Tag Archives: business

Over it!

I am generally an optimistic person. But as I sit here and write this blog, I’m over people in general.

“Over it!” one of my fellow bartenders and I sometimes shouted to each other last night as we dashed by each other, overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people. No. Wait. Let me clarify. Sheer volume of IMPATIENT people.

I can handle a busy bar. I actually relish it and enjoy the interaction and the fast pace. Often busy night are nights I feel most “on my game.” Makes the night go by fast as well, and it usually leaves me very happy with my pocketbook at the end of the night.

But what leaves me overwhelmed and hating people for days following a rough night is when people are impatient and rude about it. When they put on blinders and decide THEY are the queen or king of the bar and if you don’t serve them in two seconds you’re a worthless bartender. And that… hurts. Because we’re working as fast as we can, haven’t had a pee break in hours, nor had a second to take a sip of water, generally are sweating like crazy from running ourselves so hard… and still nothing we do will ever be right. I had more than a few moments last night that I wanted to just stop running and have a good cry.

See some of my bar tips for customers from a bartender’s perspective.

I suppose such a thing can happen in any job, and that’s why I TRY to give people I interact with in various scenarios the benefit of the doubt.

Just tonight, my husband got very frustrated when two people at the local McDonalds couldn’t figure out our change correctly, and I finally had to correct them to get the show on the road. I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt… they don’t teach how to count back change any more in schools, and even I have my  nights where I need to take a tab to the register to get the amount right that they owe. I told him I blame management as well for not ensuring their employees can think through a transaction versus being just drones that punch buttons on a keypad. (I make similar rants about sackers at grocery stores who put bleach with my fruit.)

But at the end of the day, I have to agree with him that some things are simply being a good employee. Some things are about wanting to work your way up the ladder of success versus just drawing a paycheck. Or in the same breath (and on the flip side) its simply being a good customer and realizing when it’s your turn you’ll be treated like the only customer… but only after you let the other guy get the same treatment.

It goes BOTH ways.

So tonight… having been on both sides of a rough business transaction in the last two days, I’m just done. Done with people. Done with business. Done.

Can someone bring me a shot?

Negotiating services

The government and media can tell us all they want that the economy is getting better, but I know from where I stand… it sure doesn’t feel like it. I’m doing ok right now just because we’ve found ways to cut costs left and right.

But… at what point does cutting costs reach the point of insult?

Where I am working right now, at least once a week it seems someone comes in ready to negotiate their bill down to a lower price. Every time that happens, I’m left with a sick taste in my mouth. (It happened twice in one day recently, and it sent me in to a fit of pure anger… something that VERY rarely happens.) Why? Because I know what goes into doing the service being provided: aka Overhead.

When you receive a bill for a service, what you have to realize is that the bill exists to help cover hundreds of hidden costs.

Let’s take your local plumber. You call him to come unclog a drain, and when you receive the bill you might find yourself asking yourself, “Why so high when he was only here for 10 minutes.”

What you don’t see is:

  • fuel costs to drive over
  • the expense of having the proper tools to do the job
  • training and KNOWLEDGE of how to fix the problem quickly and efficient.
  • taxes paid by the business owner to even be in business.
  • insurance they have to carry.
  • etc.

In my own case, when doing any design work, I often try to figure myself by hours of work… plus a little extra to help me afford the computer I need to do the work. The programs. The hours I’ve spent learning how to do the work.

I’m not just putting food on the table. I’m trying to stay in business. And at the end of the day, the only number that can truly be negotiated down is what you think that individuals time and knowledge are worth. And it is in that moment that negotiating a bill down comes off as insulting. Just as you’re trying to save money, a business it trying to stay in business… and those words, “Why so high!?” can easily be the equivalent of, “You’re just not worth that!”

If everyone were to negotiate their bills down as hard as some people do, businesses would go out of business left and right. Now, I’m not saying you can’t ever negotiate to get a better deal. I’m just saying… sometimes take a step back and realize its not only about you.

