Yes, I can say Good Morning and actually feel the goodness. This after a week of no phone, no cable, no internet and can honestly say, the inconvenience was more an annoyance that a stressor. This was only one part of a series of interruptions, not only were we without the above mentioned on Welcome Wednesday, the morning the caring adults in the lives of the children in Leila’s class are invited to spend time in the place where they are learning on a daily basis – my car decided starting was not in my best interest. Had this been my first experience of a car not operating as planned, I may have displayed a more vivid demonstrative response, but in the big scheme of things just another event interfering in daily plans. Further to this the dishwasher, a supposedly simply machine to operate was confusing the hec out of me. All of this occurring in a very short time period and all after an extraordinarily busy time since the beginning of April with two successful fundraisers, a wedding trip to Costa Rica, and training session in Ottawa – not including life with Leila and the world it brings with it.
And so I wonder how do we face the challenges life sends our way? For each of us it will depend on how full our bucket is. There are moments when I feel so alone and so far down I can’t imagine if the next step can be taken, then Leila’s image comes to mind and moving forward is the only option. Leila has taught me it is the moments to savour as each one brings with it a new possibility. How I allow each moment to impact on my well-being belongs to me. Let’s be clear I have moments of extreme heartache balanced with moments of hopefulness that all will be as it is meant to be. This doesn’t mean how it is meant to be meets with my picture of what that it looks like. This doesn’t mean I will like it or embrace it. It simply means how I respond – well that belongs to me.
So a reflection on the interruptions I experienced this week. My car broke down in the perfect place – outside RL Beattie where people were available to help me with my plight. Jim’s Auto is down the street and over the past decade has been more than a place for a car to be fixed. The human factor at Jim’s is the reason I return again and again. They care about me, the person and service my car. Within minutes I am have someone checking out the situation and giving me sage advice. Leila’s teacher cares about me and wonders if I need a ride. My boss isn’t concerned about me being late, rather about what do I need and am I okay. The human factor.
The dishwasher, not broken, I am technically challenged. Who do I have – an amazing landlord who is patient and walks be through the process, not once but twice. He and his family care about Leila and I. The human factor.
Now let’s talk about no phone, no Internet and no cable for three and half days. The earliest opportunity to have someone come by was on the 3rd day during the evening hours, which I had to cancel because it conflicted with Leila’s soccer schedule, so the appointment was moved to the next day with a 5-hour window. So let’s review all three services out with no explanation from the folks on the other end of the line. My favourite is trying to actually get to a human. Don’t press “0” that is an incorrect response, so you have to go through a series of messages. My favourite was they knew my time was valuable and I could go online, really with no Internet. And before you get to the human you are informed of the common errors that occur, so try that first. Each call takes time to get to the human and it is probably less than 2 minutes, but feels like more. The person in Prince Edward Island couldn’t figure out the problem and she tried. The best she could do was send someone by 48 hours later. I liked her and we chatted about PEI.
Large corporations have done a really good job of training people what to say and how to say it. What they cannot train people to do is be genuine and/or empathetic. What they could do is permit people on the front line to make some decisions that could appease a disgruntled client. After speaking to four people over three days, I finally asked to speak to a supervisor – person #5 at the suggestion of my friends. Supervisor again well trained on the correct language and tone of voice, sincerity of caring not evident. I ask for reduction on my monthly bill for services not present and get it. Asked if I could be moved up to the beginning of the schedule – response “can’t”. Heard “can’t” a number of times not ‘I will ask and see if it is possible’ – “can’t”. When I reminded him there is a competitive market and it may help the business if frontline responders were given some leeway to say – reduce the bill for the month for the lack of service or ask if there is a possibility of moving the appointment, maybe I wouldn’t be speaking to him and sharing my story with others. Human factor – lost. And would a deduction in my bill have been realized if I hadn’t asked? Loyalty to company, not really there. Will I leave who knows? Is it an option, you betcha?
The technician arrived. Voila, the human factor. And this has been my experience throughout the technicians get it. They know their trade and they know people. Maybe because they see us face-to-face and can understand the frustration. Empathy exists. Kindness and understanding exist. Going the extra mile exists. The problem was solved in less than 1 minute, yet a week without service. Interesting business plan.
And you ask, so what? My question all week was around why does it seem everything is breaking down? What am I being prepared for? If everything happens for a reason, what is the reason? What can I learn from all of this? How does this series of mishaps educate me for what is to come? Upon reflection of these questions my first response is the system is broken and others say it is flawed. And once again, I must go back to my bucket is it full and do I have what it takes to weather the storm that is coming?
Draw from your inner strength, from the gifts you have, and the knowing you have all you need and want. Work from the perspective all good work is rewarded.