We love to give advice. It’s just something that humans do. We want to make life easier for the next generation. Passing down our knowledge “ensures the survival of our species,” sure, but we are empathetic and genuinely want to help the people around us, too! It’s why we rescue baby animals or kiss our kid’s boo boo’s when they fall down. Looking for ways to ease the pain for others comes naturally to most people.
When an elderly woman saw this worker in a grocery store, she couldn’t help but be reminded of herself decades earlier. She saw an opportunity to help because she wished that someone could have helped her.
When I saw her tonight she smiled and recognized me. I smiled back at her. She was looking more relaxed even though she was still doing her job. I have noticed her several times this last few months and she always looks so much happier now. Tonight when I chatted with her I noticed her name tag. Her name is Pamela.
Pamela works at the express checkouts in a busy supermarket . She deals with issues when the self serve checkout experiences a problem (no price on product, machine malfunction, etc.). She supervises these checkouts and usually has barely dealt with one complaint before another is created.
When I first talked to Pamela, I had called her to the checkout I was using. There wasn’t any problem with the checkout though. My issue – or should I say concern – was about Pamela. She looked frazzled and was under a lot of stress as she quickly moved from one checkout to the next. Couldn’t deal with one customer query quick enough to get on to the next.
It’s a bit of a fire-fighting job.
I told Pamela that she needed to slow down. I told her she wasn’t getting paid enough to be working as hard as she was working. I told her that we, the customers, can wait and it is very bad for her health to be putting herself under such pressure. I reassured her that our expectations as customers are not as harsh as the ones she sets for herself. Pamela told me she would slow down.
I could tell she was touched that not only did I notice her stress but that I chose to talk to her about it and was concerned for her well being. I gently told her things had to change. I told her I would be looking out for her in future to see if she had taken my concerns on board.
Well, Pamela has taken this on board. When I see her she is still doing her job but there is such a difference. Now Pamela says that customers will just have to wait their turn while she deals with another customer. She is cool, calm,and collected.
Tonight I spoke to Pamela about this. I commented on the “new” her. She told me that not only did she tell her husband what I said, but she has also shared it with a lot of her colleagues.
As I walked away from Pamela, my heart swelled. She has listened to me and now encourages her colleagues to slow down. A day’s work means just that. It doesn’t mean cram two days’ work into one day.
I am proud of me. Not only have I caused Pamela to reflect on the stress she was putting herself under, but she in turn has encouraged her colleagues to do the same.
This is a tough lesson to learn. “Leaving work at work” is easier said than done, especially since many of us want to improve, impress our bosses, earn raises, and secure bonuses. But there is a limit to how much stress a job is worth, and while it’s ultimately up to the individual to decide, it’s nice to see that at least one person was able to take the advice to heart!
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