PET PEEVES

A pet peeve is a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying, to a greater degree than others may find it. For example, a supervisor may have a pet peeve about people leaving the lid on the copier up and react angrily, be annoyed when others interrupt when speaking, or by messy desks of their subordinates. That same supervisor may witness employees coming into work late, and not feel any annoyance whatsoever.

Check out http://www.getannoyed.com/ if you want to see the web’s largest list pet peeves. Some of the funnier ones are:

The way people walk in flip flops (as if Amy Vanderbilt suggests a correct way.)

  • Cats and dogs that are inconsiderate of their human’s sleeping habits, and decide to romp, play, and destroy stuff at 4 AM  (as if animals are rational in any way)
  • People who don’t dress their age (as compared to what?)
  • Air Guitar. Don’t do it. You look like a dork. (What is a dork?)
  • PeOpLe WhO tYpE LiKe ThIs. (nO CommenT needed)

Oh, there are some legitimate gripes that really don’t qualify under the definition of “pet peeve” because the act is more an inconsiderate act, such as leaving hair on bar soap.

The term is a back-formation from the 14th-century word peevish, meaning “ornery or ill-tempered”. So, in other words, people with too many pet peeves are more likely to be ornery or sarcastic.

Do you know what my pet peeve is?  People with a pile of pet peeves.  🙂

GROWN-UPS VERSUS ADULTS

Have you ever considered the subtle difference between an adult and a grown-up? Which would you rather be?  This isn’t really a trick question. Webster’s dictionary defines a grown-up as “characteristic of adults” whereas it defines an adult as “fully developed and mature.” Dave Barry says you can only be young once, but you can be immature forever.” This quote is funny because there is certainly a hint of truth in it. The movie series Grown-ups and Grown-ups 2 are perfect venues for comedians to appeal to the desire in everyone to be a kid.

There is another side to grown-ups and adults. I have several friends that are highly successful in business, and are mature in almost every way. Yet they still owe their personalities, quirks, and sibling rivalries to their childhood. Think about your own childhood—your interactions with your brothers and sisters, or perhaps how you saw your parents interact, or who your heroes were and why. Do you now imitate the same patterns today as a grown-up?  Of course you do.  In many ways these patterns are incredibly funny, but they can be very sad as well.  Victims of divorce or child abuse often repeat the same patterns in adult life.

There are essentially three things any parent should be doing in raising children:

  1. Keeping them safe and alive
  2. Establishing healthy practices and values
  3. Nurturing them with love and guiding them toward their goals

Did you know that one of the most traumatic times in your adult life is when you lose your last parent?  This is because there is no longer an adult parent to turn to in your life. I suggest that one of the best things you can do for yourself is to continue to balance your child-self (now grown-up) in your life with your adult-self who is supposed to watch over him.  To do so is to understand the difference between them.  Once you do, here is the perfect combination:

  1. Listen to the child when it comes to remembering how to imagine, capturing the passions you once held, and living each day with a completely open mind to the possibilities.
  2. Listen to the adult when you find senseless, illogical, or even dangerous urges or patterns driving your decisions

As logical as we adults may act at times when we are required to do, there is still a child lurking inside all of us.  Master the art of effectively being both, and you’ll be amazing!

“CUSTOMER SERVICE” JUST PLAIN WRONG!

Let’s visit Merriam Webster for a moment. The origin of the word “service” is derived from a Latin word, “servus” which means, “slave or servant.”  Maybe that’s where the expression, “the customer is always right,” comes from.  After all, if you are a slave to someone, then your master has the final say. Here are some of the Webster’s definitions for the word “service”:

  1. Employment as a servant (“Entered into service”)
  2. The work performed by one that serves (“good service”)
  3. Use, help, benefit  (“glad to be of service.”)
  4. Contribution to the welfare of others
  5. Disposal for use (“I’m entirely at your service.”)

The list goes on, such as “the act of a male animal copulating with a female animal.”  None of these definitions make me feel all “warm and fuzzy”. How about you?

Now let’s take a look at the definitions of the word, “Customer.”

  1. One that purchases a commodity or service
  2. An individual usually having some specified distinctive trait. (i.e. a real tough customer.)

No wonder an individual may be skeptical when they are asked to provide good customer service. To boot, then are evaluated and rated like no other time in history. How many times have you bought something, and then been asked to participate in a survey afterward?  Even worse, thanks to blogs, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and sites like  www.yelp.com, www.trustedplaces.com, www.buzzillions.com, www.insiderpages.com, www.sharedreviews.com,  www.viewpoints.com the customer can blast you with almost no chance for you to defend yourself. You are basically guilty before proven innocent.

