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Do Your @!(*%$^ Job

By: on August 29, 2012 in Advice, Annoyed, Rant

This past weekend I was down in the Big Apple (aka New York City for those of you not up on the hip lingo). I had a great time, but a few incidents – and not good ones – stick in my craw. Two were with cab drivers and one was at my hotel.

  • It was hot, so I hailed a cab going up to FAO Schwarz. The cab driver had no idea where that was.
  • The room was made up (late) one day and got a written note from the cleaning person apologizing for not providing a new washcloth – they ran out.
  • Hailed a cab going to Uniqlo on 34th street. The cabbie asks me what cross street.

Before you say I’m overreacting, let me elaborate. When people hire me or Ben for our expertise, they damn well expect we show up with our A game. It has nothing to do with our rates. You hire people to do a job – no more, no less. Expectations are set and hopefully met. For example, if you hire me to help you with your clusters, you expect that I guide you through it and that I can navigate you through any twists, turns, and pitfalls. Reasonable expectation, right?

With that first cab incident with FAO, here was my issue: we’re not talking some obscure NYC landmark. It’s FAO-freakin’-Schwarz. On the short list of known places in NYC, it’s there. A cab driver in NYC who can’t identify landmarks? Come on. The cabbie wound up taking someone else to destinations unknown and the next one I hailed knew exactly where it was.

The second cab incident galled me, though. Get in at the hotel, tell him where I’m going, and he then asks that $1,000,000 question: “What cross street?” So I politely said, “I don’t know.” Here’s where I pretty much was over it. The cab driver then proceeds to say, “Well, I’m not from here.” Look, NYC has lots of people of all shapes, sizes, religions, colors, and nationalities. But you are the one behind the wheel of the cab. I am coming out of a hotel. It’s YOUR job to either know or have the tools to be able to get me there. Period. Not being the shy and retiring type (and maybe I was wrong; but I’m sick of incompetence), I proceeded to say, “Well neither am I. I am staying in a hotel and you’re the cab driver who is supposed to be able to know how to get me there.” He then proceeds to whip out a GPS and enter the address. I was very annoyed.

The hotel stay was quite lovely overall and the washcloth thing really was a speck in the whole weekend, but it definitely falls under “don’t lie to me” and “do your job”. Like I said, the room was made up later in the day. After coming back to the room, there was the aforementioned note (something I’ve never seen in all the years I’ve been staying in hotels). I then bump into the cleaning person in the hall. She apologized again, said she hoped it was ok (it wasn’t), and made pleasant chit chat. I was perfectly nice to her. I went down to the front desk and asked if there was one clean washcloth somewhere in the hotel and if it could be sent up – it’s not like I was requesting 50 of them. When I get back upstairs I find the woman – a bit annoyed – who now says I should have asked her and she would have given me one. What? You wrote a note saying you didn’t have it and then asked me in the hall if it was ok. You set the impression that I couldn’t get one. So I nicely – and not nastily – went to the front desk and asked. I didn’t make a scene, call her dirty names, etc. If you knew you could get me one, why didn’t you do it in the first place?

Looking at the cab incidents, could the addresses have been looked up or cross streets found? Sure. Ironically, for FAO the address was looked up after the first incident. Second cabbie was given it, looked puzzled. Told him to go to FAO and he was like, “OK”. Point being, when I’m in a city that isn’t mine with no rental car, I’m reliant on cabs or public transportation. I hope whoever I get into a cab with either knows where I’m going or can look it up (be it on a map or GPS). That’s the skillset they bring to the table. If they can’t handle that, they shouldn’t be cab drivers. Harsh? Maybe. But I sure as hell wouldn’t be putting myself out there as someone who can help you implement HA solutions if I couldn’t do my job. I show up with  the right tools to get it done. Otherwise why the hell are you hiring me? When I step into a cab, I expect the cabbie – whatever nationality, religion, color, or creed they are – to be able to do their job, too.

