"Appreciating the Rich" and "Crying In My Beer"
My boss made me cry. But here's the kicker: it was in a good way.
When I feel like someone who "gets" me, really hears me, I just have to cry. Fortunately I had a beer at hand to catch those tears (he was kind enough to call and check on me when I texted him that I might not be in to work the next day). And the next day I went back to work with my spirit blown out a bit from the weekend that kicked my ass and the people on the phones that filled that weekend.
Here's what I'm loving: my boss is allowing me to do some of what I already do well - coaching. And I. Love. It. I love it because it's empowering for whoever I'm coaching as well as it is for me. Of course, it does nothing in the short run for my commission, but since this is the direction I want to move anyway, it's all good in the long run. Win-win!
So...dragged my ass into work yesterday, the bottom of my eyes drooping down to my neck. Finally, by about 1:30 I'm sort of starting to perk up a bit. A lot of coffee and a shit-ton of grit. And then the magic happens. The kind of magic you pray for, fantasize about, dream of.
"When Bottom Lines Collide"
This weekend at the store, the "parents" stayed home and the kids ran the place. All Saturday, no one there to back us up with answered questions or morale-boosting assistance. And it has never been more apparent - without the hustle and bustle of the weekday and without the appearance of someone to support our heroic efforts - just how much weight we bear in this Sales and Customer Service circus.
Something in me broke. Maybe it was too many people yelling at me. Maybe it was too many people calling (1) while in their car, (2) with me on speaker, (3) while the wind whistled through their opened window, and (4) them getting exercised because I couldn't understand what they were saying.
Or maybe it was the end of the honeymoon? Or the realization of how thickly the corporate rules and regs are slathered on no matter where you go. It's what happens to the bottom employees in any misguidedly finance-instead-of-people-first-bottom-line-focused industry: first you follow the rules, hoping that you will do well enough to reap the rewards; next, you realize that the cost for following the rules is too high to endure for a long, long time because it's so emotionally- and energy-draining, and far, far less compensated for than it should be; and finally you look at the rigged game through your lens of exhaustion, outrage and surrender and you stop caring so much. Or you stop caring altogether.
This is the point at which the Corporation turns to you (or your manager) and says, "Her stats are falling! She has become a bad employee! Make her better or let her go!" This is the point at which people let themselves go, either caring less about the quality of the work, or simply leaving the company and taking all of their promise, all of their acquired knowledge away from the company. And the company, blind to the real bottom line, which is the people they have failed, simply lies and says, "We'll miss you." "Best of luck."
In my 20's I was living in Vermont and working as a waitress in a restaurant called The Skyline because it looked out over the famous New England trees which dotted a breath-taking vista spanning four different states.
"Bedding, Borscht and Bitches"
It was a day. Yesterday. KitchenAid came to teach us about all of the cool attachments, and to use their mega-juicer to make juices that I just wouldn't stop drinking. Apple, kale, orange, and a little water. Health in the middle of a stressed-out day. Priceless.
I was happy to take a break from those phones. From the man who called, looking for a $99 suit that he needed right then, because he waited until 3 days before his trip to shop. Okay. It happens. Not a problem. But...no...not that blue...not quite that blue either. And....wait...drive 15 miles to one store to get the pants, and 7 to get the jacket? Ooh...too far...don't have the time...
Then go without the suit. I honestly don't care. 1% commission on a $150 suit is $1.50. I'll still sleep at night.
So, yeah, taking a 2+ hour training break: needed. But it sure did louse up my money for today...and yesterday at the Adrianna Papell training did the same. Not the best two days I've ever had at the store.
But the "best" was yet to come...
Click "Read More" below.
"Shakespearean Ode to the Retail Diva"
O thou ruddy-faced screamers.
Thou screeching, over-confident dominators of oxygen,
Time, and breath.
Air whistling through fang-pierced lips as you talk...talk...talk...
and punish again.
May your bags and baskets of effortful shopping remain as empty as your cruel hearts.
Thou snapping denizens of hell.
Such is my wish for thee - cruel and black and gleeful in its pointed revenge -
"Always a Bridesmaid, Never the Bride"
I have started to notice synchronicities in my life. Work is not exampted from these synchronicities either. I have now had not one but two calls in which my primary addiction, acting, was the focus. Great calls. Calls with people who lifted my day and made me remember who I am, in the middle of "making a living".