But why do individuals and/or companies sometimes get blasted through social media?  I would wager that a few negative comments stem from a basic failure to provide a value in the fees charged for services rendered.  Most negative comments occur when basic tenants of human interconnection are violated.  Ever had a great meal in a restaurant, but given a lukewarm review because the service was barely acceptable?  Sincere effort and a genuine smile go a long way.

So what’s the solution?  I propose that two paradigms need to change.

First, everyone is your customer.  Certainly, if you are trying to sell someone something, then that person is a customer. What about your work colleagues? Do you ever need something from them?  Let’s drill down deeper. What about your wife or husband? Isn’t this person also a customer?  Do you need their support to get through the day?

Second, if everyone is a customer, then customer service should be looked upon as providing acts of benevolence, courtesy, grace, indulgence, kindness, or mercy depending upon the circumstance.  A job description for any position is merely the ante or bare minimum of how an individual is required to interface with another in a work capacity.

If everyone is a customer, then why aren’t there also job descriptions for a wife or husband?  Why not for a parent?  Despite countless books written on any type of job or on marriage or parenting, every situation will be unique. In the end, great service boils down to a positive mental attitude.

In my prior blog, I gave credit to Lennon and McCartney’s lyric, “In the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.”  The great rewards for superb customer service are compliments that go far beyond a mere tip.  The ultimate reward for extending consistent, heartfelt courtesy is a consistent heartfelt courtesy and gratitude that is indeed, priceless.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO LOVE YOUR JOB

Ever meet somebody single, male or female, who simply must be in a relationship?  How ever traumatic the last breakup was, the amount of time devoted to mourning the loss is a matter of days, maybe weeks, but certainly not months.  What is the compelling reason for such a quick rebound?  Could it be that these individuals desperately need to feel loved?  Equally curious, could it be that these individuals also need to be in love?

There may be other reasons a person jumps back on the saddle so quickly. Perhaps the right person did, in fact, come along right after a breakup, but I would always caution anyone that the odds are strong that this is a “rebound relationship” stimulated by the need to be with someone, anyone, and not necessarily the right one.  The only way to verify if this is true is to hold back from any serious dating for months, as time truly heals most wounds, and it will take time for any suddenly single person to be “whole” again and truly capable of contributing to a relationship in a positive way.

Here’s a better idea. If you are one of those individuals who need to feel love (who doesn’t?) then I suggest you devote yourself to your job.  Yes, I mean the place where you work. Think about it for a moment.  Where do you spend the majority of your time nearly every day?  Unless you’re unemployed, you know the answer.

“But how,” you say, “am I going to feel love in the workplace?”  This is a deceivingly simple answer.  “The love you take is equal to the love you make.” (Thank-you John Lennon and Paul McCartney.)  Just like any relationship, you will get more out of it if you put more into it.  “Not in my job, you say.”  Really?  Let me give you some examples:

  1. Clerical work:  Picture in your memory someone who really made a lasting, favorable impression on you that perhaps worked as a bank teller, a government agency staffer, or perhaps an accounting office. Why did they make a difference? Because they were happy and their joy rubbed off on you.  They cared, and therefore they made a difference. Chances are you appreciated it and responded favorably.
  2. Service industry:  Again, was there a particular worker in a restaurant, a bar, a tour guide, or beauty salon that made a difference?  It was because of your positive experience. And what was your reaction?  My guess is that you were grateful.
  3. Sales:  Was there someone in any kind of sales position (regardless of the product) that truly cared about what they were selling, and their passion and product knowledge came streaming through in their presentation to you?  Chances are you wanted to do business with that person and would do so again.

In each example above, the people that were the most effective in their jobs were the ones that truly cared about what they did, and how they interacted with their colleagues and customers.  What you must realize is that those same people are also the most satisfied with their jobs and probably their lives.  Why?  Because the love they take is equal to the love they make.” The joy that they bring to the people around them is reflected back to them, thus making their day fulfilling.

One more thing:  think about the individual who drudges through a ten-hour workday and then goes home to his or her significant other. What kind of mood are you bringing home? Chances are you are complaining and unloading on your partner. And if you are single, it’s likely that you’re not going to bring much positive energy to a new relationship, nor be that appealing if your attitude from work should carry over.

My suggestion to anyone and everyone:  when you get up on Monday morning, think about your fellow workers and clients and how important your relationship is with each of them.  Make a difference in the workplace and you will begin to feel love that will spiral in crescendo. After a while, you won’t want to live any other way.