Customer Service Q&A: I sprung this one on my father

While sitting in the local Nepalese restaurant with my dad, we were enjoying our butter chicken curry and our spicy tandoori when I sprung a quick interview about customer service on him. Conversations like this don’t happen very often, so I wanted to take this opportunity to find out a bit more about my dad and what he thought about the values of the company I am currently aspiring to work at. He was born in Wisconsin and came to Japan in his early 30’s. He has five daughters and loves to write. The interview was simple, and I had a lot of fun asking him the questions.

When you were younger, did you do anything related to customer service?

No.

Not at all? Not even a bar or something?

Oh yeah, I did that when I was younger.

How was that?

I hated it.

Why?

People are jerks, and it stunk like smoke all the time. There were a lot of rude people.

Was this in Wisconsin? There weren’t any other customer service jobs?

I worked at a flouring company as well. I was the manager of a warehouse.

Did you learn anything interesting while you were there?

Yeah, that if I keep doing this I will have a sore back. The stuff was heavy.

What are the customer service difference between American and Japan?

I think in Japan its more formal and ceremonial.


The Buffer Values and my dad’s take on them:

  1. Choose Positivity 

Do what you like. Try to make every situation positive. Try to learn something.

  1. Default to Transparency

Yeah, thats a good idea. They should tell everybody about what’s going on. Don’t keep any secrets.

  1. Focus on Self-Improvment

You got to always try harder I guess.

  1. Be a no-ego doer

We all have an ego.

  1. Listen first, then listen more

You should do more listening than talking.

  1. Communicate with Clarity

To be clear. I’d like to have everything clear, otherwise how do you know what’s happening? You don’t want to be in a fog. You will have accidents if you are in a fog.

  1. Make time to reflect

See how things went in the past and see wants going on. How things are working. Ask yourself, did this work for me? Thats what memories are for. Other things can be to watch your reflection in the mirror, stretching, et cetera.

  1. Live Smarter, Not Harder

Yeah, I agree wight hat one 100%, thats my motto. I’m going to tattoo that on my forehead. Why would you want to do everything the harder way?

  1. Show gratitude

Simple stuff. Compliments. Say something nice. Depends who you are talking to but saying thank you is the easiest.

  1. Do the right thing

Do the right thing! Good idea. What would the right thing be? The right thing would be to do things that you love, but don’t hurt other people.

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Thank you.

Cheers to all of the beautiful things and opportunities that surround me. Thank you so much for it all.
I smile at the clothes that are hanging from the line. I look down at the potato garden that is overgrown. I feel my lungs take in a breath while my heart beats away steadily. I have a lot to take in, and yet there are times I turn my face away from the beauty. I say no to what is happening in front of me today because of a bad mood or a cough. I say no to today because of social pressures and the stress I conjure up in my own head. I say no to today because of laziness and fear. I don’t want to say no anymore.

To take in each lovely moment and reply with,
thank you.

You cannot eat beauty.

Tonight, I watched a beautiful clip about beauty and how women view themselves. I grew up in a homeschooling family so I did not have the chance to compare myself to other girls in school, but I still thought I had it bad.  There are so many opportunities for young girls to compare yourselves to those around you. Their lives become centered on the stars of the media. The so-called “beautiful people”.

Even though I was not in a social situation each day during my early teens, hormones and adolescence hit me hard as it does most. I started skipping meals and took out sugar and carbs out of my diet as a start. Thinking that this would make me “pretty”, I was excited for the day when I would look like those models we see in the magazines. The day never came, and I was left disappointed and in my mind’s eye, still plump.

The thought of food and eating inhabited every part of my brain. I would do calorie calculations in my head every time I took a bite out of something. It engulfed my life and sucked out the enjoyment in every day. I obviously was not on a good mental path and it would have become serious before long.

I can not remember exactly what changed me, but it felt like I healed myself. I realized that I did not want to be hostage to all of these negative thoughts- and I made an effort to think positively. When you are kind to yourself, and start to love who you are, you slowly begin to accept your flaws. That is when the metamorphosis begins. It takes time, but with time, you start to forget the shell that you were trapped in.

It is a great feeling when you are no longer have the mental shackles that tell you that you are not good enough. That you are not pretty enough.

You can always try to be the best you, but it will not make you happy. You cannot eat beauty. You can not rely on how you look to sustain you. How grateful you are is what will make the difference. If you continue to think positive thoughts, the flower inside of you cannot help but to grow.

Why didn’t I give?

I am always so hesitant to give homeless people money. I’m sure the majority of us does not mean it intentionally.

