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Be Nice to the Cleaners

Be Nice to the Cleaners

I went to participate in an event held at a bookstore in a big city. I saw on the store’s calendar that a Very Famous Author (we’ll call him Mr. X) had been there the day before.

“Wow,” I said to the staff. “’I’m intimidated to follow Mr. X. What was he like?”

The two exchanged a glance, and apparently decided I was trustworthy enough to not report them to their manger. “To be honest,” one of them said, “Mr. X was an asshole. He came in, didn’t say hi to anyone, and threw his keys on the counter, demanding that someone valet his rental car.”

They went on, telling me how they liked his book but no longer had a good impression of him as a person.

I reflected on this later as I left the gig (being sure to thank the staff). I thought it was sad that Mr. X had been so stressed that he took his bad day out on the bookstore staff. He might be a better author, but I’m a better person—or so I told myself.

Then I remembered a recent flight out of my hometown airport. I had stopped off in the bathroom and was washing my hands while carelessly leaving my bag out of sight. From around the corner, I heard a voice: “Hey, whose bag is this?”

I said it was mine, and the voice behind me said, “It’s not good to leave your bag where you can’t see it.”

At the early hour I was sleep-deprived, decaffeinated, and offended. Who was this guy telling me where to put my bags? I know a thing or two about travel, especially from my home airport. I said something curt—“Don’t worry about my bag. I’ll take care of it.”

Then I turned around and realized he was the airport janitor… who was just trying to help me. And then, to my further embarrassment, I realized that he had a disability. Had I really been rude to a disabled janitor?

Alas, it was true—and the realization was enough to make me feel like a pretty low person the rest of the day. No matter who you are or what else is happening in your life, if you treat the guy who cleans the airport bathrooms with disrespect, you deserve bad karma for weeks.

***

In the interviews with unexpected entrepreneurs that I’ve been doing for my next book, someone said an interesting thing recently: “Be sure you are nice to the cleaners.”

I think the lesson was that the people who clean your office often have access to sensitive information, and you want to make sure you don’t give them a reason to dislike you. But I’ve tried to apply the advice in another way, by making sure I treat everyone with gratitude and respect, even when I’m tired, or perhaps even when I don’t receive the same respect in return.

You can learn a lot about someone by watching how they treat the people in supportive roles around them. Chances are, you won’t always get this right yourself—I was judgmental of Mr. X until I realized I had done virtually the same thing in a different situation. The point is: people are watching you, and what you say matters.

Be nice to the cleaners. You owe it to yourself and to them.

###

Image: kr428

65 Comments

  • Joshua says:

    They are just as human as we are. Lovely story.

    Being nice to the cleaners may also give you unexpected friends. At the cafeteria of a former school, there were two guys who cleaned off our trays as we left the building. Saying hello to them one evening led to times of joking, laughter, and joy whenever I saw them. They are among the most warmhearted people I know.

  • Aaron says:

    Even when your tired. That’s when character kicks in, or rather is revealed. And when it doesn’t kick in, if it’s there somewhere (maybe it was just sleeping), we swallow our pride, walk up to the one we’ve offended, and apologize.

    This stuff isn’t always easy is it. Keep pushing us Chris. And thanks for your honesty.

  • Patricia GW says:

    I used to be one of those cleaners. I worked at a major hospital, and one of my co-workers was very disgruntled. The doctors treated her poorly, so she riffled through patient’s sensitive documents. She had nothing to gain from seeing their reports, but she wanted the satisfaction she was putting one over on the people that had been mean to her.

    On the other hand, I just felt invisible as the doctors ignored me like I wasn’t a person. Eventually I “rose up” and now have a full-time job (whether this is what I want to do with my life is another story), but I leave candy and nice notes to the cleaners of my desk, and sometimes I get notes back. It’s all about respect, and the fact that a little appreciation goes a long way.

  • Joel says:

    That’s the very definition of character – how you treat others who can do nothing for you.

    Not always perfect at this, but something to keep in mind and keep getting better at!

  • K Apple says:

    After sixteen years in book retail I can tell you this is so true. There are certain authors I will not recommend just because of their demeanor to staff.

