How to: Be Nice for a Living

For 35 hours a week, I have to be nice. Otherwise, I won’t get paid. I’m a receptionist and office aid. I man the front desk at my job, and help the people that work inside the office as well. Anyone that works in any kind of service knows that some days, you occasionally fantasize about people being struck by lightning (Okay, I’d never hurt anyone, or genuinely wish people harm, but you wish that Karma is actually a thing and they get their comeuppance).

It’s not all bad. Being nice for a living occasionally means that people are awful to you, but the majority of the time, the office I work in has generally nice people(I know I’m in a better position than someone in fast food, for instance), so for the most part, it’s a positive experience. But on the days where it feels like if one more person asks you if you have X, Y, or Z when they should very well know that you don’t, check out these tips. 200

Give People the Benefit of the Doubt

Sometimes life is hard and you’re really upset about whatever it is that’s happening and you accidentally yell at the front desk person. You’re having a bad day and you just can’t help it. You feel bad about it later because you didn’t mean to be a dick, you just were. It’s helpful if you’re the person being yelled at to remember that people go through shit, and you might not always know their situation. Obviously, this is no excuse for people to treat you like shit, however, it’s humanizing. It makes me feel just a little better when I realize that maybe that person was just having a shitty day, and maybe my kindness made them feel better. It probably didn’t, but if it helps you feel less shitty about your day, try to think about it that way.

Talk About it–But Try Not to Vent Too Much

If you have someone to talk about your issues with, do it. Just try to keep the ranting to a minimum, talking too much shit will start to make you feel like shit, and the whole point of the rant was to avoid that. And once you’re done ranting, take a deep breath and try to spend the rest of the day being positive. Whatever happened is in the past and dwelling on it will piss you off more.

Find an Outlet

If there’s a hobby to work on or place to go immediately before or after work that calms you down, go there. If taking a walk around the block when you get off work makes you feel better about your situation, do it. It’s important to take care of yourself and not let yourself get too wrapped up in the stresses of work.

Become Educated

So, sometimes people come in and ask you questions about something you aren’t qualified to answer, or is someone else’s job entirely. I find that when I educate myself about visitors needs, I can help them even if I can’t directly help their life. For example, if someone comes into my office looking for a different department, it’s helpful to know which department can actually help them, and if I can give them the directions to get there, it’s even more helpful. I try to take matters into my own hands and learn about anything a visitor might ask about, that way their chances of getting angry at me is lower, because then they walk away saying “That girl was really helpful and nice.”

If all else fails, remember that it’s just a job and most jobs are temporary. If it’s that bad, one day you probably won’t work there anymore.

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