We don’t want to give into their pleas perhaps because subconsciously we believe that we have earned the money while they didn’t take opportunities or chances to work. I always worry that if I give them money that they will just spend it on alcohol or cigarettes. Sounds harsh, I know. But in some countries, like here in Japan, it’s hard to tell.

Some time last year, I decided to go out and draw some billboards near Dotonbori bridge. It is not dangerous in the area, but sometimes it can be a tad shady. I take out the water-colors one by one, and people passing by see that I am drawing the area. They comment and tell me I’m doing a good job. However, they do not stay and people who took interest eventually go on their way. I love talking to people, and I enjoy it when people seem to take a liking to my art.

Half way into my second drawing, a man in slightly tattered clothes comes up to me as well. His beard is unbrushed and he smells a bit unpleasant. He is obviously homeless. He comments on my art and we start having a conversation. I enjoyed the first few minutes I talked to him, until he mentioned that I must have spare money to give him. I felt my walls go up instantly.

I actually didn’t have much on me, but because he was being so relentless I told him that I had none to give and that all I had was enough for my train ride home. He didn’t believe me and still insisted that I give him money. I told him I had none, and he eventually gave up and I went back home.

On the train, I felt very guilty. “Why didn’t I give him anything?” “Am I selfish?” “He’s probably out there freezing now”.

Why did I choose not to give him the money? Do we only give when we feel like it is our idea, and we put ourselves on a pedestal of “I am such a kind person to give up my precious dollar”?

There are always two sides to the same coin. Perhaps I was right in an economical sense by not giving. Apparently it is not good to give to the extra needy because it will lead to something called “rent exhaustion”. The more you give to beggers, the more beggers will try.

I believe my thinking was wrong. I realized that I was being greedy with money when there will always be coins in my purse tomorrow. Despite the possibility of him buying alcohol, despite whatever problems he had in his life, I had the chance to give. Giving should be a priority, not just to the homeless, but to the people around you. It never hurts to give a little more.

This post shall end with a quote that comes to mind:

 

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ― Winston S. Churchill

What does a Teacher and a DJ have in common?

What do you think makes a good teacher? Being a teacher myself, I think about this on a daily basis. I would ask myself, are they learning anything? Are they inspired? Are they excited? If I would come across a student that looked bored I would instantly take it personally and blame it on my not being inspiring enough.

No one can be on the ball all the time, but I find that examining some of my personal mentors, I found that there might be a slight pattern for it.

One man that I admire is Randy Pausch. I have watched his lecture multiple times, and have read his book many times as well. Each time I find myself so drawn to his charismatic personality.

1) He does not give up. On himself or other people. 

“Find the best in everybody. Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you. It might even take years, but people will show you their good side. Just keep waiting.”

I think about this when I am impatient with my siblings or my close friends. We can get on each others nerves sometimes and it is so easy to make that one negative trait define them. Don’t let it. People can change if given enough time and chances.

2) He is super encouraging.

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”

These days I try to keep this quote in my head. The brick walls seem extra tall some days and it is easy to forget that there are always ways around it if we work hard. Carry that sledge hammer with you at all times.

3) He is an opportunist.

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”

We have each day to make the best of it. We can sit around all day and have our brains on autopilot, or we can donate our thoughts to positive causes. It is so easy to blame our circumstances for where we are in life. Find out what you want to do, plan it out, and live it out.

4) He is truthful.

“If I only had three words of advice, they would be, Tell the Truth. If got three more words, I’d add, all the time.”

These days, so many things are acceptable and  normal. One of them is lying, and I dislike it very much. I was raised to tell the truth, and I agree with him 100% when he says it builds more character then you know.

5) He is a hard worker.

“A lot of people want a shortcut. I find the best shortcut is the long way, which is basically two words: work hard.”

At the end of my life, I would like to say that I tried. None of that, “If it had not been for this I could have been this kind of person, yada yada.”

These are a few of many great quotes from him. Despite his many challenges, he always tried to maintain a positive outlook. I want to do that too.

Again, what makes a good teacher? A good teacher could be compared to a DJ.

1. Sifts what matters from everything else

2. Creates the right mix for the occasion

3. Leads and responds to the audience.

(Sketchplanations)

No two people are alike, and I believe that the best teachers are masters at adaption. They know what the individual needs, and what requires their attention. The best teachers care for you and treat your problems like their own. If you are passive about your job, and don’t find ways into your students shoes, then they won’t let you into your hearts or their brains. Ultimately a good teacher is someone that we can take with us, not just on our learning journey, but our life journey. They are there to offer an ear when we need it and not just a hand to dish out the grades. I want to be there for my students and friends, not just for my own gain, but for their wellbeing. The greatest gift a teacher can have is to have the honor to impact their lives.