Flying isn’t fun anymore. This isn’t an earth shattering insight if you’ve flown anywhere in the last 3-4 years (really, much longer). Others have written about how the amount of security post-9/11, or the way most airports are constructed as stressful environments, make flying unpleasant well before you’re in the air.
So, I was at the airport this past weekend dropping off a relative for their flight home. It was early in the morning so our local airport was pretty quiet, pretty calm. And, I hadn’t been to the airport for a while, so I approached going there with fresh eyes and an open mind.
But what struck me was the fellow helping us from behind the counter (we needed some special assistance so we couldn’t use the kiosk). For you see, although I hadn’t been to the airport for a while, he was likely there near daily for his job. Unfortunately, it showed!
Now, he wasn’t mean. He wasn’t rude. But, he didn’t do anything to make his interaction with us an enjoyable one. He seemed edgy, mildly annoyed. And, I’m not looking for a greeting like you’d see in a commercial – I don’t need a grin so big I can see all of his teeth. Yet, I think it’s reasonable to expect some courtesy.
Why couldn’t he deliver?
Because flying hasn’t only become drudgery for the traveler – it’s also become a real drag for those who work at the airport. Yes, part of it comes from frustrated (and even rude) travelers. But, it also comes from counter people at the airport really “owning” that they are an important part of the flight experience. In our case, the person I was dropping off was a bit nervous about travelling. So, the counter person could have done a little engaging with us – simple as “good morning” versus “have you tried using the kiosk” (meaning: “I’m kind of busy here and if there’s a way you could go away, that would make it so I have one less person to deal with”).
I’m writing about an airport counter person, but fact is, I see this all the time in a variety of jobs where people are working with the public (that’s you and me!). Too many companies don’t do enough to ensure the people being hired into these roles actually LIKE dealing with the public. And, too many people going into these roles don’t understand how these are service positions – meaning you’ll be expected to interact with, in a pleasant and helpful way, with a whole bunch of people every week. So, if this isn’t your thing, maybe you should seek out something that requires much less contact with people.
If you are in an outward facing role in your job, ask yourself if you’re having fun. If you’re not, see if you can renew your commitment to making interacting with you both helpful and fun.
Trust me, it won’t only be better for the people you assist. It will start to bring the fun back in your job.Email This Post