Today may have been my lucky day since I learnt an important lesson from 2 circumstances-
First: I and a colleague of mine had gone out for lunch today at a nearby fast food joint. Right behind where we sat, there were a couple of girls and a guy with a few glasses of cold drinks, they were kidding and joking around. Now in all that excitement they ended up throwing their drink on the guy who accompanied them. It resulted in a very dirty mess, a few of them got up and shifted to the other table and called the people working there to clean it up. The least that people can do after making such a dirty mess would be to give space for the guy to clean it up, but what resulted was that a few of the girls refused to budge and kept ordering the guy around cause after all he was a ‘cleaner’.
Second: I had the privilege of meeting a young woman; she is the daughter of a watchman at a building where one of my Ma’s colleagues lived. Her father expired a few months ago and in order to get financial assistance for her family she joined a call center for one of the telecommunication companies since she had basic education till about class 12 and it was the only job that she could get. She had come home since she wanted a few old yet good clothes to wear for office.
While she was waiting for Ma to sort out the clothes, I had a chat with her and it made me feel shameful. She spoke about how the people on call behave with her, like they do with anyone and everyone who calls from a call center. About how they would just receive the call and stay mum, how they would at times shout and be rude, at times even play pranks and talk dirty to tick them off. I myself remember of how many times I have been rude to such people. She told me that just today a man shouted at her on call and asked her if she had nothing better to do than call and irritate him.
Her expression told it all, after all it was her job to call people and talk to them about the various offers additionally if someone did not receive the call then they had to call back the same number again, if not on a daily basis then on an alternate one since they were given a list of numbers to call and targets to meet.
She spoke of how her job was the worst one on Earth, but it got home money despite the rudeness and misbehavior that is dished out to her every day.
This got me thinking, as a country we fall very short and do not respect the phrase, “Dignity of labor”. Why is it that a person working at a fast food joint is looked down upon and treated like servants or for the very same reason a call center employee for an Indian company is shouted at whereas in big MNCs based in India, where the Indian office becomes their back office/call center, they are given/treated relatively more respectfully.
Does it all come down to working for a white boss? Can we not respect people and their professions? I mean, it is the best that they can come up with given their abilities and circumstances, so whatever did happen to respecting the same?!
Post my conversation with her, I promised myself that even if I had to spare two minutes of my life to talk politely with a salesperson, I would. As an educated woman, I feel shameful of the rude behavior that I have shown towards these people for no fault of theirs, after all each one of us has our own challenges, and if being patient for a few minutes and talking politely to someone made their day, then so be it.