  • Mary Jane says:

    Beautiful post, Chris. Observing how a person treats someone from whom they want nothing is another important clue to character, I think.

  • JOHN says:

    It is also a good idea to be nice to your aircraft mechanic, and the cook who makes your food, however the best way to be is to be respectful without motive.

  • Jay says:

    My Mother was right – “Please” and “Thank You” are magic keys. And since I used to be one of the cleaners, I am prone not to forget. If nothing else it comes as a welcome surprise in a hard work day.

  • Good article. One of my favorite quotes from Freud (whether accurate or not) is, “neurosis is no excuse for bad manners.” You don’t even have to be overly friendly to be civil, which is expected (and appreciated) from every gentleman and gentlewoman. Send thank you notes and remember the staffers (they can make all sorts of things happen for you, and are the ones who “remind” and “advise” the powers that be…) Even Nixon advised to write the loser–He’s the one who needs it.

  • Dave says:

    “The point is: people are watching you, and what you say matters.”

    I say do what’s right, regardless of whether or not there are others “watching you”. Doing what you know is right is the right thing to do, PERIOD.

    Of course what you say matters! Even, maybe especially what you say silently only to yourself matters! Even when others are not watching, YOU are witnessing everything you think, say, and do. Thinking, saying, and doing anything but what’s right doesn’t feel good, and there’s a reason for that!

  • Julie says:

    I’ve worked in all kinds of positions, at all levels and I believe that every person, regardless of what they do, deserves respect and kindness. Thanks for the honest and insightful post!

    I just wish I could learn to be a more patient driver . . THAT is where I have problems :)

  • devin says:

    I identify, Chris.

    I have this marble that rolls around the inside of my head and it contains all the problems of my day, or things about my life I do not like, my defensiveness, and so on. If I am not careful, it is easy to take my feelings out on the world. I don’t mean to, but it happens anyway. The only combat to the marble is by making sure I am of service and actively kind to those around me. Keep up the honestly and the good work.
    devin

  • Ellen Berg says:

    When I was beginning my student teaching, the professors advised us to be extra kind to all the service personnel–secretaries, custodians, etc.–at our school sites. After 15 years of teaching, I still count that as one of the top pieces of advice, and I cringe when I see colleagues treat the heart of our school as less than.

    Last time I checked, we were all human, all equal. I don’t have the organization skills of our secretaries, and I definitely don’t want to scoop poop off the floor like our custodians have had to do. They are blessings to me and the kids I serve, and I remember I cannot do my job effectively unless they are there.

    People need to get over themselves. Salary, position and power do not make someone better than another. How we treat others is the most important measure of our humanity.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  • Sophia says:

    This is spot on advice and thank you for sharing this reminder.

    I’ve felt that everyone should have to work retail for food service, so that they know how to be a better customer and citizen.

    When I used to interview job candidates, I would always check with the reception staff who greeted them to see how the candidate treated them and inteacted. It was reported that on candidate was dismissive to our wonderful receptionist. I kept that in mind as I was considering the candidates.

  • Marinda S. says:

    Any teacher with years of experience will tell you, be kind and respectful to the receptionist and to the janitor. I taught preschool, kindergarden, first and fourth grade. The support staff always had my back and I had theirs. My room got the attention it needed and I always knew about parents on campus, happy or unhappy visit. They are the unsung heros on the campus and as parents, after you check out your child’s teacher and the room, meet and introduce yourself to the support staff. You will be glad you did.

  • Matt says:

    So true! When you work w/ the public you come to expect the bad apples, some days it seems that is all that comes through the door. When I was doing graduate work went to a restaurant w/ brother and fellow grad student. Waiter was perfect, never before or since experienced such service. Stood out so much that we left a tip of between 30 & 35%. Was never able to get this waiter again before he disappeared, moving on to something better I’m sure.
    Different note, you might want to read/comment on the” Stay young, grow rich” article in the July/August issue of ‘Men’s Health.” Thanks for article.

  • Great advice Chris. I used to do a lot of hiring at my old law firm, and one of the best ways to determine whether we should hire someone was how they treated the receptionist and admins.

