Tag Archives: brown & jenkins

Of service

Good evening. Very uplifting day in social media world today. Interaction with the audience on the pages I manage was quite active. This makes the day rewarding.

I took this photo at Jeffersonville Pizza Department this evening, for their Facebook page. That good atmosphere topped the day. This is such a nice space!

jpd - xmas dining

I stop by  Brown & Jenkins every day, to check in. The coffee roaster teases that he is too busy with more orders since I took over their website and Facebook. It can be a challenge to find a good voice for a business online. It’s not just about selling a product. It can’t be just that. Rather, it truly is about building a relationship. This has to be done with a sense of decorum. I do not mean to claim that I have it down to perfection, but I do believe that placing good taste and respect at the forefront is key, and I thoroughly enjoy doing just that.

This is on my mind since earlier today, when someone brought to my attention practices that infuriate me. Actually, I am trying to pinpoint why this irritates me so much. I think I am taking it too personally, but why?

A website developer charges over $1,000 a year to build and maintain web pages for a large number of clients. Many of these sites contain several errors and out-of-date content and there is virtually no response on their part when corrections are required. Then, when clients become disappointed and indicate they will not renew their yearly contract, suddenly a response comes forth in under 24 hours with an offer to stay at under $300 a year. Those who give in end up paying a lot less for their as-is, error-filled sites and still no service. Good deal!

I must be an idiot. I charge a tiny fraction of what these guys require and still make it a point to offer turn-on-a-dime service. Yes. I do take great pride in that. Not only that, but I feel pretty damn good about it. Service is the most rewarding experience there is. This goes hand in hand with what I was saying yesterday, about work not being a money-centric matter, but a giving of self and skills instead.

Some years ago, I had an argument with a co-worker who sat around and left all the work for others when the boss was not around. She screamed at me that it was just a job. I do not understand that concept. And I do not understand having low standards no matter how much money is involved. It’s not just a job; it’s a part of a complete, unfolding life story.

It infuriates me, because these people expect remuneration for a product, but they do not earn it with respectful actions. They call themselves experts and put a dollar value on that. Expertise without service is nothing.

Working on the Internet is fascinating, but it also makes it clear that it changes values a lot, at least for some people. The street-level merchants of the past, and many today to be fair, valued good service. It is as though working in the background, behind the screen, somehow makes it OK to be slobs. Not OK.

A memory comes to mind and I think it makes a good point. A few years ago, Roderick and I walked into a small shop in Glasgow, UK. The owners, two men, were from the Middle-East. Roderick began a conversation with one of them. We spoke for quite a while, about their business and everything. It was a nice conversation and I was not at all aware of specific cultural issues at play in that instant; that is, until we parted ways.

Roderick and the men shook hands. When I moved forward to shake hands with the man who stood in front of me, he backed away and apologized, saying that he could not touch me because I was a woman. That was a bit of a shock, but my point is that in spite of his beliefs and values and in spite of that awkward moment, there was not an instant when I felt I was not being treated fairly or respectfully while in that establishment.

Any business person who does not provide impeccable service could learn a lot from these men, especially since lack of service is often due to laziness and nothing else. Mediocre service is a choice and as far as I am concerned it is a strong message too; one of contempt. Not OK.


Falling into place

I thought I should check in, just to make it clear that I have not abandoned this blog, our my creative ventures.

The last couple of weeks have been busy, and as time goes by I discover an ongoing pattern in my story. Work shows up that is suited to my skills and interests. It is as though I walk through a door just when there is a need. This is fortunate, of course, and I am grateful. It is a persistent scenario, also, and I have stopped believing in coincidence.

So what fell on my lap this time was the maintenance of the website for Brown & Jenkins Trading Company, the Cambridge Coffee Roaster for which I was initially hired for a bit of Facebook marketing.

Here I go again, jumping in head first, realizing in the middle of one evening after another that I still have my eyes glued to the screen and that I am taking my assignment to heart as a natural extension of myself. The word serenity comes to mind. My work becomes an act of meditation.

When I think of this, it is beyond me that no one has figured out that this may be exactly what we must encourage in school; this passion for the fulfillment of a skill or interest. There are schools that focus on this, but they are rare. General knowledge is important, of course. In fact, it is very important, because it opens our minds. But where is knowledge of self in this?

Then again, perhaps knowledge of self can unfold only in the course of living. You can’t graduate from school and know who you are and what you will contribute to the world; at least not completely. You don’t really come out of school and enter the job market either. That is an old model, perhaps from back when masters had apprentices. Education is not really an apprenticeship; but life is. In fact, life is the most difficult apprenticeship there is, because the teacher is whispering, the task is unclear and the tools are scattered. We pick up our tools as we go.

Perhaps the biggest error is not how we approach education, but what we expect from it.

ps - 1008 - bracelets

Lately, I think mass media truly do not help with this. Fame and recognition have become measures of self-worth. I think about this sometimes when I contemplate the simple artwork I create. I may never be on the news and does it matter? I may never make a piece of such significance that it leaves its mark in history in any major way, and does it really matter?

We implore, “buy local,” yet we value glamor. There is nothing local about glamor. We forget the significance of our microcosm; how one small painting offered as a gift can change a life; how one simple sculpture placed on a shelf can turn depression into hope for one person. It is impossible to create without a ripple effect.

The artist is not the stone, however. This occurs to me just now. The artist is not the source of the ripples. Anything we do is never the actual source of the ripples. It cannot be, for we ourselves stand in the ripples of our own work, of our own doing.

This is what we do not learn in school, and perhaps we must indeed learn it in life: Glory is not in recognition. Glory is in allowing our story to fall into place. Learning to do this is the greatest lesson.

Emily Dickinson said it best…

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Pictured above, a few bracelets. A reminder to myself that I am continually weaving something.