There are some jobs that I come in contact with that almost always involve negative experiences. The DMV, Airport Screeners etc. It seems like the people who work there never have a smile on their faces or a pleasant word to say.
When I first moved to Anderson I traveled to our local DMV office with a cup of coffee and book in hand prepared for a wait. But, I was in and out with my new drivers license in about 10-15 minutes. The longest wait was for the card to print. Pleasantly surprised, I approached the counter to pick up my license with a huge smile on my face and tried to speak with the agent there. That attempt was met with cold silence. I thought that they must only hire people with horrible attitudes to work at the DMV.
I used to think the same thing about other certain occupations. Like the TSA. Those people are never pleasant. Aside from the fact I feel incredibly judged for every item I take, or if I forget to remove some piece of clothing, it is never a pleasant experience. There are never smiles. I guess when National Security is on the line you can’t smile?
One of my current neighbors works for the TSA at the airport in Greenville. She’s got a small dog so we see each other a few times a week while walking our dogs. I have noticed a pattern in our interactions. Before she goes to work, she is nice and very friendly. When she comes home from work, she is the opposite.
I thought about her a bit tonight while the cable guy was trying to get my HD box hooked up tonight. He got to my house around 6:30 and I was the last call on his work day. I’m sure he was hoping things would go smoothly and that he’d get to go home soon. But the box didn’t work. The second box had issues. It was soon approaching 8 and he was still working on my box. I know that he just wanted to go home and watch Dancing with the Stars (his words) but things weren’t going well.
I realized how I’m predisposed to assume the worst about DMV, Cable, and TSA workers. Their work often causes me to be inconvenienced. And I can imagine an 8+ hour work day that is full of disappointing people and inconveniencing people would be nothing short of a beat down. I’m not always kind when things don’t go as I planned and I imagine that on the scale of their work days I’m considered nice.
I just wonder, which came first the chicken or the egg?
I always assumed that disgruntled rude people worked in these jobs. But maybe the people in these jobs are that way because you and I make them that way. Maybe I should start assuming the best about those whose jobs are to inconvenience me (and therefore keep me safe, in most cases) and maybe I should try to make their job easier.