    So often, people think that they are above someone else, and then treat them poorly. Little do they know that those people talk to the people the other people they are trying to impress.

  • Ah, this is bitter sweet article. I think we are often tested when we are tired or don’t feel well. This is when the REAL character comes out. It’s also about humility, we are all the same, no matter what the job. Driving in L.A, I’m beginning to think people’s real personalities are how they are to other drivers….. do they cut you off, cut in when they shouldn’t, give space…..oh well, perhaps this is a separate blog.

    Nice article Chris.

  • Kevin Le says:

    The janitors and bartenders know everything! Karma: what goes around comes around. Thanks for the tip!

  • Meg says:

    Treating everyone equally. I think we learned that in school growing up but for some people it has fallen through the cracks. I am very aware of this in my everyday life. You can’t judge a book by it’s cover. Until we dive in and really know a person’s story and history who are we to make assumptions on their character. My mantra is spreading love and positive vibes- I like to read the whole book first. :)

  • It still frequently blows my mind that Mr. X-like tendencies abound all around us. I think once people let the fact that their problem is just that – THEIRS – detonate in their minds, they’ll find it easier to not take it out on others.

    Being nice to someone who means nothing to you is one of the simplest acts of human goodness, and something we can always improve upon :)

    Good one as usual Chris.

    Vivek

  • Nathalie says:

    We’re human after all… ;) Thanks for writing this Chris. I’m a pretty empathetic person so I can relate to how people feel easily, but it happens to all of us. Like you mentioned though, it tends not to be the other people’s stuff that makes us act badly, but more of our own stuff. Like sleep deprivation, stress, etc.

    Taking care of ourselves means we can take better care of others. Kind of ironic, but true.

  • I agree wholeheartedly. I used to work in the foreign service and learned very early on that Ambassador’s secretaries were really where all the power in the embassy lay. Sure the Ambassador is Head of Mission on paper, but I’ve seen so many people upset a secretary and then never get within twenty feet of the big office. It’s so easy to judge people by their pay checks and accord respect and politeness accordingly.

    You can learn a lot by watching people like Nelson Mandela – if you see him working a room he gives the janitor and the head of state the same attention and respect, and he’s capable of showing a genuine level of interest in everyone he meets. It’s a skill to aspire to.

  • Rowan says:

    Some years ago I worked in a corporation and usually wore business attire. One day I came into work after being up all night assisting a friend to evacuate his house due to an approaching bushfire. I had not had a chance to go home and change, so I came into work wearing jeans and a casual top. As it happened I went to wait for a lift and found myself standing next to one of the senior management staff, I man that I interacted with professionally from time to time. I looked at him and said hello. He looked back at me and said nothing, just looked away. I just thought that he didn’t hear me so I said hello again, and same deal. Thinking how odd this was I tried again, this time touching his arm as I spoke to him. He looked at me up and down and then finally said “Oh sorry, I thought you were the cleaner”. I was absolutely flabbergasted! So what if I was the cleaner, you don’t just deliberately ignore someone’s greeting based on there actual or percieved social standing. What an ass. I never looked at him the same way again…

  • Michelle says:

    I used to be one of those awful, horrible people that thinks that everyone is below me. I treated no one with respect. Then one day I came to the horrifying realization that that attitude stunk and no one wanted to be around me because of it. So I changed, and now I am nice to everyone. I try to make a point of being extra nice to everyone, even if they are grumpy back. I don’t know what they are going through and maybe it will help make their day better if even for a moment. I have found that using that attitude with everyone gets me lots of favours and special treatment simply because people want to not because I demand it.

    Great, great post my friend. Thank you!!!

  • Ruth says:

    When traveling, you do yourself and others a favor with being respectful.

    Last time I went on a trip it was 3 plane rides, one of them being 10 hrs in the air. The man behind me kicked me often not knowing, threw a newspaper over my head, talked so loudly I could not sleep and I had forgotten my ear plugs and was hoping for a sleeping pill but didn’t have one. I could have called the air hostesses. But could really could not see the point.

