Thank you for the thankless jobs!
Article by Richard Evans.
Earlier this year I came across an article that highlighted the most in-demand jobs in Australia for 2017. This list of top jobs stimulated a lot of discussion amongst our team here at Talent Nation. In particular we found one job, a Payroller, a little left of centre.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe that the role of a Payroll Officer is crucial and, having worked in payroll for a number of years, I know how challenging and critical the role can be. But it is a ‘thankless job’. Think about it. When was the last time you called Payroll to say; “Hey, I just wanted to let you know that my pay arrived in my account and was absolutely correct, thanks!” Unfortunately the calls a Payroller receives are generally when things go wrong, usually to no fault of their own, but they bear the wrath of the caller.
I am a Telstra customer and have been for many years as I rely on good network coverage to be able to take calls whenever I am on the road (hands-free of course). There is no doubt that Telstra have had a few challenges in recent times with outages which, although inconvenient, are not the end of the world. However the individuals operating the call centres again bear the brunt of angry customers that have been wronged. I wonder how many callers in these moments are conscious of how they are speaking to the individual on the end of the phone and whether it is justified. The employee didn’t cause the outage, they are handling queries and putting in the hours helping Australians. When we have a problem however all that seems to be forgotten and, when people ‘finally get to speak to a person’, it’s not usually the most polite of conversations. The employee knows you have been on hold for 30 minutes, they know you are frustrated and I think we have to consider how we would feel if someone spoke to us in that tone, or to one of our family members or friends.
I’m guilty of making these calls when I am frustrated and it takes a great deal of self-control to keep things polite when I am told that there is nothing that can be done or that they are bound by policy. I have found myself on occasion apologising for my frustration because I know it is not the employee’s fault and I appreciate that they are trying to help. The times I have done this I could actually note the lift from the individual on the phone. Sometimes they have even thanked me for acknowledging that this is no fault of their own. I have asked a few times how many of ‘these types of calls’ are received and have been told that it is the majority. I also ask how often they get calls thanking them for sorting out an issue and I’m sure you can guess the answer to that one.
This led us to think about other roles that fall into this ‘thankless’ category:
Road workers – Yes it may take a bit longer to get to work, but the next month you’re in a wider lane, on a safer road. Beeping horns won’t speed this up!
Your IT provider- I don’t imagine they receive many calls telling them the connection is strong and the whole team is connected to the server?
Rubbish collector – Every week the rubbish disappears from the nature strip. How often have you stepped out at 5am to give them a thumbs up?
The list goes on.
So I would like to say thank you, to the thankless worker for taking our calls when we are cranky, for sorting out our payroll issues as we take leave and go on holiday, and to the operator who reconnected our internet when we thought the bill was on our direct debit… but actually we’d failed to set it up in the first place.
Admittedly I’m not quite in the space to thank the parking inspector for booking me when I was 6 minutes over the time limit last week; but I will try to remember this when I am able to find a parking spot in the same area next time.
We would love to hear about other ‘thankless jobs’ you might know of. If there is a story you’d like to tell, or someone in particular you would like to thank, go ahead!