Non-Career Advice: Jamie Furlong.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Non-Career Advice is a series that asks people - young, old, and in a range of occupations - for words of wisdom unrelated to work, career-building, dollars, or getting ahead.


Jamie Furlong / Florist + Server at Blue Hill 
Also: Tea drinker / tree clipper / ice cream sundae connoisseur  
Age: 29

Respond to people, not their behavior. I learned a trick a while ago that I use all the time when I’m working at the restaurant. I read it in a book: if you’re dealing with someone who’s being especially difficult, try to remember that underneath it all, that person is just wearing a disguise. That unpleasant customer is just a person — a fragile person — disguised as self-important, or unfriendly, or fussy. Once you remove the way he or she is acting from the fact that they’re human, it makes it so much easier to respond with patience. 

Just recently, I was at the drugstore, and the person ahead of me in line was name-calling the cashier because she wasn’t able to give him the discount he thought he deserved. I probably shouldn’t have done this, but I said, “Excuse me, sir, is this the way you always act, or are you just having a bad day?” And he said, “I’m just having a bad day, you’re right.” It may not have been the best way to handle things, but it diffused the situation. It was a good reminder that sometimes, people are just having a hard time. And that at the end of the day, everyone deserves kindness.

Beautiful. Thank you so much, Jamie. More from the Non-Career Advice series, here.

13 comments:

Helen @ HAPPY AND HEARTWORKING said...

Good lord, I needed this right now, at this exact moment. I work an administrative job and just had my patience tried by a finagling old man. He's wearing a disguise. Of course! He's feeling insecure; he's wanting to feel important, valued, significant. Thank you, Jamie & Shoko. xx

suzanne van waerebeke said...

It's a beautiful advice! I'm a teacher for adolescents foreigners (newcomers), which is sometimes difficult but mostly thankful. I always start my classes with the same thought as Jamie "everyone deserves kindness and a second change". We always have to keep this in mind :)

Nadia said...

Such beautiful words, thank you.

paw said...

what a lovely thought for the day.
and beyond. thanks, jamie.

julie said...

Beautiful, lovely, inspiring ... all in one. World needs more Jamie.

Bekka said...

I love this one Jamie!1

burntfeather said...

This is so great, my lovely boyfriend always advises me to diffuse situations simply by pointing out someone's aggression or unpleasant nature, once you point it out he says people usually mellow. I'm still working up the courage to do this, I'm a bit of a softy! I like this advice to just see people as people :)

Anonymous said...

this is wonderful

Shoko said...

Thank you all so much for reading and sharing — and thank you, Jamie, for such beautiful words.

Christie said...

Such a great advice. In my work, I often have to deal with people being not their nicest. I am a bit thin-skinned and I take it personally, even if I can point to something I know is wrong in the person's life and even though I can justify their actions.

Oh, and I am going to try that line about having a bad day.

Kathy said...

This is wonderful! I really admire how Jamie had the guts to call out the customer at the drugstore so humanely.

stateandoccupation.com said...

Non-Career Advice is such a genius series. I need a Jamie in my life!

Megan Healey said...

Jamie is my hero!

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