    The best way for me was to remain passive and calm as I don’t think he really knew what he was doing. I have made a lot of mistakes on calling people on things too early so I saw that as a way to just let it go, annoying as it was.

    A couple of weeks ago I had an accident and was in a wheelchair. I was in it while traveling and flying for two weeks around Europe. I’ll tell you this, you get people literally getting angry you are in their way or looking at you like you too privileged to get run around, in the taxi first or first on the tram, or look at you like you are about a hour away of dying.

    We could all use more respect.
    It is an endless process and I intend personally, whether it is in Walgreens or letting drivers get in front of me or just not mouthing off when someone else is disagreeable to let this be a part of my learning curve as a better person in life. Work in progress. x

  • Nice one :-) I couldn’t agree more…and having worked as a cleaner in Holland for a couple summers, I know how much trust office people put in you and, while I can’t say anyone using the places I cleaned ever thanked me, I did get extra hours written onto my time sheet for taking my job very seriously…and the people I worked alongside also made it clear, just by genuine friendliness, that they appreciated the little white-college-girl taking the work seriously! And don’t talk for Molly…the cleaner at a place I worked in London. She was a gem, kept me company late nights and helped me understand about having an alcoholic in the family. People aren’t their jobs – they’re people, real people.

  • Penny B says:

    This post is so ironic. This past Sunday I was stranded in Atlanta AP, after a 13 hour flight and sleepless overnight in an airport, the cleaning lady in the restroom was the NICEST person I had encountered in the7 days of abroad traveling, it was so refreshing and I returned the pleasant chit chat and made sure to tell everyone about the brief encounter. Remember: We ALL pur our pants on one leg at a time!!!!

  • Mary says:

    You are sharing a principle that can never be learned too early in life Chris. That is in a nutshell as was explained to me many years ago, “You see the same people coming down as you did going up.” It puzzled me at first but I learned the message and throughout my life have tried to live by it. May I provide an example. For a time I worked for the court system which is ironically filled with many prominent figures… and also “low lifes” who come into the system. But alas with that “janitor” who with his/her nose to the ground cleaning and communicating with all levels within the justice system, gathers much information. So much so that the person could write a book. If a judge, or in my case an employee of the court system treated that person who cleaned for us who was probably at the bottom of the pay scale with all due respect, I would have nothing to lose. ( Some do, many don’t, it’s an ego thing) Being of a Christian back ground I know and realize, ” what so ever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.” Every day in my present position that I have had for over 15 years, I thank the man who empties my trash and always receive a smile. He knows what is going on, no question about it.

  • Caroline says:

    Its so true! As a current nanny- its night and day with the families who treat me with respect, and the ones who don’t.

  • Brandy says:

    I worked as a housekeeper for more than 10 years. To this day, I can’t walk through the mall without seeing the same type of cleaning cart I used to push around. Thank you, Chris, for writing this. It made me so happy.

    But I disagree when you say that because you were unkind to the janitor, you deserve bad karma for weeks. You deserve as much goodness and love and room to make mistakes as the beautiful soul who was cleaning the airport bathroom.

    I am so thankful for janitors for doing what they do. I am equally grateful for you, for doing what you do.

  • Amor says:

    I truly enjoyed this post Chris. Be nice to the cleaners. Be nice to the security guards, to the service crew, actually to everyone. It’s something I’ve been consciously doing. To be nice even if you don’t have to, even behind their back.

    I enjoyed the comments as well. Just glad that a lot people are in the same kindness revolution :)

  • Matthew says:

    Great post. I am a Recruitment Manager and I always ask our driver, our receptionist, the clerks how an applicant behaved towards them. Everyone is nice to me, but if the applicant was rude to the receptionist or driver, we dont hire!

    In the building where I work, the cleaners are all from Nepal and not paid so well. They are contractors to another company, so I tip the fellow who cleans my office. I also save the little soaps and shampoos from my hotel stays and package them up for the guys. My office is very clean as a result! I also have security guards at my compound and when I order a pizza, I order two and have one left at the gaurdhouse…

    I give all my slightly frayed dress shirts to my driver. He always looks very sharp.

