I have a friend who has recently begun working remotely for a call center. It wasn’t what he really wanted to do. He has held “bigger” positions, and it was a little hard for his ego in the beginning.
I am a firm believer that everyone should be required to work as a server or bartender early in their careers. After all, where else can you learn sales, customer service, and the ability to suck it up to make a paycheck?
As a college student waiting tables I learned how to smile at rude customers, how to appear to be thankful when people thought they were leaving me a great tip ($5 on a $50 tab), and how to upsell desserts, cocktails and appetizers to increase the overall bill amount. Mostly I learned how to slap a smile on my face despite what was going on in my personal life, because my future depended on my tips. And luckily, most days I really enjoyed what I was doing.
I met new people, gained new respect for my co-workers, and brought my 'A- game every day in order to achieve. And I did. I moved up the ranks fast, gained hourly wage increases, and outpaced my colleagues in tips.
Sometimes, I am disappointed in the attitudes of servers and bartenders, when they appear inconvenienced by taking care of their customers. How do you earn tips that way? How do you keep your job? How do you make it through a shift when you are mentally checked out?
I think the same questions apply to any position. No matter the job, dialing it in has potentially devastating consequences. I knew a VP who did that. She is no longer a VP.
But more than the loss of a job, I wonder how anyone can survive emotionally when there is a disconnect in their personal and professional lives. I always said that I would go flip burgers at McDonald's, if I had to pay the rent. And I would. I know me. I would work my way to the top, by bringing my 'A' game every day. I would be the best burger-flipper, and soon the best fry cook, best cashier, best assistant-manager, and soon would own a franchise.
I just checked in with my friend after a couple of months on the job. He’s already had one pay raise, is expecting another soon, and is the most productive and successful member of his new team. His enthusiasm is contagious, and he is already working on ways to improve. He is bringing his 'A' game, and you can feel it!
If given the choice, wouldn’t we all want to do our dream job every day? We want to feel motivated, respected, challenged, rewarded, and well-compensated. Of course, we would.
The lesson that I’ve learned most in my career, is not to worry about where I am now, but rather to see where I am now, as a stepping stone. How can I prove to myself and others today, that I am capable and worthy of more tomorrow? How can I prove to my customer that doing business with me, will positively affect their today and their tomorrow? How do I ensure that my attitude today allows me to stay focused on tomorrow, thus not only increasing my chances of that future but also ensuring that the journey is something that I enjoy today?
That attitude alone will make any job your dream job.
Michael Sherlock is a business writer, author, speaker and podcast host. As a Vice
Mrs. Sherlock provides corporations and business leaders with engaging presentations and actionable strategies on leadership, employee development, customer experience, and sales transformation. In addition, Michael hosts the Shock Your Potential podcast where she highlights the best in leadership, sales and customer experiences. The Shock Your Potential Podcast is available via iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and your favorite podcast apps, as well as online.
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President of US Sales for two multi-national medical device companies, Michael has managed net revenue exceeding $50 million and managed as many as 500 employees at a time.