Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The vicious cycle of making a living

(4:15:54 PM) Sarah: I think my quilt shop hates me.
(4:16:19 PM) me (Goog): :( Why? Do you give them fake money?
(4:16:31 PM) Sarah: No, I give them lots of real money.
(4:17:29 PM) Sarah: But I ask for stuff they don't have and I think I was sort of in the middle of a dispute between an employee and the owner in that I think the employee thinks they ought to stock everything people ask for and I think the owner is worried about not moving the inventory left over when one person finishes their project.
(4:18:00 PM) Sarah: Which is totally legit, but don't get cranky at me because your employee disagrees with you.
(4:18:25 PM) me (Goog): Right on. So you're saying your quilt shop owner is irrationally mean to you.
(4:18:32 PM) me (Goog): Because you've asked for things.
(4:18:36 PM) Sarah: Yes.
(4:19:07 PM) Sarah: And I totally understand why she doesn't want to stock these things I've asked for, and I'm totally cool with that.
(4:19:44 PM) me (Goog): Ah. Well, probably true. One spring day, however, they'll get over it. In a moment of happy clarity, it will occur to them that they have no good reason to be jerky to you, and so they will try not being jerky as a change of pace, and find that the flavor of that is rather refreshing after all.
(4:20:30 PM) Sarah: And I kinda wonder if the owner is just not much of a people person, which is a bit of a problem, what with quilters being people.
(4:22:13 PM) me (Goog): Probably so. Quilting, bees aside, is not innately an interactive experience. One could easily get into the business without being a people person. The same is true of most niches -- comic shop owners are famously stereotyped this way.
(4:23:03 PM) Sarah: Totally right on and valid comparison to comic shop owners.
(4:24:26 PM) me (Goog): It's an interesting dynamic. People actually often get into a business like coffee or comics or quilts because they like the THINGS, not because they love the idea of serving the needs of other PEOPLE who like the THINGS. (If you were _actually_ a people person, you'd be successful in more mainstream customer service like restaurants, sales, etc.)
(4:24:48 PM) Sarah: Totally.
(4:25:22 PM) Sarah: And this is why I am not in a customer service job.
(4:26:10 PM) me (Goog): EXACTLY the same thing can be said of mathematics professors. All disciplines, really, although not necessarily ALL professors. Just the overwhelming majority.
And actually being in the business tends to make you LESS of a people person, since customers are famously the worst sort of relationships.
(4:26:45 PM) me (Goog): As a wise Alphan said about moving on from tech support, "you have to learn to stop hating the users."
(4:26:56 PM) Sarah: Right on!
(4:27:07 PM) Sarah: You should write a post about this.
(4:27:21 PM) me (Goog): True.
(4:27:26 PM) Sarah: You have much knowledge to share with Thalia and Joel Berg.
(4:28:29 PM) me (Goog): LOL

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