Taking the Time

Hannah - San Diego, California
Entered on May 1, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in the power of patience. I work in management at a Theme Park call center in an extremely fast-paced environment. Working in management, I am not only in charge of serving the guests but also in charge of helping and managing the team members who are the guest’s first contact. Recently, we hired an 80-year-old gem by the name of Joanne.

The other day I came home to vent to my mom after a hard day’s work. I told my mom all of the funny stories I encountered throughout the day and proceeded to complain about my frustrations with Joanne. That day, Joanne had received a call from a guest who had lost at item at our park. For anyone else, the call would have taken two minutes at the most, but it took eight minutes for Joanne. I explained the process to her, that she would need to call our lost and found department and ask them if the item had been turned in. She proceeded to apologize to the guest that they had lost the item and went on about how much she hoped it was turned in for them and how she would try her hardest to find out if it was turned in. She then called lost and found and proceeded to ask the lost and found team member how their day was going and told them how much it means to the person that they look for the item. Meanwhile, I’m watching her and thinking she’s only taking up precious seconds that she could be using to take more calls! After hanging up with the lost and found team member she got back on the phone with the guest and apologized for another two minutes and told them the item had not yet been turned in. I told my mom how frustrating it is for me that she takes all of this time to just chat with people and ask them “useless” questions.

My mom helped me to understand that Joanne and I are at different times in our lives (obviously since she’s 80 and I’m 20!). I realized that there are people in the world like Joanne that have reached a time in her life where all the urgency and rushing-through has really become pointless. And there are people in the world like myself who are still caught up in all of the hustle. She is so beyond all of the meaningless hurry that she is able to slow down and focus on what really matters: the people. That day, my mom helped me to realize that what really matters most is not the technical things like the numbers but the interactions and the memories that get created. I am thankful for Joanne taking those eight minutes out of my day to help me to realize that in order to lead a carefree life, I need to be patient with myself and others.