The Nobility of Service
Last week, I was treated to a fantastic meal at one of Chicago’s landmark steakhouses, at the intersection of mobster and foodie. You would think diver scallops, wagyu beef, and an incredible wine list would be enough to please the most critical of us (and it was), but the highlight of the evening was the service.
We’ve all had great service experiences. I don’t know about you, but one of these certainly can turn my day around, put a smile on my face, and even renew my sense of the good in humanity. To be clear, the two ladies serving our meal that evening weren’t great sommeliers, food critics, or aspiring comedians — they just seemed to like what they did. They got a kick out of making us happy and we got a kick out of their attitude, creating a perpetual loop of good feelings.
My point in sharing this is that there is a nobility and honor in being of service to something or someone. It goes beyond a paycheck or means to an end. There is an intrinsic feeling of pride when you please someone.
I have been in some type of service role all my life. It’s hard sometimes. More than ever, we live in a demanding world. Unlimited choices of latte flavors, television channels, and service companies have created a society of professional clients. We’ve all “turned pro” when it comes to making decisions and being served. At times and in many cases, we take for granted the people and the companies that make those choices possible. Lost in our race to being self-assured individuals with our own eclectic style, we fight against our basic human need for that nod of appreciation or approval. I believe there is a sweet spot to be found in the middle where a strong sense of self can still seek the warm feeling of someone noticing our job well done.
It’s easy to forget that almost every one of us, in some shape or form, is in the service business. Who hasn’t gotten frustrated with the clerk at the DMV who is obviously phoning it in, but gotten a boost of energy from the barista that somehow has decided that making your caramel macchiato with three extra pumps is worth doing right? Too much, I think we worry that in being that barista, we look like the loyal dog endlessly sitting in search of an owner’s affection.
When watchLAB and I are at our best, we are mindful that we have not only clients to serve but respondents and each other to serve, as well. If you need us, you can find us searching for that noble service sweet spot, every time.
Brian originally wanted to be an engineer until he encountered his first college physics class. While he can still do math quickly in his head, his real claims to fame are his seafood gumbo from scratch and hopeless addiction to golf.
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