Please, make no mistake, that waitress, that waiter, they’re important.

Nov 12, 2009 by

Please, make no mistake, that waitress, that waiter, they’re important.

Today, I happened to glance over at four women sitting at a table on the patio of a sidewalk cafe. They appeared to know each other well. They spoke casually as they began perusing their menus.

Jauntily approaching their table was the waitress, stepping out of the cafe. She asked if they’d like something to drink. Each of the women stopped momentarily to consider the waitress’ question, but before any of the other women answered and without consulting the other three the fourth woman, without looking up at the waitress, haughtily replied “You can bring us all waters, for now.” She then proceeded to begin telling the rest of the table what she thought looked interesting on the menu, essentially “dismissing” the waitress.

Wow….I must say, I was flabbergasted by this woman’s callousness. I was also struck by her comfortable willingness to completely invalidate the relevance of another human being. Additionally, she was doing this to a person who was graciously “serving” her.

I, in my time, have worked in many diverse of occupations. My career has been a fascinating and constantly winding path for me, always rich and full of diversity. I don’t like to sit in sameness for too long.
However, one of the professions I have never explored is being wait staff.

Yet, while I have never been a server or a waitress I have ever been aware of how much I admire the work they do and the occupational hazards they face, as today’s view was reminding me.

Their profession is a complex and intricate one. It is one requiring infinite patience to be well done.

The best waiters and waitresses I have watched are some of greatest managers of human behavior I have ever observed.

Food and drink can only carry an establishment so far. If people don’t feel appreciated or well tended to by the wait personnel they will not keep coming back.

Yet that delicate balance of humanness has two sides and there are humans on both sides.

The person who serves you is the person who you serve.

I do not mean to confuse you.
Allow me to explain.

Not one of us came here greater than any other one of us.

Not one of us, because of
where we live,
how much money we make,
what we own
where we go to school,
what we do,
how we worship,
what we play,
where we work,
what we drive,
who we’re married to,
how many degrees we have,
what clubs we belong to,
how many pairs of shoes are in our closet,
what we drink,
who we know
is greater than any other one of us.

Not one of us came here greater than any other one of us.

The person who is serving you is committing their energy to your comfort.
They are attending to your needs. They are being kind to you.

They deserve our consideration.
They deserve our respect.
They deserve our appreciation.

Often they will they will tell you their name. Try to catch it. Then try to use it in a caring way when you’re speaking to that waiter or waitress. You know what I mean; it’s nice when people remember our names. It acknowledges that they recognize us. We humans like being recognized in caring ways, no matter what our profession is.

Many CEO’s the world over count experiences when they were wait staff, in their youth, as priceless learning opportunities. Some of the most valuable times being when those whom they were serving treated the errors, the youthful CEO-to-be made, with kindness or generosity. They report those situations provided them with powerful lessons in benevolence. In addition, numerous Fortune 500 executives have noted they hire, in high regard, the person who treats the wait staff as highly regarded. Moreover, they do not give a second thought to the candidate who does not give the wait staff a second thought.

Many of these executive’s also report that their final decisions about whether to trust signing onto a multi-billion dollar business deal can hinge on their observations of how pleasant and considerate the other CEO is their exchanges with the wait personnel. This demonstrates to them the open-mindedness, fairness and collaborative energy the other Chief Executive brings to the table.

We have a great amount to learn from one another,
perhaps, almost as much as we have to teach one another.

But first, we must begin by valuing each other.

Whom you serve is the person who serves you.

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