I’ve worked a customer service role, in some form or another, for many years. The jokes about the “real you” and your “customer service you” difference are very applicable. Turning on tour guide Barbie from the other side of the phone with dead eyes is an acquired skill and easy to fall into once an option. It is an especially easy escape when you actually tend to care quite a bit about well, everything.
When describing myself as highly empathetic and highly sensitive, I rarely count them as helpful traits to myself. Yes, in an interview, they can be phrased as being an excellent problem solver, genuine and caring for the needs of the customer but the large toll that they actually take on me is hidden. It takes so much effort to let myself be the default me, to care deeply, notice small things, feel strongly. The pain and selfishness in this world weighs heavily at times.
Today, I was helping a patient on the phone. Obviously, because of HIPA, I can’t share the full story but I spoke to them multiple times and they were worried and flustered. The last time I spoke to them, they recognized my voice. “Thank you for being human.” In the midst of their worry, they thanked me for being genuine and compassionate because they could tell the difference.
Being told you have a special gift for helping people, especially when you yourself are struggling, having a rough time, is a one-of-a-kind compliment. Thank you for being human. My strong feelings, soft heart, the exhaustion that comes from them, they are part of being human. I need to remind myself of that.
So even though I can’t say any identifying information about this person, thank you for taking the time out of your worry to acknowledge something about me that I fight to not turn off or zone out from. Thank you for seeing that I am not a robot. Thank you for impacting my day.
And to you, strangers and friends, thank you for being human.