Sunday, May 22, 2016

They Restructured The Household

Domestic Agency:  Why did you leave your last position?

Recently fired candidate:  They restructured the household.

It's been used so often and for so long that it's almost comical, as domestic staff candidates of all stripes and flavors - including my own self to hide behind a termination of my own making some years ago - have grasped for something to save face during the interview and thus feeding the unfortunate, ridiculous notion that being fired should be an embarrassment in our careers, a failure of some sort of which consequences are expected to weigh heavier than the upshot of having given oneself the courage to try and then having learned an important lesson from some honest self-evaluation.

Such thoughts were racing through my head as I approached the suddenly closed counter-space of my local Jamba Juice yesterday, jonesing for a large $9 Peanut Butter Moo'd and amid the confusion of low blood sugar thought I could have sworn I heard the attendant sweeping up the last of the debris, "our contract with Whole Foods has been restructured."

The restructured look.

In my near comatose state as I then rushed over to the food buffet, looking for anything loaded with carbs to wolf down, flashing back to 2003 and having been blessed with four weeks of training from the Guild of Professional English Butlers, recalling one such afternoon where we'd learnt the simple secret of how hospitality servers and bartenders of all sorts could literally triple their income at any time they choose by simply being nice to the customer instead of acting as if they are some sort of interruption. Sounds simple, yes? And it is, really, all it takes is a desire to do it, a desire to be nice, and a desire to have triple the income one had just moments before, by simply adopting the approach that service to others is nothing short of the most honorable transactions we can have in our lives.

I then flash forwarded to my actual experiences at this establishment over the past five years and realized that despite the remarkably fantastic end product, the very reason I had limited myself to purchasing one giant cup of their delicious liquid sugar every month instead of purchasing one every day, was in part to the transaction itself at the cash register being almost too painful to bear, as the Master Blender would continue his/her conversation with co-workers while muttering an exasperated "next in line" and avoiding all eye contact, holding out hand to collect the fine while continuing conversation with co-worker, ultimately sliding the cup toward me in a manner which indicated the ordeal it had been for all.



Was I overly sensitive to this, having been made aware not only through old school English Butler training yet also through on the job requirements themselves over three decades, that the experience of having any product or service delivered is always much greater than the product or service itself?

Could others in our neighborhood have felt the same way?...

... customers like myself ready to pay cash for their smoothie product perhaps thirty times more frequently as well, resulting in perhaps thirty times the total cash revenue going into their registers every month? And, thus, perhaps thirty times the likelihood of everyone there staying employed?

And where's Jamba Juice's Undercover Boss when you need him?


No one is doing anyone any favors by disguising performance problems as "restructuring." 

Without an honest assessment of how one is performing, businesses - as well as anyone who interacts with any other human being for any amount of time during their endeavor, which means the employees themselves and oh yes that includes all domestic workers interacting with their co-workers, bosses, vendors, family, and guests - will simply go on to fail somewhere else. 

Only by taking a close, cold, hard look at the reason for a termination and how to correct it in time for the next round, can there be any hope for real improvement, instead of simply more denial.... and more clever stories about "restructuring."

Now, enough about all of this. Where's that peanut butter.

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