The dynamics of cats and dogs in relation to business

Since last weekend, I’ve had dogs and cats on the brain. Chewing on the different approaches of the two animals, I realized you could easily take those dynamics and apply them to employee interactions in an office setting.

Are you a dog or are you a cat?  I don’t mean which one do you prefer; I mean which one’s personalities do you emulate while at work.

The dog

When we took in the dog for the weekend, the thing that struck me was how he was so “in your face” at all times.  I couldn’t move two feet and he’d be on my heels. (Something that drove me CRAZY!) In a matter of moments, he’d uprooted my cat and taken his spot on the couch beside me. He was domineering.

It struck me quickly how people can be that way in life and in business. There are those personality types that will be right in your face, demanding attention and approval from their peers and superiors.

Imagine for yourself a new guy walks in the door at work. His eyes are bright with excitement for the job, and any time the boss comes in the door he’s on their heels asking what he can do. What’s the next big project? Do you need coffee? A pen? Something to write on? What can I do for you?

There is without a doubt something to be said for someone with that personality. They’re going to be the first in line to do anything. They’re going to jump when they think something needs to be done immediately.

We all need “dogs” in our lives to keep us motivated as well as to be reliable. You know they’re going to be right there the second you open your mouth to ask for something. Sometimes they’re there even when you don’t need anything… and that’s okay too.

Dogs will more than likely move up the “food chain” quickly due to their persistence and unending amount of motivation and energy. However, I’m not sure what their chances are of being in upper management. Some “dogs” have that leadership quality inherently. Many, though, aim to please and are best being told what to do.

The cat

Comparing cats and dogs is about like telling the tortoise and the hare story.

Cats are more laid back and less in your face. They’re around, doing their thing, all while observing the scene around them. Taking stock of it. Deciding the best maneuver for themselves based on those observations.

When the dog was getting a little overly attentive to me, I’d find myself wanting to seek out my cat. I wanted his calm approach more than the hyper approach of the dog that was driving me a little crazy. I wanted to throw the dog a stick to go one way while I went to hang with the cat.

I imagine in an office setting, a “cat” is that person who sticks to their desk and methodically does the job at hand. They may not necessarily seek out the next job they need to do, and as such could potentially be viewed as being lazy. They might even be that person who gets their neighbor to get them a cup of coffee, “whenever you happen to go that way.”

However, at the end of the day, they get the job done without having made much noise. They’d be the ones who might not get noticed as fast, but they’d also be the ones that get sought out specifically for a task.

I imagine they’d also make great bosses. They’d give you the job, let you know what is expected of you, and instead of beating you over the head with it, they just give you that stare. The one that is disapproving. The one the might make you think they plan to kill you in your sleep. The one you don’t want to get, and thus you do the job without having to be told more than once. It’s not that you know what your punishment is… it’s more that you don’t ever want to find out what it would be!

Other pets

Wilson County FairI don’t think I have to explain the snake personality. It is that person who lies in wait — possibly even emulating the cat personality– only, they will be the first to strike and take you out if you get in their way.

Hamsters run and run and run, only to never really get anywhere. They’re just happy to be there.

Horses pull the load and do the hard work. They end up, though, having someone always telling them what to do and when to do it. They’re revered and respected, but at the end of the day they’re never going to make any final decisions of their own.

Personification of animals is nothing new. This whole thing was just something fun I’ve chewed on the last few days.

I took a lot of sociology courses through college — which, by the way, I hated but always just fit in my schedule somehow. Sadly in hindsight, I was very close to having at least a minor in it. I took a few philosophy courses and one psychology course. So, this is my disclaimer: I write this with no real education or paper on the wall to back up anything here. These are just my personal opinions and thoughts.

By the way, I’m not only a cat person, but I’m a “cat” in business as well. Anyone have any idea what they are, and why?