    I always ensure the leftover food and cake from parties is sent to the cleaners as well. It is good karma but it also keeps you from over eating!

    small things do matter

  • Carolyn says:

    Everyone’s having a tough time right now, and needs the moral support. It constantly amazes me that when I simply say “Hi! How are you doing today?” to any service industry worker, they’re practically in tears because no one says it to them. Having stood in their shoes, there aren’t enough ways to thank any of them in my book.

    Something’s really wrong when this isn’t commonplace anymore. If we don’t have each other’s back, then who will?

  • Cregg says:

    So here I sit in the Starbucks of the Lima, Peru airport. I just “let out” my frustration on the barista that got my order wrong, and then I sit down and start to read this blog post….should’ve read it first. I just went and apologized. Good article!

  • Ariane says:

    Haha, curiously, I’ve always found that I got along better with the cleaners than my schoolmates.

  • Laurie Smith says:

    Excellent article, Chris. This is advice my Dad has given me throughout my life. My Dad once went on a job interview, introduced himself to the receptionist and made polite small talk with her, and then sat down in the lobby to wait for the person who was going to interview him. The receptionist stepped away from her desk, walked over to my Dad, shook his hand and introduced herself as the person who would be his new boss. She congratulated my Dad for getting the job. He was the ONLY one of the job applicants who treated the “receptionist” courteously. He was offered the job because, as his boss noted, “How a person does one thing is how they do everything.”

  • Excellent post, Chris. Spot on.

    I also try to look “the cleaners” in the eye and remember their faces. We all get busy, but this connection is probably more meaningful to me than to them.

  • Kerry says:

    I totally agree Laurie. It is how you treat people when no one is looking that is the true test of your character. I have always been respectful, polite and friendly with building guys, people who clean, the janitor, you name it. Why? Because they are all people at work and deserve my respect. Over the years, I couldn’t even name all the things that were positive in return. Whether it was the guy who used to line up my shoes for me (creepy but cool), the maintenance guys who saved our company thousands by always showing me what to do and how to get around major repairs just because we were buddies, to me just feeling safe after hours when alone in the office because someone who I had a good relationship waited to be sure I made it to my car ok. Be nice to everyone. And be especially nice to the people who have the unfortunate job of cleaning up after you.

  • deb miller says:

    I worked in the hospitality industry for 20+ years, from the dishpit to a senior manager. Whenever I hear anyone giving front line staff attitude, from outright rudeness to yacking on their mobiles while ordering their coffee I always wanna slap them and make them change places for at least 10 hours.

    For a funny look at those rude, but “I’m entitled” people check out you tube for hotel check in, diamond guest – its soo true to what front desk agents have to go through.

  • Charles Rodkoff says:

    Three thoughts:

    Be kind to the people you meet on the way up because you meet the same people on the way down.

    Wolfgang Johann von Goethe, who, after a critic mentioned to him that the character of Werther in Goethe’s novel ‘The Sorrows of Young Werther’ was weak, almost despicable, replied, “Yes he is, but who has not been like Werther at one time or another?”

    And finally, from our dear friend Robert Burns: “O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!”

    Nice post Chris. Thank you.

  • Lloyd says:

    I was always told, “Be nice to every kid, because you never know if you’ll need that person someday.” And although it did teach me to be nice to others, it came with the wrong reason to do so.

    Today, I understand the message behind this, but I still don’t like the “schemy” wording.

    I do like “Be nice to the cleaners.” Even though there’s still that underlying tone of being nice to someone to benefit yourself, it’s not as blatantly obvious as the former.

    Good post and thanks for the reminder.

  • Sameer B says:

    I find it so humbling each time I notice that I have just as many if not more so called faults than the other guy. And each time I call or think of any Mr. X as an asshole, or I seem to be so sure that he is such and such kind of a person, I get a sense for that span of time I have stopped growing.

    Thank you Chris!

  • Dawna Brown says:

    I saw this over and over again when we were stationed at the US Embassy, Cairo, Egypt.

    Folks entering the Embassy, on their way to work, would flash their entry IDs at the Marines with no sort of “how to do.” And these young men and women would push the release button to let them it. My thought after seeing this… How polite these young folks were, who were being ignored, but were expected to lay down their lives to protect these rude people.

