Monday, December 3, 2012

Day 3: "What Do You Consider Yourself a 'Pro' At?"

Um...being mediocre?  I enjoy learning knew things, but I have a tendency to drop them here and there.  I've been writing since I was 15 years old, but there has been the occasional hiatus - more so in my 30s than any other time in my life.  There are times when I haven't written because I didn't feel a problem could be worked out.  And writing about it just made me more aware of the suffering.  This was subconscious, of course - had I sat down and really thought about it, I probably would have written out a positive solution.  I'm far more stubborn than I give myself credit for, I guess.

So if the question is what I'm a pro-fessional at, that would be nothing.  I am fully capable of acting in a professional manner, but I don't really want to be what I classify as a real "professional" because it can so often imply a level of cold.  I prefer to do things with heart.  While I am able to make decisions without my heart getting in the way, I think there is value in considering both heart and mind, instead of letting just one decide my course.  

But if the question is about what I feel I'm good at...  

I sometimes feel a bit socially awkward, but it turns out that I really like talking to people at work.  It is an aspect of my current job that I sometimes have a hard time with, as not every single person I interact with wants to be...interacted with, I guess.  I was speaking with a coworker about this the other day and she commented that I am very genuine with our customers.  I was thrilled to hear it, as that is exactly what I'm aiming for.  Working retail does mean selling things, but there is a difference between pushing things on someone and actually trying to figure out what will work for them.  And thank you, I. for telling me that - made my day.

A little later that same day, a customer basically asked me how he could trust something I vouched for, because wasn't that my job?  The answer I gave (and stick by) is that I can recommend things that don't work for me because not everyone is the same, but I never vouch for a product that I haven't tried and genuinely liked.  In the case of products that aren't appropriate for me personally, I ask friends and family to volunteer as testers so I can see how those things work and get feedback from people I trust.  And then I tell the customer, "Well, I have combination skin, so that face mask isn't quite right for me, but my friend Sarah has very dry, sensitive skin and she swears by it."  Which reminds me, Sarah I tell people all about that mask you love because I loved hearing you rave about before I even worked for this company.

This leads to the other thing that I think I excel at: customer service.  Part of this is being a bit anal-retentive - I like things to get done right the first time and I know that I can always help others achieve the same ends.  I work with a fabulous group of people, but we all have different styles, different strengths.  I feel lucky to work with people who not only grasp that, but welcome it with open arms.  As I was saying, I love to do the job right.  I actually enjoy going out of my way for people and making their day brighter.  I have worked a bunch of customer-service type jobs, both in retail and civil service.  The only hard part about this is that I was often disappointed in the past by people who were complacent, apathetic.  I'm all for folks having off-days (I sure have them myself), but when it's just your personality...well, I have nothing nice to say about that, so...

Turns out I give a great arm massage, too.  Who knew?

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