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Why is it So Hard to do the Simplest Job?!?

Updated on April 2, 2015

You Only Have One Job to Do!

I'm not gonna lie...if I won the lottery today, I would hang up working in the Customer Service industry forever; I'm talking calling my current employer on my mobile as I'm taking the bus to the Mini Cooper dealership, telling them in so many words and in so many ways of how they can dissolve our relationship. This is right after collecting my winnings, and going by the name of "Anonymous."

However, in the immortal words of Kat Williams, "I got s#!* to do today!"; bills need to be paid, and though I look like I can push away from a few meals, I still gotta eat...and I need a place to live...and a car to drive...Christ.

I have a simple job, really; I'm a Home Health Aid, and the job is as easy as making microwave popcorn: make sure the client is alive when I arrive at their house, make sure they're still alive when I leave. That's it! I need them to stay alive long enough to sign my time card at the end of the day. There's more to the job, such as cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, but the whole point of the job is keep the client alive. An easy peasy job. One that pays the bills.

One day, as I was taking care of a gentleman who thinks I'm his old war buddy, Pogo, my relief arrived, and I wasn't quite ready for her; I was still dusting the client's war decorations, making them shine all pretty so that the next day, he could tell me all about them...again. My relief steps into the house, rolls her eyes, and states (quite proudly), "You do all that dusting? All I do is spray the Pledge in the air, make him think I've been dusting."

Ok. On behalf of those of us who believe in mighty Gaia and saving the ozone layer, we thank you.

She went on to boast that not only does she not dust, she simply turns on the vacuum...and that's it; she leaves it on for ten to fifteen minutes, under the guise that she is actually performing her domestic duty, meanwhile, she is ensconced in a rousing game of Words with Friends. The most she does for her clients is...absolutely nothing. In other words, hard working people, such as myself, are left to do her job, as well as our own. In her mind, she has taken to heart the "You Only Have One Job to Do," with enthusiasm...the dude ain't dead, right?

As a Home Health Aide--or HomeMaker, which is the titular, cleaning comes with the job; it gives us something to do while awaiting the inevitable. We are janitors, maids, servants if you will, who know CPR.

It's the same as being a Flight Attendant, of which I was before pursuing the exciting career of health care...a Flight Attendant only has one job to do, and pray to God that they never have to do it! C'mon, do you really think a Flight Attendant candidate spends six to eight weeks in training learning how to serve soda and peanuts? I scoff in your general direction! Let me tell you, I went through ten weeks of boot camp when I joined the Navy...Flight Attendant training had me going fetal in a corner, sucking my thumb! To this day, when I hear a chime, I go into a dark place; if the mailman rings my doorbell, I pick up my phone, thinking the Captain is calling me.

House cleaning and errand running in the Home Health Care business is just like serving soda and peanuts as a Flight Attendant...it just gives us something to do whilst awaiting either a cardiac arrest, or a plane dropping from the sky; otherwise, we're just sitting across from each other, staring at each other. That's just downright spooky.

So...why do we tend to make the simplest jobs the hardest? Why?!?


Just Do Your Job!

Some people should never pursue a career in Customer Service...never! If you had met me twenty years ago, you would have said the same of me, for I hated dealing with people, hell, I hated dealing with myself; seriously, I had inner fights about getting out of bed to start the day, or staying in bed until the dire need to pee roused me to my feet. I made myself sick...and went through two mattresses.

Let me give you an example of the Jeny twenty years ago, doing a simple job; I used to be a consultant for a local mortgage company, i.e, a secretary. Easy job: start the coffee, do some filing, answer the phone, make appointments, do some research...every thing Siri on the iPhone can do (short of making the coffee, and I'm sure there's an app coming soon). I managed to mess that up in less than six months, when a client with a high and mighty attitude drew out the worst in me.

I didn't like that job, anyway. Bills be damned.

She asked my name, of which I replied, "My name is...Jeny Jones." She scoffed, giving me a once over that made me feel as if I were coated with something worse than dung, if you can imagine.

"Is that reallyyour name?" She asked in a superiour tone that seemed to suggest that Jeny was a moniker worthy of someone else, not some lowly office aid; mind you, this is during the era of the Customer is Always Right, even when they weren't. So, I'd had enough of that, and enough of the High and Mighties, like her. It was inevitable...Miss Sarcasma Sardonica made her appearance.

"No," I snapped in a voice as haughty as hers, "My name is Shelani Vanilla Kai of the Slapahoe Tribe. Please, allow me to sing you the song of my people." I wasn't dismissed, but I was politely told that I should look elsewhere for employment.

I only had one job to do, despite this overbearing floozy's attitude.

Another example, and you'll see that a majority of my examples revolve around fast food franchises, because fast food is deemed one of the easiest jobs to perform, and yet we manage to mess that up. I went to the local food joint with the purpose and intent of satisfying my craving for chicken nuggets. With a diet coke, of course.

And I ordered. Simple. A half dozen nuggets.

"I'm sorry, ma'am." Came the disjointed, androgynous voice through the drive-up speaker, "Our nuggets come in either six, nine, or twelve pieces."
"That's what I ordered." I said, "Half a dozen nuggets." Now, from my vantage point in my car, I could see the person muse this over, rolling eyes, sighing, and finally calling someone over to vent about how the idiot in the drive-thru was ordering the impossible--half a dozen nuggets. Do we even do that? How does one ring up a half dozen nuggets? Is there even a button on the register for half a dozen nuggets? Must be a full moon, 'cause there's a fool in our midsts!

"Never mind," I said, "I'll take the six nuggets." Which is half a dozen. Now, the entitled youth among us have no idea what real work in the fast food industry use to be like: back in the day, there were no pictures of the food on the cash register, nor touch screens, nothing to tell the correct change on a four dollar order when the customer hands over a five dollar bill--in the day of yore, when I was coming up, the abacus had just been replaced by the adding machine, and that was a mighty day! Just wait until society switches over to mental telepathy. Oh...God...My people, my people.

Occam's Razor: the simplest solution is typically the correct solution. Just like work, the simplest task...well, we tend to do the opposite of Occam, making the job harder than what it is. Just do your job, that's it! You're trained for it, so...just do your job. Do it well, that's all we're asking. In today's workplace, a typical...er, boss? CEO? Person in Charge? has no idea about Customer Service, for their first job was Dungeon Master, working in their first apartment--namely mom's basement.

So, why is it so hard to do our jobs these days? Simple enough...

Too busy updating our status on FaceBook.



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