Thinking Out Loud Thursday #76!

If you haven’t yet, and I highly recommend you do so, go check out Amanda at Running with Spoons. On Tuesday I made her Greek Yogurt Banana Bread and my family had it for dinner (we all came home at different times and ate individually). Everyone approved of it, it’s delicious! Amanda also hosts Thinking Out Loud Thursday every week!

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  • On Tuesday it was rainy and miserable all day, which means my shift at the outdoor pool was cut short and I had a few extra hours in the afternoon at home. I baked cookies and banana bread and watched Mean Girls. I’m either 13 or 83 at heart… there is no in between.

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  • I called Telus to set up my Internet and TV at my new place this week and while I rarely watch TV, I do like to watch sports. I asked the lady on the phone why sports wasn’t part of the “essentials” package because it was pretty essential and she said that news channels were the essentials and everything else was extra entertainment.

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  • After furniture shopping, my bank account will be crying… or collapsing onto itself. I have so many desired trips that I need to budget for, I have made it my mission to see an NFL game live this season.

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  • Instead of buying a new nightstand to match my new bed, I stained my old nightstand. I did it in my garage and because it was pouring rain I didn’t open the door. I had a headache for a solid three hours. Smart. I realized buying the stain and gloss was probably almost as expensive as a new nightstand but DIY just makes you feel more accomplished.

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  • In the fall I’ll be *hopefully* teaching a 90-minute spin class. It’s a class designed for people who like to road cycle in the summer and do a bit of endurance riding so they can keep training throughout the fall and winter. I’m really nervous because 60 minute spin classes are one thing but NINETY minutes… oh lawd. It should be fun though because I find once you warm up and get into it, it’s fun to do different intervals and drills.

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Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for Fitness Friday! There will, as always, be a link-up so bring your favourite post or your workout recap from the past week.

Who was your first celebrity crush?

What is one thing you refuse to buy because you DIY?

What trip is up next for you or that you would like to plan?

8 Things working in customer service taught me.

Today is bitter sweet. It is my last shift in my part-time parks and recreation job that I have been working for two and a half years. I absolutely love the people I work with at this job and I am really sad to be leaving them, but it’s also exciting to be moving on to a “big girl job” and to the next chapter. I started working in customer service when I was 15 and I worked at a hair salon every Saturday at the front desk. I moved on to working at a major coffee chain for four years, Running Room for a few months, and currently an aquatic facility for two and a half years.

I feel like customer service has taught me a lot and I highly recommend everyone has a customer service job at some point in their life… I mean I’ve been called a “f*$%ing b&*ch,” I’ve had money thrown at me, I’ve had people cry in front of me, I’ve cleaned up more vomit than I’ve ever wanted to at a pool, and I’ve had people unnecessarily tell me their life story… and I think I’m a better person for it, or at least a more patient person.

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  1. Care about your job, but don’t take it personally. Often being in customer service means you’re not the top dog, and you’re somewhat on the lower end of the totem pole. My jobs have always been temporary, a summer gig or a student part-time job, but I’ve always cared. I invest my time in the people I work with and getting to know the people around me because you never know who will be your references, who will be your friends, and who you might be that could influence your future career. Care about your job but don’t take it personally… there are things you can’t change and don’t worry about it. The world won’t fall apart if something goes wrong. Don’t stress.
  2. A smile goes a long way. It sounds cheesy but I’ve become known as the “girl who is always smiling” at more than one job. It’s just nice to see a customer service person smiling and I want to be a friendly face… my job has literally been to “be the face of the organization” and why not make it a happy face.
  3. Listen. Don’t interrupt. Listen more. There are instances in customer service where you will literally not help someone in any tangible way… you just listen. People take their life stresses out on you, their emotions, their frustrations. Just listen, because in 99.7% of cases, they aren’t terrible people and probably don’t even realize how insane they are being when they lash out at you. I’ve had people flip their shit on me and then call me half an hour later apologizing because they realize that they weren’t actually mad at me, they were just having a rough day and I was in the wrong place at the wrong time to get the brunt of their frustration.
  4. Don’t gossip about your coworkers. Drama sucks. Not going to lie, the pool I work at is one of the most gossipy places I’ve ever worked. I’ve had so many rumours float around about me, so many people who hunt you down to tell you stories about other people or who whisper secrets to you about someone who just walked by. I brought one of my (guy) coworkers a coffee one morning because I started work after him and the next shift no less than three people asked me if we were dating. I’ve been sucked into drama and gossip but it has never ended well. I’ve turned into Switzerland. I’m neutral. I don’t say bad things about people because often I don’t believe the rumours and I try and see the good in people. If I don’t know the whole story, why should I pass on bits and pieces. I love the relationships I have with my coworkers, so I don’t ever want to jeopardize them.
  5. You literally wouldn’t have a job without customers. It sucks, people are mean, 8 hours of listening to people complain is hell, having to explain to people that they aren’t special or don’t get special pricing is a serious form of torture, but without those annoying people who have the audacity to walk into your retail or recreation or service establishment, you wouldn’t have a paycheque. I know, it pains me to say it just as much as it pains you to read it.
  6. I appreciate customer service more at other places. Being in a customer service position has made me appreciate the customer service in other places more. I tip better when a server interacts and smiles and is helpful. I tell someone that they were helpful when they go the extra mile to make my experience better. It’s the little things that matter and I notice them more because I think I can recognize it. It annoys my dad to no end when I try and see the positive in a bad customer service experience. He starts getting frustrated and I say, “maybe this is hour 7.5 out of an 8 hour shift,” or “maybe they’re just having a bad day,” or, “really dad, they don’t actually get to make the rules, they just follow them.”
  7. Kill ’em with kindness. The nicer you are to people, the nicer they are to you. This works in like 76% of cases. Even when people are being total assholes to me, I smile, nod, agree with them, and say really annoying customer services slogans like, “I understand how this would be frustrating for you,” and “I can tell you’re upset about this issue.” No joke, I’ve actually said those things. People either roll their eyes at my positive helpfulness or they lighten up and see that I’m really trying my best to help them.
  8. You don’t know how a customer service job will change you. I’ve made more friendships than I ever thought I would at my pool job. I went to write my resignation letter a few weeks ago and I pulled out a draft letter I had written in October 2015. At that time my supervisor was pressuring me to quit my job and focus on school and my parents were telling me I was loading my plate with too much and didn’t need to work for financial reasons so I might as well quit. I couldn’t do it. I loved the people too much. I’m sad today because I know that as much as I can say, “I’ll come and visit, I’ll see you around,” it won’t happen as much as I think it will. I actually met my BFF James of 7 years working at Starbucks together when I was 16. You never know how one little temporary part-time customer service job will change you.

