People Have Names

This is a story about something that I experienced at the ILTA conference, but really isn’t related to the conference, it’s just an observation.

I wasn’t staying at the Opryland hotel, the conference bank of rooms was sold out, so I found myself staying at the Radisson and shuttling over to the Opryland each morning. Normally, when I travel, I try and remember each day to leave a tip for the housekeeping staff that cleans up after me, but during a busy week like this one, it can and does sometime slip my mind. Luckily, I did remember the first morning of the conference this time. I also remembered every other day as well, for one simple reason.

The housekeeper left a thank you note, and signed it with her name.

Now, my wife tells me this is a Southern thing, but I’ve stayed in hotels in the South before (though maybe not as classy as this one), and this is the first time I’ve seen this. Either way, each morning it wasn’t a matter of remembering to leave a tip for the housekeeping staff anymore, it was whether I remembered to leave a tip for Gissel. There’s a huge difference in perception when it’s a real, live person who’s name you know as opposed to the “black box” that magically cleans the room each day.

Granted, I never actually saw Gissel, and couldn’t begin to pick her out of a crowd, but she became a human being by virtue of those notes, and that changed my perception of how important it was to treat her as such.

Think about how this applies to your own career, especially if you work in a black-box type of environment. It’s easy to mistreat the people in an organization who aren’t real people to you. It’s quite different to yell about the incompetent IT people when you know who they are. People who know your name, and who you are, generally are easier to work with.

Something to keep in mind, not to mention the importance of thank you notes. 😉

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