Here’s a true story that may explain a lot of things about me, my work, and my often volatile socio-political sentiments:
During my days at White Wolf, I had a good friend and protege who was rather young and had been raised rich… and I mean, RICH. That was, as I recall, her first job out of college, and she was smart, cool, and a good person in general…
…Which is why I felt surprised and angry when we went out on a lunch-and-shopping trip and she treated the service staff with dismissive irritation.
Finally, I asked her why she was treating those folks like servants. “But,” she said “isn’t that their job?”
“Do you respect me?” I asked her.
“Of course,” she said. At that time, I was Heap Big Mage-and Werewolf Dude, her mentor, and her friend.
“Less than two years ago, ” I told her, “I was doing their job.”
It wasn’t not her fault. She was raised within a certain culture, with certain behaviors and ideas and attitudes.
But, as I said then, I’ve been where those people are. Hell, after I left White Wolf, I wound up back in that same position, in that same situation, with that same attitude and behavior being directed against me by people who thought they knew everything about me because I was working a service-industry job.
Those attitudes and behaviors tear us up inside as well. I know that both before and after (especially after) my days at the Wolf, my self-confidence and my ability to survive economically were both deeply eroded by the attitude that “service-level human resources” are literally “worth less” than folks who have “real jobs.”
And yet, as I’d also said to my friend back then, you never know who that person is behind the counter, or what they do when they’re not back there making service-industry wages. And you surely have no idea what they’ll be doing, and what they’ll become, and how they might change the world, further down the road.
So if nothing else, be respectful to one another – especially to folks on the other end of your counter or phone.