My job is very customer service oriented; I work behind the front desk of a hotel-like establishment. Typically, my day involves ensuring rooms are ready, checking guests in and out, answering questions, and compiling billing documents. Work can be overwhelming at times, especially when we have a quick turnover and many new guests, but I really enjoy the excitement of such a dynamic environment.
We are usually busiest on weekends and this past weekend was no exception. In the morning we had a number of check-outs immediately followed by a group of approximately thirty international conference guests checking in. Normally our guests trickle in throughout the day, so there are lulls and enough time to chat with clients. But this international conference opted for a batch check-in since many of the participants did not speak English. Though I was thankful we did not need to struggle with the language barrier, we were underprepared for the sudden influx of travelers into our lobby.
Things were obviously hectic behind the desk. My coworker and I had both computers cranking out key forms as the translator was calling up guests to be checked in. If I was staying at a hotel and witnessed Sunday’s scene in the lobby, I would stay as far away as possible, or at least wait my turn before approaching the front desk. But, right in the middle of our check-ins, a client comes up to the side of the desk and shoves his passport in my face.
“I need a copy of this,” he said.
“Sir,” I told him, “I can certainly copy your passport. But, you will have to wait until we have finished our check-ins. It may be another fifteen minutes or so.”
He nodded. I expected him to go wait in one of the chairs in the lobby. But, instead, he crossed his arms over the desk and watched me as I checked in each guest. I was taken aback. Just wait your turn!
One thing I have learned from this job, though, is that everyone feels a sense of precedence. His or her issue, no matter how miniscule, is more pressing than another person’s. I know that I am guilty of this sense of importance sometimes. For instance, when I am dealing with a “crisis,” I expect people to call me back immediately. Don’t they understand how pressing of a situation it is?! When they don’t, I become frustrated and stressed. Working a customer service job this summer has helped me realize that I am only a priority for myself. For everyone else, I am just another passport to be copied and I need to wait my turn and be patient.