I do so hate to be a negative Nelly but every now and then too many things conspire to send me over the edge. Once I start to slide down the slippery slope of sarcasm into the abyss of apathy, I lose all authority over my little slice of nice.
So surely I expect the same courtesy from others when I have the occasional lapse into unconsciousness and behave like a buffoon or the uninformed citizen I sometimes am. Imagine my outrage when I am treated with the disrespect and hostility I am never allowed to show in my line of work!
I’ve spent my whole life preparing for my current job. Years of spiritual training wandering in the desert and soaking in the silence and solitude of sacred spaces has prepped me for handling the daily onslaught of demands, conundrums, and outright perplexities that present themselves in the form of other people.
I don’t know what it is about facing the spreadsheet that makes me so crazy. Every year I ultimately do it. I account for all my income and expenses and then write a check to the US Treasury, the State of Illinois, and the State of Iowa. I’m an equal opportunity tax payer.
Like counting calories consumed, counting money spent is not nearly as pleasurable after the fact. I tend to underestimate on both accounts. Even more humbling is sharing this information with someone who has no interest in the reasons, only the results.
Just as a person trainer might suggest I eat less pasta and do more Pilates, tax preparers tend to suggest I spend less on shoes and earn more in royalties. Admittedly, $33.84 per year is not a substantial second income.
I’m sure tax people can sum up a person by their financials as easily as I might sum up a student’s success rate by looking at their ACT or Compass scores. It’s easier to process large numbers of people and paperwork by labeling or categorizing them. But one thing I’ve learned from working with students is these scores only tell part of their story. The only chance I have to hear the rest of it is to treat them respectfully enough to allow it to emerge.
So I did what I always do when I need perspective. I surrounded myself with my canine companions and asked them what might really be contributing to my tax time meltdown. They suggested the following:
#2) You expect people to be as nice to you when they do their jobs as you are to them when you do yours.
#4) The pen is mightier than the sword. Blog about it. Maybe other people feel the same way, have similar issues, or can offer helpful suggestions?
So, there you have it. From the jaws of canines, the truth emerges.
Actually my biggest take away from this taxing experience was a reminder of why I strive to offer excellent customer service, especially when it is difficult and I’m being a negative Nelly. I never want a student to walk out of my office feeling the way I felt when I walked out of the accountant’s office.
I can’t change the way he does business, but I can remember how I do business.