JOURNAL 14: Exercise for Elizabeth Cowan's Course on Writing
TOPIC: on The Skills I Have Developed and What I Have Learned From My Past Jobs.
From my past jobs I have learned much. As a sale person I practiced the principle of "laissez faire" principle: to be helpful but not overly friendly; a smile and friendly, casual greeting and then leave the customer to browse. Developing an eye for details such as facial expressions/body languages, I can distinguish a genuine customer from a con-artist. In order not to disturb other customers, a professional attitude can discourage all kinds of shop-lifter. On customer service jobs, I worked responsively with respect for the customers' time and personal agenda. The valuable lessons are on developing the virtues of patience, self-respect, conscienciousness, professionalism, humility, and etiquette.
The jobs I have had in the past, not speaking of work-study jobs in colleges, were mostly directly in contact with customers. Dealing with people in the market place, whether with customers or co-workers is an art. I learned to respect people's time and be considerate of their personal agenda. People are difficult to please but my job is to sell. Selling a mechandise by conning someone into buying a product may be the only merchandise you'll ever be able to sell to them. Selling or serving a customer is more than that. The purpose in selling is to get the customer to keep on coming back. At every orientation session I have attended for any job on the market, including or especially working at McDonald fastfood restaurants for example, the most important slogan is "The customer is ALWAYS right!" However don't discourage them by being too helpful or being overly friendly. One of the most difficult art is the art of dealing with people. Be considerate and do not sell yourself short. There are fierce compettion out in the world. Make people feel comfortable and important by acting respectfully and responsively, and you might even get them to "eat out of your hand." The market place is not a place for sentiment. Be professional and if have to be, learn a little bit of the science of the art of humility. It's hard but it's a very good medicine. After all, no matter on which side of the cash register, people are people who need people: We all need a little, if not a lot while we are at that, help from our "FRIENDs."