As for the hotel one, it’s a first world problem. I recognize this. I’m not one of these people who goes through a million towels. In fact, I often put my towel and such on the door but they replace it anyway; I try to do my part for the environment. Anyway, a hotel running out of linens or towels? Pretty much unheard of. I’ve never experienced that in all the years I’ve been on the road, nor do I remember it on trips with my folks as a kid. It’s just one of those things.  When you’re paying a decent rate, there’s a minimum level of service that you expect. The same goes for what I do. Ben and I aren’t the cheapest kids on the block, but we’re not the most expensive, either. Our clients expect us to deliver at a high rate, and I hope we exceed it every time. So whether you charge $10 or millions for whatever service you provide to a customer, there’s a level of quality people expect. We know it.

What’s the point of all this? I find more and more that people are lazy or complacent in the workplace. I see it all the time or hear stories from friends and colleagues. I know plenty of hard working folks, and I’ve seen the slackers who those people need to compensate for. Don’t be the slacker. Have pride in yourself, your job, and the services you deliver even if you’re a full time employee. Half assing it to me is unacceptable. Expecting – or assuming – others should do your job for you is the wrong attitude to have. You’re not special or entitled even though you think you are. I work hard every day to put a roof over my head, pay my bills, and food in my mouth. I’m very lucky to have the job I do and I know I’m not going to throw that away. All jobs aren’t the best, but be the best wherever you work or find a way to get out (and yes, I know it’s not that cut and dry … I’m oversimplifying this one point here).

You may disagree with me, but people need to wake up. A college degree isn’t a guarantee of anything anymore, let alone a high paying job in IT or management. Walking with your hand out isn’t attractive. With the one cabbie who asked for the cross street, I almost got out and found another cab to prove my point – why should I honor bad behavior? Only after I gave him my line did he whip out the GPS. Like the cleaning person, it took me doing something to get the right thing done.

Where do you fall on this spectrum? Hard worker? Entitled? Know people who feel the world owes them? Curious to hear your thoughts.


7 Responses

  1. James Serra says:

    Very enjoyable post Allen. I have had the same experience with cab drivers in NYC many times. A few weeks ago I told a cab driver I wanted to go to Times Square and he asked “what is the best way to get there?”. I always have my GPS on to make sure the driver is taking the best route.

    I have found in this world there are many hard workers like me, but even more who feel the world owes them and get by doing the minimum amount of work. The end result is my income is much higher than most. And then those lazy workers feel I should be paying more in taxes. Don’t get me started on that subject…

  2. Ankit Mathur says:

    Allan! This is awesome! Glad to see you’re doing well man! This is great, and I totally agree!

    Ankit

  3. Allan says:

    I know my way around NYC a bit, so I’m not worried I’ll get the long way around. I just want competent people behind the wheel, period.

  4. David says:

    And that’s the reason that people who can actually solve a problem will always have work and will always command a good rate. Incompetence is the norm, rudeness is the norm, and if you can rise above those pathetic standards, you’ll succeed. Sadly that’s the recipe for a modicum of success nowadays.

  5. Ray says:

    Allan I agree with the cab driver complaint! It is their job to know. Luckily he did have a GPS so I guess he can make an argument that he was prepared to do his job.

    With respect to the cleaning lady, I think you are a D*CK. If you would just have asked her to please find you one when she ran into you in the hall, she would have. Instead nicely or not, you call her out in front of her bosses.

    You must be a nightmare to work with.

    • Allan says:

      Funny how people think they know you when they’ve never met you. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do if I was such a nightmare to work with and I think plenty of people know how much I help people out, give back, etc.

      You can disagree, but she clearly did NOT want to give it to me. Writing a note and then clearly seeing my body language that I was not OK with it was evident. By that conversation in the hall it was very clear it was not going to get done dealing with her directly. If something happens with one of my customers, I make sure things get fixed. They generally don’t have to ask. There was no offer of “let me see if I can find you one” – she had plenty of opportunity. Heck, even if she had said, “We’re doing some wash now, I’ll bring one up to you later.” That would have been fine. There was no attempt at doing anything remotely like that.

      For the record, I wouldn’t go on your blog or into your place of work and call you what you called me. I could have edited it but I didn’t since I could then be accused of censorship or being a female anatomy part. It speaks more to your character than mine, I think. I’m sure you’re a nice guy and maybe you’re just having a bad day.

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