Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Sorry, This One's Not Really Library Related

I have no idea why Doraemon is offering this well known phrase of customer service, but it was the best image I could think of to illustrate this blog. I want to talk (type?) for a little bit about what motivates people to do their jobs. That's not really it though... I want to talk about what should motivate people to do their jobs well.
I was at a team building class a few days ago, mainly because I got paid for it, but also to learn a little bit more about effective management. During the class, a member of the group regales us with an anecdote about how he gave great customer service to someone who, unknown to him, was in a position of great influence. Long story short, the moral was: "Always give good customer service, because you never know who you might be serving." I think this is a horrible way to think and a horrible thing to teach people.
You should always provide the best customer service, that is true. My argument is that FEAR should not be the motivator. This is the idea behind secret shoppers. I have no problem with the library using secret shoppers to gague the true level of customer service, but I do have a problem when they tell us to always give great service because it could be the secret shopper. I don't care if it's the mayor, assistant city manager, director, or resident of the local shelter; I give the same level of service to everyone. I don't do it because I'm afraid word might get back to my boss that I did a subpar job. I do it because it's my job, and I take pride in my work.
I am finding, more and more, as I meet more people that this seems to be an uncommon driving force. It is true that I wouldn't do what I do if they didn't pay me, but since they do I think they're entitled to the best I have to give. I couldn't live with myself if I end the day knowing that I left something on the table... well I could live with myself, I just couldn't sleep well. My question is, where are the others like me?
I know some, I'm friends with them. I work with some of them. I live next door to one. Are the others missing a gene, or lacking that elective class that we all took in highschool called "Work Ethic: How to be Considered Employable by Spencer." Perhaps this is what we need. Education on the importance of work ethic. I've been considering writing a book lately for managers with hiring duties on how to spot employees that have it... that one's still kicking around in the old noodle. Seriously though, think about how different things would be if we found a way to identify people with such work ethic and weed the others out of the workplace... or better yet, instill this value in everyone before they get into the workforce!
It makes me wonder what those people that just don't seem to care tell themselves at night... or if they think about it at all. Now, I've had crappy jobs. I used to make bathtubs for trailer houses, I waited tables, I bussed tables, I made fried chicken for PopEyes, I've sifted through garbage to find accidentally discarded forks... anyway, my point is, I didn't want to be there most of the time, but I made a deal with them that my time was their's in exchange for a predetermined amount of money and a few stipulations. Once the deal was struck, nothing made me stay with it. I had no contract. I just lived up to my word.
I know I'm not really special in this respect, and I didn't mean to imply so. I could have used other people as examples; it's just that I'm most familiar with myself. I'm just wanting to offer this advice to those out there who wonder why they don't get ahead, or pay raises, or praise, or anything. Regardless of how well you think you do your job, look at what motivates you to do it. Do you work out of fear of being fired, or fear of anything really? Or do you do it well because of pride and work ethic? I'm going to bet, if you look at it honestly, you probably do it out of fear. If not, you have a horrible boss and should quit right after you get another job lined up.
Sorry that this wasn't about the library. It's just my two cents this time.