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The Similarities Between Parenting & A Customer Service Job

I spent a couple of years in retail management while I worked my way through college. It was the longest couple of years of my entire life. It also reinforced my belief that people, in general, suck. When I resigned from that job I did so with an enormous smile on my face and left skid marks in my haste to get the hell out of that store. I wish I were kidding but y’all- I was the manager of a kids clothing store. I worked open to close on Black Friday and the day after Christmas. I saw kids throw temper tantrums that would blow your mind. Even worse, I saw parents throw temper tantrums that would blow your mind. I though I’d left that horrible time period behind until the other day when I realized just how similar parenting is to a job working in customer service. Talk about jumping from the frying pan into the fire. 

 

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1. The language you use is very similar. “I’m sorry you feel that way” and “Let’s see what we can do to resolve this” are things I say on a daily basis. 

 

2. You must remain calm in the face of irrational anger and terrible behavior. Yelling at the offending person is discouraged. So is physical violence.

 

3. Some people just cannot be pleased no matter what you do. 

 

4. Maintaining a smile on your face is important. In customer service the smile generally is more of a grimace while clenching your jaw shut in an effort not to call the person in front of you a moron. In parenting the smile/grimace comes across a little scary and is usually accompanied by a wild, crazy look in your eyes. See, virtually the same thing.

 

5. Shaking some sense into the person standing in front of you is frowned upon and in some cases, illegal.

 

6. At some point you just stop caring about making the person happy and instead just want them to shut up and go away before you are forced to inflict bodily harm.

 

See. Practically the same thing. Matt reasons that I should be better at this whole parenting thing since I have so much customer service experience. Don’t worry, he paid for that statement. And he’s going to continue paying as I booked a girls weekend out of town for early next year. That should give him plenty of quality time with the kids to work on his own “customer service” skills. Boom. 

 

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