another client passing on. It’s my choice not to work ordinary jobs. I don’t like sitting behind a desk all day shuffling paper and processing data. That kind of work sucks the life out of me. When I get the kind of temp positions I request, it’s both rewarding and fulfilling. In my last position I got to work with the mentally ill. This time I get to work with the elderly. But in both cases, the death of clients is an every day occurrence. It’s a trade off I guess.

I’m also really impressed today with the way the manager helped a woman. I was hesitant to call this client because her file said she was rude and cussing and uncooperative. The manager called her instead and gave her a chance to vent and it turned out the poor woman had recently lost her husband, her children moved away, she had lost some friends and most recently her dog died. Her dog was all she had left when it died. Once that happened she didn’t have patience for anyone, especially not the staff at our office.

It just goes to show that when people think customers are being rude or stupid or obnoxious, it really isn’t what they think it is. Employees so often assume it’s about them and take it personally when customers are upset. I’ve lost count of how many posts I’ve read by people who work directly with customers, ranting on in their LJ’s about how angry they are at the customers. I think it’s possible they might be in the wrong line of work. Because if they had an interest in people they could give the customer a chance to vent and get it out and if they are genuinely motivated to show them some compassion (because I don’t think it should be faked) sometimes this will produce not only a more cooperative customer but they actually make a difference in that person’s life just by being there to listen and help them feel better. And this is why I love working directly with people rather than being stuck in a cubicle all day with numbers and data and paperwork. Every “rude” or “mean” customer is in reality just an opportunity to make some one’s day better. What a great gift that is.