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Tonight was fun. I had a chance to help someone that was stranded at the store and needed a ride home. It was clear on the other side of town and I didn't get home until almost an hour and a half after I got off work but it felt good being useful. I think of it as paying into the karmic piggy bank. I'm not sure if I'm carrying a balance or if I've built up some credit, but I think that any time you can make a deposit of good will you should take it.
I like helping people. Its odd. I work in sales, which means that my purpose there is to convince people to buy things so the company can make money. There are two facets to what I do. One involves manipulating the customer into making a purchase that they might not be ready to make yet. The other involves helping a person make the purchase that they want to make but need help doing so. I like the second scenario best, and it almost makes the job enjoyable. I get to use my knowledge to guide people into making good purchase decisions. Usually this involves copious amounts of gratitude from the customer and often people have remarked about how helpful I had been and how they had found it refreshing and suprising.
That makes me happy.
The first scenario makes me miserable. I try to avoid it as much as possible. If I ask a customer if they need help and they express that they are not making a purchase I might come back later and ask again, or more likely I just strike up a conversation unrelated to the products and see if that leads to a comfort level wherein they feel like asking questions that might later lead to a decision about what they want.
I've had lots of great conversations with people about all types of subjects. People are fascinating if you give them a chance to talk about what interests them. It usually takes little more than a couple of questions to get people started. The hard part is getting them to stop. People tell me all sorts of things. I've had people hand me cell phones to talk to their friends or family. I've met people that live out of RV's traveling the country. Others that have engaged in competitive Jet Ski racing, or responded to everything I say with "heck yeah!". This week alone I've meet people from Russia, Belgium, Australia, Kansas (heh!), Japan and India. I've learned out oil drilling and Radiology, storm chasing and real estate among other things, just from random conversations.
I think this keeps me from going stir crazy at work. I'm usually happy if I do nothing more than help somebody fix a problem, even if that means not selling them something new. And that, is bad in the eyes of my bosses.
Is it not truly an upside down world sometimes?
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