Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Help Wanted, Help Granted!

The standard HELP WANTED sign is black and white and hangs in a shop window. It implies a need or desire of one human being for the assistance of another. (Usually paid, or underpaid as the case may be.)

We do not have to own a business to hang out a HELP WANTED sign. Without regard to our business ownership, social status, age or profession we are all looking for help. It is a simple thing, a need that drives our daily lives: Help with our homework, help in the kitchen, help doing our work smarter, making our lives simpler, our fun bigger and our days more joyful. What does your HELP WANTED sign look like?

In my daily life I see so many opportunities to give and receive help that are missed, or at the very least done badly! Customer service is something we each offer and receive every day and it impacts more than just our work life. How we are served and how we in turn serve others affects everything we do and who we are as people.

We may be looking for help but we also display our own HELP GRANTED sign. Each of us offers help to the people surrounding us: family, children, friends, colleagues, strangers. We want to be supportive and make other people's lives better because we are in them. We want to be the person that someone else can rely on in a pinch. We want to be needed and effective in our relationships. This is a basic human desire.

It seems that people forget this basic desire to be needed, to be considered helpful. Poor customer service is everywhere because people have lost hope in themselves and others. We have given up believing that the small gestures of life matter, that how we treat each other MATTERS. We forget that we want help, that we want to be helpful. We may have the smallest, simplest, least exciting job on the planet but what we do MATTERS. We need to do what we do well. We need to help and be helped with a sense of purpose and worth.

With today's record unemployment and uncertain times people at every income and educational level are taking smaller jobs or are out of work and searching for Help Wanted signs. Many people are unhappy with their jobs and have forgotten that they can make a difference at all. What we do doesn't matter as much as how we do it. I could be a high powered attorney or a sandwich artist at a Subway restaurant for a living. That just may be the HELP WANTED sign I answered. IN either job I have a choice each day about how will do this task: I can slap those sandwiches together with joy or I can grudgingly take orders with a sour face. I can ruthlessly pursue my career goals or I can seek to serve and help people. Either way I am doing the same work, but who I affect and how I am affected sure does change.

I encourage you to pay attention to service as you go through your days. How can it improve and what can you learn from other people? When you see good customer service tell someone, tell lots of people! When you see bad service, speak quietly and encourage that person or business to reevaluate what they do. That is the purpose of this blog: to evaluate service in all of its forms and to offer HELP. I look forward to hearing your stories and lessons from the Help Wanted signs you encounter and I trust that mine will help you along your life and work path too.

The sign is out there: HELP WANTED! How are you going to answer it?

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