There are hundreds of various professions, occupations, jobs, and other pursuits that someone might have – plenty to fit a person’s abilities, educational level, professional or technical training, personality, and communication skills.
Some people are extremely comfortable being away from the public and being left alone in their laboratory, research center, office cubicle, warehouse, or other facilities that do not require much or any interaction with anyone outside their immediate work assignments. Others, such as those in retail or direct sales, are constantly in front of the public and should have a comfort level in communicating with people representing a range of attitudes, backgrounds, age, educational level, temperament, and buying initiatives.
When a person is deciding what line of work to go into, or if they are considering changing jobs, they often are attracted to those with the highest salaries and benefits – even if they don’t meet all of the qualifications. Still, there is a more poignant requirement and that is how well their basic personality meshes with the job they think they might want to pursue. For instance, anyone who deals with the public should be able to relate to the people they are speaking with and help them to feel at ease – even if they never see the people they are working with directly, such as being the person who talks with people by phone when they contact a company’s customer service or technical support department for assistance or to resolve an issue.
The communication skills a person needs to possess and their innate ability to take an interest in people and relate to them on their terms are not something that can be crammed for to do well on a job interview or to put on a good face. They come through doing and from doing it well.
So many times, we see people just going through the motions who really don’t like interacting with other people even though that is a large part of doing their job effectively. If someone doesn’t like working with people and being polite, courteous, helpful, curious, enthusiastic, optimistic, friendly, and outgoing, then working with the public is probably not their ideal calling. They should think about a career change – or an attitude change.
It’s amazing how often we see valets, taxi drivers, shuttle bus drivers, waiters, servers, retail clerks, salespeople, technicians, and others whose business primarily involves serving the public act as if the public is bothering them or getting in the way of them doing their job – whatever they think that might be other than serving the public who is using their service at that moment. They seem to have a “just leave me alone and let me do my job” attitude, which is totally misplaced because their job is serving the public. Of course, this just applies to some service and salespeople, but it really should be nonexistent.
Regardless of what type of business we are engaged in – and whether it’s our business or we work for a company – let’s be careful that we never let our drive or intensity in getting something done or being focused on just the work product overshadow our true focus which is our clients and customers.
Without customers, we have no business. Without satisfied clients and customers, we have no referrals or hope of future business.
As aging in place professionals, we are extremely interested in the welfare of our clients – and even the general public because we can only serve a small fraction of those whom we’d really like to help. We see the people we work with as vital to our business and don’t view them or their needs as a distraction or interruption to our business. In fact, we welcome their interaction. We are in the people business and thrive on the human contact that comes along with serving people without urgent needs who want to make some cosmetic or aesthetic improvements to their home to enhance the over accessibility or function of their space, as well as those with special needs and requirements who need our help in making modifications to their home to accommodate their physical, sensory, or cognitive concerns.
Not only are we curious about discovering from our clients how we can help them continue to live in their homes effectively for the long-term, regardless of how many years that might be, and then having discussions with them about possible courses of action (including designs, products, colors, finishes, budgets, and more) before deciding on a solution that they want, we want to develop a relationship with other professional outside our field that we can use to assist our clients. We are actively looking for people to complement what we provide so that our clients get the very best advice and design available. We are in the business of serving people, and this is more than a slogan – it shows to those who see us in action.