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I Want It My Way

Posted on February 27, 2012 | By Patty Pino | No Comments

I think it is fair to say that I’ve done some living.  I’ve spent the last 30 years of my life working various jobs, I’ve traveled, I lived abroad for a short bit, and, since college, I’ve continued to challenge myself with the adventure of trying and learning new things.  During my years on the planet experiencing life – like many of us do – I’ve come to establish my preferences, and I’ve decided I want things to be my way.

Now, before you start thinking I’m elitist, or a diva, or even a picky bitch, hear me out…

When I go to the movie theater to see a film, I have certain expectations.  I pay the movie theater a reasonable rate of my hard-earned money.  I would like the theatre and the theatre bathrooms to be clean, the temperature to be pleasant, my seat to be comfortable, and the quality of the projection and sound to be top notch.  I am there to relax and be entertained.  I am not there to complain that the sound is too low, or the lights are still turned up in the theater while the movie is playing, or the bathroom needs more paper towels.

At a restaurant, I have certain expectations.  I would like to be greeted pleasantly when I arrive, be shown to a clean table, be waited on promptly, and eat deliciously prepared, well-seasoned, fresh food.  I am there to relax and enjoy a nice meal.  I am not there to ask for another fork because the tines are all bent and twisted, or request a different coffee cup because of lipstick stains, or send back my soup because it came out cold.

I pay for health insurance and my expectations are that I can go to a doctor, he or she can recommend a therapy for my health concern, I can choose that therapeutic course to address my health condition, and the insurance company will pay.  I have not given them my money so that, when and if I do have to go to the doctor, they can refuse payment and I have to fight for reimbursement.

You get the point.  My examples are few of many you have probably experienced in your own life.  They could apply to the retail industry, the airlines, your internet provider, your bank, the place you get your haircut or your car fixed, your government.

Don’t get me wrong.  I wrote these words not to complain, and, although I claim I want things my way, it is not, really about me.  This is about you, and me, and all of us making things better – together – by doing two, simple things.

The first is to deliver your work, and yourself, with pride.  I know you’re stressed; so am I.  But, we all need to remember and realize that everything we do – EVERYTHING we do – has an impact on others around us and on the world.  When you’re working, ask yourself if you’ve done all you can to make what you’re delivering the best it can be.  Have you?  Did you look at that knife to make sure there was no food on it before you brought it to the table?  Did you check to ensure your vendor is getting back to your client?  Do you think you’re going to get a new job if you don’t wear a tie and jacket to the interview?  Do you feel like you did your best, despite the world crumbling down around you?  If you bring your best to the table, you are setting the stage for others to do the same.  It is not about competition, or arrogance; it is about creating a positive experience for all involved.

The second is to set the tone that you expect the best.  It is about having no fear to ask for what you want, and taking the time to patronize businesses who deliver on your expectations.  It is about thanking people who are good at what they do, or tipping them well, or telling their manager that they are doing an excellent job.  When is the last time you sent a note to a coworker’s boss expressing your gratitude about their helpful contributions?  When something less-than-quality is presented to you, do you take the time to ask for something better or do you settle for what has been given to you out of fear or embarrassment?  When you see someone skipping steps to the detriment of a deliverable, do you step up and ask them why?  It is not about being bossy, or bitchy, or condescending; it is about being grateful for the good things and not settling for the bad.

No matter where you are in life – speak up; Ask, thank, deliver – there is always room for improvement. Want things your way and make things better for others.

< Listen to this, and more on The Slacker Factor podcast TSF23: Soup It Up. >

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