Having worked with the public since I was 16, I like to think I’m a people person. It doesn’t mean I actually like them; it just means I know them. I’ve encountered and taken orders from various men and women courtesy of a plethora of part-time jobs and alllll my different teaching assignments. Through so many positions, working with so many different people, I have learned one thing: there are so many morons.
I wish I were kidding, but alas, I am not. There are very few adults who understand and appreciate the power of Please and Thank You, or who are capable of having a respectful conversation.
Take, for instance, Donna, the lovely lady I worked with in my college art department. Donna was a peach, she really was. She cared about me and asked about my classes, but the woman didn’t even know how to use the phone, a key component of a secretary’s job (which is why I was hired to be her assistant…). Once, she had to put a man on hold to take another call, and as she stood there, bent at a 90 degree angle over her desk, staring at the phone as though willing it to put itself on hold, I gently offered help. She declined and continued to be the only secretary in America whose phone was smarter than she was.
Then there was the horror show of a bakery I worked at, where the boss was quite possibly the most unprofessional woman I’ve ever met, and that includes her daughter who flirted or slept with most of the male customers. I basically hid in the back eating icing and texting my friends, so I wasn’t exactly employee of the month.
In my current job, I am forced to talk to people who have ZERO communication skills and who, when on the phone, might as well have a pile of crap in their mouths for their refusal to enunciate. And P.S. If your email address is BeyonceLuvah4Ever and you do not sign your message, I have no idea who you are. SIGN YOUR NAME!
So what do all these people have in common? They are MORONS!!!!!
I’m not saying I don’t have the potential to be a moron. In fact, not only is the potential there, it is vast and deep, and I have displayed it on more than one occasion. That said, when it comes to dealing with people, I simply follow the golden rule: don’t be an asshole.
That is the rule, right?
If you want to be a winner in a sea of losers, here are 5 things you need to make yourself more marketable and less irritating: manners, personality, follow-through, a work ethic, and a propensity for honesty.
Don’t be That Guy
Do you think the world owes you? Do you write a person off if he makes one mistake simply because it inconvenienced you? Do you call and yell at your cable company? If you answered yes to the aforementioned questions, you are That Guy. You don’t want to be That Guy and here’s why: while you might get what you want because whoever is on the receiving end of your tirade will gladly silence you with concession, your ‘tude doesn’t bode well for the long-term. Like Mick Jagger tells my kids, you can’t always get what you want, and if you whine every time you don’t get your way, ain’t nobody gonna wanna be yo’ friend. So buck up, buttercup, and mind your manners even when you’re angry. Even when you’re not angry, please, thank you, and how are you today are the trifecta of a polite conversation.
Duh, Uh, Well…
We’ve all come face-to-face with the personality-less. It’s rough having a conversation with a person who is allergic to smiling. Sure, some of us are nervous or shy, but if you’re able and willing to work through that, a sense of humor does a body good. Having a personality doesn’t just mean cracking a joke or two; engage the other person and watch how it instantly creates a more comfortable dialogue.
Put your money where your mouth is
This next one is very simple and oh-so important: if you say you’re going to do something, DO IT. Too many people are full of idle chatter; be the person who has follow-through and who is reliable as a result.
Don’t be afraid of hard work
Anything worth doing is going to be difficult or time-consuming. It’s just the way life is. If you’re not willing to get your hands dirty or make a real effort, you’ll never reach your full potential. There’s nothing more frustrating than watching one of my students waste his potential because he’s lazy. I’ll be the first to admit: you don’t need to memorize Shakespeare to be a successful adult. But you need the drive and dedication to at least attempt to read and understand something as challenging to appreciate the fruits of your struggle.
Liar Ain’t for Hire
I’ve had colleagues who were bold-faced, compulsive liars. Do you have any idea what it’s like to have to rely on someone who can’t even tell you the truth about what she ate for breakfast? That kind of anxiety doesn’t come cheap, lemme tell ya! If you screw up, admit it and fix it. If you don’t understand something, ask for help before you screw it up. Even if you’re in the wrong and you’re afraid of the consequence, wouldn’t you rather just be the dude that made a mistake instead of the dude who made a mistake and then LIED about it? Once a reputation of being a liar pants is established, it follows you errrrrywhere.
See? You don’t need a new degree or to throw money at specialized training in order to be competent; just don’t be a moron.
This post brought to you by a day of work I would rather forget.
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