    I started making a point to stop at the window and ask their name, how they were doing, what their night was like, how their family was. Of course this was holding up the people behind me, but after a bit, more started doing the same. By the time we left Cairo, the newcomers would be griped at for ignoring the guards.

    I’m glad I was the start of the ripple that still goes on today.

  • Robbie Mackay says:

    I’m reminded of something else I read recently, though I can’t quote it exactly:
    When your at your worst, tired, stress and worn out.. that’s when people find out who you really are, thats what people will judge you on. That’s when you have a chance to really show who you are. Do you take it out on someone else? or do you dig deeper and show compassion anyway?

  • TD Hollis says:

    Take this to its logical conclusion – also be nice to those closest to us. Have you ever been yelling at your kid, the phone rings, you answer in the sweetest voice, “Hello.” Have you ever had a lousy day at work, come in and snapped at your significant other when he/she asks how your day went? Be kind to others: strangers, friends, those of your own household. We all deserve it and we all need to be reminded. Thanks for your Post reminding me.

  • I loved this post, Chris. I try to remember that everyone is somebody’s son or daughter, and I want to treat them as I’d like others to treat mine. I felt a pang in my stomach when I read this post. I know exactly how you felt … I’ve been there, done that. I think we all have. Thank you for the reminder to think about what we bring to the world instead of what we take away.

  • Lois M. says:

    Great reminder, Chris…. when we’re too busy to be polite to others, no matter who they are, we are missing out on so much. If I see a cleaning person in a public restroom, I always try to say thank you for a job well done. There’s nothing worse than a dirty, nasty public restroom and I truly appreciate one that’s clean! Thanks for the post!

  • Wyman says:

    Jay Abraham engages everyone. He does more than just say hi to the doorman or janitor. He asks about their family and learns from their ideas. It was a janitor that was concerned about the interruption in business when a company was going to add new elevators. He suggested putting them on the outside of the building instead of tearing up the inside. And you thought some brilliant engineer thought of the idea.

  • Deborah says:

    And I always took be nice to the cleaners in a different light. I was friends with the janitors when I was a HS student; these guys were the go-to guys. They knew where things were, how things worked and they were always there so if you needed a friendly word or a way to get into your locker, either way they had you covered.

    The cleaners and the janitors of the world are the people that support you. It just makes sense to make sure you’re good to them.

  • Maybe it’s because my dad was a blue collar airplane mechanic; maybe it’s because my mom worked at McDonald’s for a while and I got to see how people treated her. Maybe it’s because my first job was doing janitorial work. Maybe it’s because I worked briefly with street people and realized how unusual it was for anyone to make eye contact with them. My parents taught me to be polite and respectful no matter what someone’s role, and they taught me well. I’ve discovered it makes me happier, and it’s a lovely thing when someone realizes they are not invisible to me.

    Treating others with respect and friendliness also has practical benefits, I admit: When I have taken the time to get to know the people in the mail room, or the janitors, or the wait staff, I also am treated well in return.

  • One of the reasons I appreciate your writing is that you aren’t shy about sharing the moments when you don’t live up to your standards for yourself. I know that I have had plenty of those moments in my own experience, and I believe sharing them keeps us humble–and connected. Thanks for that!

  • There is no such thing as a small, unworthy person. I learned this when I worked at Blockbuster in a really nice neighborhood. My co-workers and I use to dread all the “rich wives” that would come in, ignore their children for half an hour, and then get mad at us when it took longer than 30 seconds check them out.

    But something weird happened on Friday nights – their husbands came in. On Friday’s their husbands (most of whom were either VPs or CEOs of major companies) came into the store with their families to pick out a movie. Only once was one of their husbands a jerk to me and I could tell he was having a rough night, outside of that one guy they were always friendly, nice, and seemed genuinely interested in what I was doing.

    It surprised me, but it taught me something: Everyone is someone, so be nice. That one tip has helped me do more than just about anything else in this life.

