Class, The ‘80s are Dead, & Now We’re All in the Service Industry

What if your job was used as an example for what not to be when you grow up?  Imagine that – your job served up as a warning for what you will end up if you don’t do well in school.  This recently happened to a friend of mine. He didn’t hear this warning firsthand. The class that did was attended by his daughter.  Now, imagine that.

It’s probable her teacher had best of intentions to motivate the students, and even my friend acknowledged that. He also said, good thing his daughter has thick skin, but even so, she felt compelled to apologize for the ignorance of others.   As a parent, you would think about your child in that class at that moment, then you’d be taking measurement of your own skin depth.

People in – generally accepted as respectable- careers, might breathe a little sigh of relief at not having to deal with a situation like that.  I don’t even have to mention his job because many will have already assessed whether or not they have one of ‘those’ jobs. Probably something menial, or in the service industry, right?  I think on some level though, most would feel there is something not quite right about it all.  Do unto others, etc.

server 1 diffusedIt doesn’t matter what road we go down, ultimately whatever we work at is in service to someone else, and whether we are aware or not, we are also teaching. We will share our combined life experiences in some form or another, for better or worse.

One of the things I’ve been thinking about, after reflecting on my friend’s experience, is the idea of a simple shift in how we perceive and pursue success and the related esteems.  Success definitions aside, there’s nothing wrong with shooting for the top or making top dollar, just that there could be more emphasis placed on important pursuits leading to that.

For performing our services, most want to earn respect, appreciation, and even admiration with our money. It’s hard to honestly earn good money without applying these qualities anyway.  What if we started reaching for the stars from a place that sets aside aspects slavishly pursued in the 1980s like image, titles and the bottom line? What if we started our pursuit of work or career by thinking about those aspects that we care about as people regardless of role in our careers. Corporations spend billions on ways to humanize their images, to be relatable to people.   What irony.

Could we make more of an effort to shift, and teach to shift, the perspective from what can we get out of life to what can we give?  Could we consciously ask ourselves before we start our day, school, work or career directions by asking in what way(s) are we best suited to serve? What can I, what do I, give to the big picture? I wonder what kind of success levels as a society we would have then.  It might sound lofty, but it really isn’t.

This isn’t simple idealism; it’s still about earning a buck and a decent living. The Real Housewives TV franchises will live, just wouldn’t it be nice if we could make them even less real than they already aren’t?  We can still aspire to C.E.O lifestyles, but doing it with that simple shift in perspective changes the complexion of how we view status and value through titles and job types. It’s not what do we do, but how do we serve?

I think on some level we already know this as mostly true.  No matter what title we achieve, what everyone really wants to know is how well, and what, were we able to contribute. We really care about the type of person we are, and who we’re working with. It’s how we want to be described when we die.  If you need a touch of proof, watch an episode of Undercover Boss sometime.

Knowing even the little that I do about this, I’d still wager that the rewards for turning this table in society would be huge, including financially. It all begins with just a small change in thought. Imagine that.

At a minimum we could leave the examples of what not to be at drug dealers and crooks.  And tofu hot dog makers.  (Just kidding tofu people, some of my best friends are tofu hot dogs).

Click on picture to read note

Click on picture to read note

Oh, about that example of what not to be?  To start, he is an outstanding parent.  For pay he works with staff and children, in a host of ways, every day of the school year.  After that, his resume’ includes being an amazing photographer,  a writer of beautiful poetry and witticisms, and an extensive world traveler.

He must also be a pretty successful service provider because one day he received this note on his work cart. Seems like outstanding achievement to me.

RL

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give”                Sir Winston Churchill

Natures VS. Nurturing – If They Really Loved Me and Vice Versa – Couldn’t it Be More Simple?

hearts

We all want to be nurtured.  We all crave that caring sense of love me, pick me, have my back support.  I’ve seen how trouble comes though, when we also expect that nurturing to be presented as we understand it.  Because we are all unique representations of beings with unique expressions in need and gifts, it can be difficult to have those expectations met by others with equal fervor.

