Got a Problem? There’s a Career for That. | Taking Service to Heart

Real jobs are born out of need. They’re created to solve problems. Solve those problems and create a win-win situation: The business profits and the customer/client is satisfied.

The better we are at solving problems, the more career opportunities we create for ourselves.

Accidental discoveries

I had the misfortune last month of being hit broadside in my new car by a woman who ran the red light while I was turning left off a green arrow. I was not hurt (thanks to my Subaru Outback which deserves a pitch here) and, so far as I know, the other driver only minimally.

A car accident is a problem. In a flash people appear on the scene to help solve it. Others provide help later. Each of these people has a job and a career because car accidents occur frequently. They make a lasting difference when their caring shows. I learned a lot from them.

Police officer–He gathers information for the incident report and later the accident report. Part of his job is to be sensitive to the state of mind of the victims and to be as calming as possible.

Emergency Medical Technician–His/her role is to assess the condition of the crash victims,  provide medical treatment if required, and get a release if either party doesn’t want to go to the hospital. S/he too needs to be observant, patient, and positive.

Tow truck driver–Two tow trucks were required at the scene; my driver was a woman which made me smile. Her job was to get the wreckage off the road quickly and to let me know where the car was being taken. She too was pleasant, efficient, and professional.

Insurance adjuster–The adjuster is the insured’s representative with the other insurance company. His job is to record my account of the accident over the phone. He and the other driver’s adjuster make a determination of fault. The adjuster explains the process, advises on next steps, and also needs to be patient and calming.

Material Damage Adjuster/Appraiser–The appraiser determines what the insurance company will pay in damages. This job requires the ability to communicate these hard numbers with the claimant in a way that demonstrates the fairness of the final decision. Just like the adjuster, the ability to be both factual and caring is important.

Body Shop/Salvage Company Staff–Along the way, my car took a stop at a body shop for a more detailed damage assessment. Then it went to the salvage company that purchased it. The staff and owner were professional, sincerely commiserating with my misfortune.

Rental Car Manager–I got a rental from Enterprise where the young woman manager took the time to make conversation before explaining the terms. It turned out that she was eager to develop her leadership capabilities, so we chatted about that. (When I returned the car, I gave her a copy of my book and she waived the gas charge. Okay, I’d only used 1/8 tank over two weeks, but the gesture was lovely.) She treated me like I mattered as a person.

Car Salesman–I called the salesman who sold me the original Outback and left a voice mail that I’d need a new one. He called me at home to cheer me up. He immediately set aside a car for me. I knew I was in good hands.

For my accident case alone, there are nine jobs, representing nine different career paths, that had been created because people like me get in car accidents.

Each role exists to solve a piece of a big problem, helping accident victims deal with and recover from a scaring and costly experience.

Distinguishing yourself

What has struck me most about this experience was the seemingly effortless caring that each person demonstrated. Every person in my chain had a heart for service.

I know that not everyone with a service jobs “gets it” and I’m sure you have a horror story to tell. But, if anything, this accident demonstrated that when you’re in a job that solves a problem for people and you really care, your commitment to serve will motivate your best performance. Let that be you, okay?

Please remember: Stay off your phone while driving. No texting. Wear your seat belt. Be attentive! :-) Thanks.

Photo from @Doug88888 via Flickr

8 thoughts on “Got a Problem? There’s a Career for That. | Taking Service to Heart

  1. Hi Dawn – Sorry to hear abt your accident. What a serendipitous chain of events that you recd attentive care from nine people in a row. You are very fortunate! I am so happy to hear of it. It is uplifting. I deal with healthcare insurance alot. It is not very uplifting at all. But my clients are.

    • Thanks,Kathy. The situation was very unsettling but I learned so much from it, particularly about the inherent goodness in so many people who embrace careers in service. I think there may be something about service when you actually meet and interact with those you serve that brings the best out in people. So much of healthcare insurance service is arms length, little human touch. That said, I believe I was very lucky from start to finish. Great to hear from you. ~Dawn

  2. As you always do, you found a lesson in a really bad situation. It is always amazing what a big difference it makes when people in these jobs are effective. They can make a customer loyal for life! So why is it that some don’t get it?

    • You are so right about the impact caring customer service can have on loyalty. I certainly feel that way. I wish I knew the answer to your question. I suspect that caring is hard-wired into a lot of people. If any thing, my experience pointed to the importance of working in jobs that “fit” who we are as people. Too often folks chase money, prestige, or the expectations of others instead of what they really care about. Thanks for weighing in. ~Dawn

    • Dawn,
      Lemonade out of lemons, as they say. And “they” also say you create your own luck! Ditto on the Subaru Outback.

      • Betsy,

        So true. I do think that being easy to deal with helps. It’s that “as you sow” adage coming to be. Thanks to you I had that Outback. I’m forever grateful! ~Dawn

    • Irene, you’re the second person who commented about health care insurance companies. Every industry seems to have its own nature depending on the competition and the politics that drive them. Sadly, many good employees who want to serve get caught between a rock and hard there. I often hear how dispirited employees feel when they can’t provide the caring service that they know will help the client and, in the long run, create cusotomer loyalty. Perhaps there will be improvements over time. Great to hear from you. ~Dawn

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