I was catching up with a friend today over dinner and sharing a lot about my business school experience. I had a moment where I was saying I love chatting with people in the food services space. I think I usually say that it’s because I like the hope of getting free food, but it hit me that that may not be all of it.
I said “I think it’s because I feel like I should talk to them and try to make their day a bit more interesting. I think they must feel trapped having to be so nice to people.” There are probably a lot of things wrong with that statement, but I think it’s either how I view this experience to fit my own experience (like a Rorschach test) or that there’s a sad truth to it. I so often in school (and some parts of life) feel like I’m just living this dull existence where I deal with the annoying customers who want things that aren’t on the menu, have crazy demands or are otherwise bad customers, but to be service-oriented (to be likable, to not be seen as aggressive or militant and to fit in) you have to eat that crow and smile.
I started to wonder if I felt a strong bond because I too (this assuming this is the correct read) felt a sense of servitude to this way of being, this transactional (not relational) dynamic that makes me sad at my core. It’s pretty weird but I’ve always known I would never be good in the services industry and yet I’ve put myself in so many situations where I have to dull my personality to the point of wearing a metaphorical uniform and taking orders to maintain “order.”
Totally not a fully formed thought, but I’m going to think more about this and maybe write some more.