People who have already learned how to work around this, need not read further.  For we average folk still treading through the minefields, I luckily have found Donna, a good friend who puts this expectation to bed with a much simpler approach.  I think she’s onto something.

Troubles begin with a line of thought that goes something like this:  If they really loved me, they would know what I want or need, and they would do everything they could to provide it!

I have seen this thought put to action in varying ways; the girl who is angry that her mother didn’t buy a Christmas present that met her interests (guilty), the girlfriend deeply disappointed in her boyfriend’s missed idea of what is a great Valentine’s Day plan (guilty again), the wife who is sad and furious that her husband still doesn’t know her after all these years (divorced, so yeah, kind of guilty).

In each of these cases, the result could have been quite different if one simple effort had been practised  – talking with the object of those disappointments, (the person, not the gifts).  I stress could have, I make no guarantees of would have success for reasons upcoming.

For example, I cannot believe how long it took me to realize that all of my loved ones – family & friends – were not psychics! I don’t claim to have had much of a well-adjusted background to begin with, so I had to learn that I had unfair expectations that they should be able to just know what would make me happy.  Not just for gifts, but for when I was feeling low for whatever reason. Hey, they do it that way on TV all the time! To back-up that notion, I bolstered it with the fact that they were around me enough to know what I pointed out in varying degrees of hints and comment on what I liked, enjoyed, found beautiful, etc., etc., etc.  They even sometimes acknowledged that they heard those comments.  But, did they?

The thing is, I didn’t take into account that maybe they were having thoughts of their own at the same time.  Maybe they were tuned into what was needed at work, or what they should have for dinner.  Maybe they really couldn’t see the beauty in what I was pointing out.  The what really doesn’t matter, the point is there has to be allowance for the fact that no two minds are on the same page all of the time. Maybe they are even more different than the same most of  the time. Ugh, the heartache!

Much like most things in life, we need to simplify this meeting of the minds process as much as possible and/or the ways we can live with them.

For me, this starts with exercising a page from my own belief system in which I declare that I am (already) fully loved, nurtured and supported by the Universe. I believe something like this is a foundation for what is to follow in actual demonstration.  Whatever you choose to do or say as a foundation is up to you, but as all guidelines have said since the beginning of therapies, it starts with what you believe.

We can’t be who we are not, and we cannot demand that someone else change to suit our needs.   Change is a gift that we choose to give, it cannot be taken.  I can guarantee that it will crumble if demanded.  If you want to give the gift of changing something about yourself, then give it gladly, not in resentment.  If a relationship, of any nature, doesn’t work out, it’s not a failure.  I repeat, not a failure.  It was what it was, and another course in life knowledge is under your belt.  The grade you get depends only on how you apply what you’ve learned to the next one.

So it comes back to us. Starting to see the pattern here?  It’s about us being more gentle with our friends, family and lovers. How? Dare I say it?  By lowering our expectations, and letting go of any ‘what can I get out of this relationship’ thoughts.    Instead of demanding superhuman relating abilities, how about expecting only what is absolutely and honestly vital to our sense of nurturing, (i.e. respect, honesty, integrity)?

Taking into account that basic compatibility needs are met, & that you actually like the person, what is really necessary beyond someone simply wanting to give you their love and their best, as they know it?

My friend genuinely lives this way and she has a list of genuine friends longer than the new pope frontrunners did.   She and her man work to provide what is needed, but their true treasure is every moment of family time they share.  No need of fulfillment from the biggest toys life can offer.  She is married 20 years and counting; she couldn’t be more cherished or in love with her man, & family and vice-versa.  I‘d trade the most extravagantly planned Valentine’s evenings for that.

Think about it, we can gratefully accept nurturing in the way our loved ones can give it, and in return, we can gracefully fill in any blank needs  of our own by ourselves. Why couldn’t it be that simple, and why wouldn’t we want to, at least try to, practise it a little?

If someone is giving their love, then thank you Universe because really, how many of us have an over-abundance of people lining up to do that?

RL

(Um, quick note here to my loved ones: you’re still going to remember my birthday & Christmas, right?)

Robyn Lawson c/r 707-1 March 15, 2013