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(Source of memes – Buzzfeed)

I am really into lists lately as you can tell. I have a daily to-do list, a to-buy list, and multiple lists running for other random things in my life so it felt natural to write a list of customer service lessons. I hope you can relate to at least one of them and if you’re currently working or had worked in customer service, you should share the most funny or random or incredible customer service experience you’ve had!

7 Podcasts You Need In Your Life.

I love listening to podcasts. I walk to work at least one or two days a week, which is just under an hour each way, and the time flies when I am listening to a podcast. I also love them for long runs and driving. I have a few current favourites so I thought I would share them with you in case you, like me, rely on sketchy internet bloggers to update your iPhone with content. 😉

  1. The Black Tapes. “The Black Tapes is a serialized docudrama about one journalist’s search for truth, her enigmatic subject’s mysterious past, and the literal and figurative ghosts that haunt them both. How do you feel about paranormal activity or the Supernatural? Ghosts? Spirits? Demons? Do you believe?”

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2. The Garbage Time Podcast with Katie Nolan. “Katie Nolan rounds up the week that was in the sports world and beyond in a loose and lo-fi setting where unfiltered sports talk meets late night comedy.”

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3. Serial. (Season 2) “This story—it spins out in so many unexpected directions. Because, yes, it’s about Bowe Bergdahl and about one strange decision he made, to leave his post. (And Bergdahl, by the way, is such an interesting and unusual guy, not like anyone I’ve encountered before.) But it’s also about all of the people affected by that decision, and the choices they made. Unlike our story in Season One, this one extends far out into the world. It reaches into swaths of the military, the peace talks to end the war, attempts to rescue other hostages, our Guantanamo policy. What Bergdahl did made me wrestle with things I’d thought I more or less understood, but really didn’t: what it means to be loyal, to be resilient, to be used, to be punished.”

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4. Science Vs. “Science Vs takes on fads, trends, and the opinionated mob to find out what’s fact, what’s not, and what’s somewhere in between. We tackle organic food, attachment parenting, gun control, fracking, and more.”

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5. Stuff You Missed in History Class.“Join Holly and Tracy as they bring you the greatest and strangest Stuff You Missed In History Class in this podcast by HowStuffWorks.com.” 

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6. This American Life. “This American Life is a weekly public radio show, heard by 2.2 million people on more than 500 stations. It is hosted by Ira Glass, produced in collaboration with Chicago Public Media. Each week the podcast dives into a social, political, or global issue or topic.”

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BONUS #7 (a recommendation from one of my best friends, James): Revisionist History. “Welcome to Revisionist History, a new podcast from Malcolm Gladwell and Panoply Media. Each week for 10 weeks, Revisionist History will go back and reinterpret something from the past: an event, a person, an idea. Something overlooked. Something misunderstood.”

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I can’t attest to that last one because after all, James doesn’t like country music and he thinks that staying in Vancouver and not moving out to Alberta with me is a respectable decision… sooo, I’m skeptical. I’m running out of fresh podcasts so feel free to share yours with me!

What is your favourite podcast if you listen to them?