  • Jeremy says:

    I think this is a great way to live. On a different view of not judging a friend of my dad’s who was on the boards of many companies would dress casually when he stayed in the woods and someone actually thought he was the care taker of a place. Kind of hard not to laugh at the person who made the mistake and made a complaint about him. I feel everyone deserves respect and anyone might need my help or I might need thiers. As I say to my clients I am not a judge so I don’t judge them. As others have said your true character is how you act under stress, and if we look out for each other maybe we all will have less stress.

  • Julie says:

    You feel good by doing good as Roger Walsh says. Forget about what others think or say. Feeling good by being nice is it’s own reward.

    P.S. I really appreciate the thoughts you share with us Chris!

  • Elise says:

    I became friends with the Columbian cleaners at the office, two close friends. We would talk and laugh in Spanish and we got along well. They would even bring me home made Columbian dishes and fresh yellow mangoes. I miss them.

  • Deen says:

    There was a story around sometime back which basically had this professor giving quiz asking for Janitors name in the bonus section and when a student ask if it serious. He have mentioned ‘yes’ knowing that the students will one day work with others and its important knowing every name or something along that line.

    Now Chris, I was once advised to look how people treat table waiters, chances are that’s exactly how they will treat you in few years time. Turned out to be true on one occasion.

    Cheers, Deen
    P. S. Nice theme :)

  • Matt says:

    I’ve just discovered your site. I am new to this organised non-conformity!

    I enjoyed your post and thought it worthwhile to say that self-reflection and awareness is an important part of growing as a person, and goes hand-in-hand with our actions every day.

    Treating others with an attitude of reverence and thankfulness is a huge part of combating the negativity and darkness in the world. Thanks for sharing!

  • I just got a reflection handed to my speaker’s bureau on a talk I did this week to a large corporation’s internal meeting. It is my favorite in a long time. It said, Carol was truly wonderful—as a person and presenter”. Totally made my week. I lived up to my principle which is much like this one. Engage everyone the with the same level of respect irregardless of their role.

    Thanks for the wonderful piece.

  • Leigh says:

    “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.” George Washington Carver

    I thought it fit the post!

  • Keith says:

    I was in the service industry in one way or another for over forty years mostly as a telephone technician. I can say that I have recomened or not many places based on how they treated me as a service individual. We were in a tourist town and many people asked me for my likes and I simply told them and assholes didn’t get a good one.
    With my background I have a respect for the people that make our lives more pleasant and attempt to thank them when possible.

  • Steph L says:

    be nice to cleaners and tea ladies (if there are any still left!). remember the old saying – be nice to people on the way up, because you will meet them again on the way down (or something like that)

  • Vanessa Mary says:

    I was at one time working as a cleaner and I never forgot how rudely I was treated by some of the people I was cleaning up after. One staffer tried to force me to pay for a cup of coffee when I had been told to help myself anytime(I was hardly hogging the coffee either!). Well I was deeply hurt by how mean and begrudging this person had been and when their bosses found out they were pissed and one of them saw to it there was a fresh pot waiting for me everyday in their office as I did my rounds of cleaning,dusting and collecting the days’ trash.

    I am now great pals with the janitor in my workplace and I make sure he has a fresh hot coffee everyday.

  • Lainer says:

    I worked as a prison guard for over 20 years and I always treated the inmates with respect. I used to cringe at how some of the Captains and Wardens treated their own staff and inmates with disdain and superiority. I swore to never treat anyone like that. A job is a job. Judging someone by their job, and then treating them like trash, is just arrogant and disgusting. I recall a Warden who treated an officer like he was a complete idiot, when in fact, this officer only had a master’s degree and was from a high-paid aerospace job which when times hit hard, he was laid off from, and this corrections job was a paycheck for survival. Never judge someone on their work. Believe me, over the years, it’s happened to me as well. I worked in hospitals as an officer, and the attitudes of the Doctors towards officers was horrendous. We would wheel inmates through the hospital, and a Doctor would be walking ahead of me while I pushed the inmate in the wheelchair. The Doctor would open the door to another wing and allow it to slam in our faces! Needless to say, if an inmate “went off” due to their disrespecting them, they had valid reasons for it.

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