I have wanted to be a full-time actor for a long time. It's not the only thing I want, but it's certainly a major desire. Some years ago I went to my spiritual teacher to ask a question about that desire of mine. I worked on the phrasing of this question because it was important to me that she understand where I was coming from. Never mind she knows everything about me well before I do, I wanted to be clear.
Many years before that - many, many Years before that, when I was 6 years old, in fact - I stood in front of my Kindergarten class in some long-forgotten exercise we had been assigned, and I did my first bit of acting in this life. I remember standing in front of the class. I remember how focused I felt, and how in my element, however briefly. I made my hands into claws, and I torqued my body as I imitated Margaret Hamilton's Wicked Witch of the West: "I'm melting!" I screeched, "I'm melting!", as I went to the ground.
"Just a Spoonful of Stupid"
Customers, Forgive us, for we no longer know what we do.
So goes my current and daily prayer because by the time 3:00PM rolled around this previous blizzardy weekend, my mind had had it, and I was saying stoopid things like - well, just keep reading.
And please...forgive us.
"Unexpected Work, Unexpected Gifts"
I didn't start life as a professional agitator and Customer Service Maven. I started working when I was 16. It was not my dream to be a "secretary" and I hated those first office jobs. I was a "Kelly Girl", back in the days (the 1970's and early 1980's) when Kelly Temporary Services was actually called "Kelly Girls". (Jesus! Shouldn't that have been back in the 1940's????) I would actually go into a business and say, "Hi, I'm the Kelly Girl. I'm here to work for the day/week/whatever." It didn't take long for me, as a card-carrying feminist, to begin saying, "Hi, I'm here from Kelly Services."
If the Receptionist responded with a cheery, smiling, "Oh! You're the Kelly girl!", that was on her. At least I wasn't demoting my own self.
The country's, and the world's, view of success in the 1950's, '60's, '70's, '80's, was based on advancement up a seemingly predictable upward trajectory. Go to school, go to college, get a job, get a family, get a kid, get a life, retire, and die.
We still tout this story in America. We set our self-image by it. And our worth. In a very alternative view, spiritual seekers learn that there is no predictable upward trajectory; that the journey is what life is about, and not the goal.
Good luck combining those two in your psyche. That's a spiritual journey in itself! But - not unusually - I digress. I am here to bury limitation, not to praise it.
"The Care and Feeding of Your Customer Service Agent"
Is this what it feels like to take on Customer Service? Been there. Done that. Once upon a time, about 20 years ago, I spent no less than 8 hours on the phone with AT&T. Why did I do that insanity? Because I was determined and a little stupid.
Want to tame the savage beast and get what you want out of your service call? FABulous! Here are some secrets you Did Not Know And Now Will. Here are a few suggestions about the Care and Feeding of your Customer Service Agent. Here is why your calls are sucking, and your Customer Service experience is less than fabulous... I mean, you want to buy your whatsis and we want to sell you your whatsis and get our commission. That's a win-win, right?
Yeah. Cool. So come take a seat behind the phones with us (don't worry, we won't make you answer any calls), and get the secret answers to making this shit work.
Let's do this...
"On the Other Side"
I initiated a chat with Customer Service yesterday, at Zulily's.
Suddenly on the other side again, but this time I'm self-righteous. Now I "know" how things "should" be done - a.k.a. how I would do it - so I'm appalled!
Now, this is on a Chat, and not on a phone, and thank God for that because it gives me a moment to breathe instead of going off. But just barely. Because I'm quick and I'm triggerable.
Patience and Shade
What do you do when you're sitting on the phone and no calls are coming through, you have no one in your pod to talk to, and you're looking at 8 hours of Zzzzzzzzzz?
(1) Turn on the online classical music radio station, low, so no one carps at you.
(2) Take out your knitting.
(3) Fight the urge to bang your head on the desk.
(4) Watch 10 people leave for the day with management's blessing...
Yep! People left for the day, valiantly saving funds for the company! Such selflessness! Such bravery! We salute thee!
Do you like the idea of breaking those social "should's" that have held you back for too long? Do you like the idea of successfully changing your modes of communication, your business goals, your self-image, and to your quality of life?
Lori Kirstein, CEO
The Goodbye Good Girl™ Project LLC
Magnifying Your Strengths by
Kicking the Good Girl Rules to the Curb!
Cincinnati, OH 45205