Wilderness Wednesday

Ever feel like you’re in a jungle at work? That’s how my week is going. Don’t get me wrong. I thrive in chaos but sometimes I have to wonder what others are thinking because some of the actions of customers and fellow co-workers make me think that their inability to utilize common sense is more common than I’d like to admit. I fall in that category sometimes. My brain gets frazzled and I’ll forget what I was doing and then wham! All of a sudden I realize that having those days is pretty common. A friend of mine used to refer to Wednesday as Hump Day. I had never heard that term until she said it but the older I get, the more I refer to Wednesday as Wilderness Wednesday. In part, because you never know what weeds you are going to encounter to get to the incredible foray of beauty that lies within a week.

When presentations go well, there’s a beauty in this. When they go wrong, there’s a huge gap that can create this bottomless pit of despair that many people encounter. The trick is to not let it get you down. Use the criticism to wow the next presentation that you make and if it was the only shot with one company, it won’t be your last shot to impress someone else. It’s known as perseverance. What isn’t determined is how long it takes to make something progress but if you have the drive and ambition, there’s nothing you can’t achieve with a positive outlook.

One thing I love about my job is the people that I get to meet. Some of them are a little difficult but overall, there’s something about getting to know your customers on a more personal level. Jobs can feel overwhelming at times but one of the best things about being able to offer the personal touch is that you treat people as people and not just a number. I can’t tell you how many times it’s made me feel good to have someone go the extra mile. I could be having the worst day ever and just a simple gesture from someone else made me feel better. It made me feel appreciated and that I was a person of value. I think that’s something that’s becoming a lost art. There’s a lot of businesses that have struggled with COVID.

One of my closest friends and I went to dinner Monday night to a local Chili’s. It’s rare that we go there and when we arrived, there were a lot of folks leaving. We got seated so that we could catch up for a bit and do our gossiping and the server was nice. She came and took our order and a few minutes later brought each of us the margarita that we’d been craving. Almost an hour later, she comes back to the table and asks us if everything is OK. It would have been if we had gotten our food but by the time they finally brought our entrees out, neither of us was very hungry anymore. The manager came out and he apologized but there was no exemplary customer service. There was nothing to try to make us feel any better about the treatment we received. We weren’t told why our food was taking so long until we inquired about it and our drinks that were water were never offered refills. Keep in mind when we were in there that the crowds had greatly diminished. She and I looked at each other and just shook our heads. We’ve both worked in restaurants and customer service over the years and we both commented that things have radically changed. I guess the older we all get the more things start to catch us off guard.

I have a regular customer at the office who comes in almost daily to retrieve items out of a unit. He’s been coming early in the morning to beat the heat or later in the evening when it’s not so humid. I can’t really blame him. But every time he comes to the facility, he makes a point of stopping in to get a bottled water and just touch base. He’s one of the customers who has reminded me that going the extra mile means something. When he first came, he was working for a woman who had him work in the hottest part of the day. When I offered water, he was taken aback. He’d forgotten that people had kindness in them. He raids my candy jar every time he comes and I’ve told him that’s what it’s there for. In return, he’s done little things that have helped like pulling up weeds when he sees them around the unit. Plus, he’s been referring others to the facility as well. It’s that kind of referrals that has helped me keep customers happy and coming back.

I’ve also had folks to make me wonder why on God’s earth I chose to work with the public. There aren’t a lot of folks who fit in this category but there are always people who are going to push every button you have and not always in a productive manner. I have a tendency to talk to myself a lot. It’s almost comical. When I get really mad, I’ve found that I’m a lot like Popeye. I tend to mutter a lot to myself, often out loud, and can’t let it go until I’ve had my rant several times over and then I’m fine. Internalizing frustration is not recommended. For me, I use my writing as therapy to get everything out. It helps me to put my thoughts together and start tweaking what needs to be done. It allows me to see when I’m being petty and when I’m validated. It also helps me understand areas that I need to work on for myself as well as maybe help others who might be dealing with some of the same issues that I am. In many ways, it’s therapeutic on many levels.

When I first got to work the weather was hot and humid. I made sure to water the plants outside because with all the heat, flowers and plants don’t usually do well when they don’t get water. I think people are a lot like this. When we get drained by the heat of negative energy, we get drained. We don’t perform to our full potential. We start making a lot of mistakes and start looking for excuses as to what went wrong. We may not like everything that happens to us but if we allow ourselves to get out of the mindset of counting down the days until the weekend or until we get a break, we might just find that there are a lot of other ways to escape from the drama that we are encountering daily.

The last example for the day that I’m going to add is that I have a really good friend who served quite a few years in prison for a crime he did not commit. He wants to clear his name but he’s scared. He’s looking for excuses to not take part in clearing his name because he doesn’t want to have anyone mad at him. I know his logic. I just don’t agree with him. When others have a person framed for something to deflect suspicion onto them for wrongdoings, I take issues with this. “The Innocence Project has estimated that between 2.3 percent and 5 percent of all US prisoners are innocent. With the number of incarcerated Americans being approximately 2.4 million, by that estimate as many as 120,000 people may be incarcerated as a result of wrongful conviction.” (Wikipedia.) That’s a scary number if you ask me. That means that our system is only after making people pay for a crime regardless of their innocence. And before you start telling me that there’s a lot of guilty folks who deserve their sentences, I’ll agree with you. What I won’t agree with is that when a person is innocent and cannot afford good representation, chances are they are going to go to jail for something they had zero to do with.

So now that I’ve had my ranting for the morning, I hope that you take away something from this blog. Never think that you know what a person is dealing with. When you get snippy with someone, they could be feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders and you might be the tipping point for a good or bad day. Stay true to yourself and give yourself permission to make mistakes and learn from them. Perfect your skills so that you stay in demand and most importantly remember that every day is a chance to have the wow factor. You are worth it. Show the world that you can contribute in this world of the Wilderness.

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