It has always been my theory that you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat those in the service sector: cashiers, waiters, janitors, nurses, babysitters, etc. I once saw the director of an international organization yell at a teenage housekeeper until she cried. Needless to say, I immediately lost all regard for him.
Last night, I was incredibly tempted to deny service to a disrespectful library patron. I will admit that I do not like him on a personal level. Possibly because of his irresponsibility with thousands of dollars worth of books, or maybe because of that time he yelled at me last year, or perhaps it’s just because I get creeped out by the way he always turns off the lights.
My job boils down to helping people. I like helping people. I enjoy smiling and saying “have a nice day!” All I ask in return is a little respect. I was polite to that certain patron last night, because I am a professional. I take pride in my work. I realize that I represent not only myself, but also my organization and their reputation.
If you need help, I am more than willing to be of assistance, but I will not do all your work for you. I reserve the right to become impatient with you if it’s ten minutes after we should have closed. Please, do not criticize me personally for following our general policies… unless you want to make this personal, in which case, I can’t wait to tell you exactly what I think of you.
Just because someone is here to assist you, does not mean that they are in any way lower than you. Be respectful because if anything, they have power over you. They can ruin your life in ways you probably never even imagined. Always be polite to the IT guy, too. Whatever’s wrong with your computer is probably more your fault than his.