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Tanya M. Wilson

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This week has been filled with horrible customer service experiences; starting with going to Family Dollar for trash bags, then Rite Aid for toiletries. And finally, McDonalds for attitude with my oatmeal.

I know firsthand that working in a service role has its challenges. The shenanigans brought on by some customers can be shocking.

My experience with customer service jobs started at the age of 15. On my rough days I worked to stay focused on my end goal and not my present. Remembering Zechariah 4:10 ESV which simply says; “For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel,” really helped me.

I learned not to disrespect what I thought were small things. I now know that those entry level opportunities prepared me for my present.

I often think about my first job, at Mr. Nice Cream. I absolutely hated that job, every day I went, I started being miserable the minute my eyes opened in the morning, I guess that is why no one got a cone and a smile.

From there, another customer service job. Miss Grouch with sprinkles was now serving her funky attitude at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor. I was now serving hot dogs with the ice cream and running with a siren when it was someone’s birthday in full costume.

Then I met Ms. Dixon, aka Funky Granny. She had been observing me and my foolishness. She taught me that I would stay right where I was until I started thanking God for what I had. “Stop focusing on what you don’t have, and work on what you need to do to get to where you want to be.” I can still see her gentle smile and slight dimples as she offered life changing counsel.

Through the grace of God, I soon got it. I started getting to the parlor early and with a smile. I left the evolving attitude at home. Amazingly the management team started offering me special projects and including me in a more prominent role on the team. They encouraged me towards my dreams to go to college and so much more. Looking back, it seems that it all changed instantly.

So what changed, it certainly wasn’t the ice cream store conditions. The same customers were coming in, and the same policies and procedures were in place.

What changed was me. I started recognizing that even though I wasn’t in the job I ultimately wanted, it was what I needed. The hours were not optimum, but the bus ran during those hours. I didn’t like the food served there, but I ate and had a roof over my head. My meantime job paid the bills and paid my benefits. It kept me until my change came.

Gratefulness has never left me since that day. In prayer I thank God for what I have regardless of how big or small, down to my very breath. Praise is ever present on my lips.

Read more columns by Tanya Wilson, an inspirational speaker based in Charlotte. Find her on Facebook.

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