4 Things the Dump Masterclass Can Teach You Now

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4 Things the Dump Masterclass Can Teach You Now

How To Be Great No Matter The Circumstances

“Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me.” - Carl Sandburg

The trash dump is not what most of us would describe as the ideal work environment, or place to visit. On the morning I went it was cold, wet, and as always, stinky! Heavy equipment was going in every which direction and confused newbies like me were mixed in with the regulars.

Daily, the staff at the dump deals with hazardous waste, awful smells, dangerous conditions and cranky people. Their salaries are certainly not in the top 1%. Most of them are on their feet all day. I would bet many, like me, ask the same questions that the last 100 customers also asked. Even if there’s a sign, we may miss it, be confused, or just want confirmation. 

To my great surprise, I found myself motivated and upbeat after my trip to the dump. Why? Because they clearly know how to meet people where they are that, be of service, and have a stellar attitude.

Here are the four things they taught me on the cold winter morning I went:

  1. Attitude is Everything. All of the five people I talked to that day were incredibly friendly and upbeat. They cheerfully said (and meant) “Good Morning Sir!” and “How can I help?”. I’ve had less friendly greetings at five star establishments. These people were genuinely happy to serve and wanted to help. It immediately put me in a better mood, because positive attitude and polite manners are all too rare in most customer service environments. 
  2. Personal Connection. When asking one of the staff where my massive load of recycled cardboard should go, he did more than just tell me. He smiled and said, “oh yeah, it’s after Christmas, we’ll probably see a lot of that today. We collect cardboard recycling right over there, thank you!”
  3. Find a way to be of service. Every single person I talked to was looking for a way to set me up for a win in my dump journey. They could probably tell I wasn’t a “regular” and made sure I knew the "secrets". When they pointed out where to drive to, they used visual, auditory and kinesthetic queues. Instead of “turn right” it was - “You’ll want to turn right and look for the Aisle 2 sign, just drive straight on up to the guy in the yellow jacket. Remember, you can exit out the side exit.”
  4. Confirm without inquisition. In customer service, one often has to confirm a variety of things. For security, identity has to be confirmed. Some transactions require some sort of evidence to proceed. In my case, the dump crew had to confirm my load was recyclable materials only (as I stated). They looked in the truck bed, while smiling and confirming. While I’m sure they would correct me if I had something else back there, they immediately assumed I was being honest. All too often, our transactions can almost make us feel guilty, like we did something wrong

Most of us don’t work in a (literal) dump. While our work might be hard, it’s not likely as hazardous, tiring and smelly as those who work in a dump. It can be easy to complain about office politics, an upset customer, and someone who has done us “wrong”. We can get frustrated by our kids, our parents, and what life presented us that day.

While that’s all part of the human experience, we can also rise up and act like the people I encountered at the dump. I’m sure they see and experience things daily that we would never want to know about. They certainly could have a list of complaints.

Instead though, they sought to serve, be happy, and set others up for a win.

How incredible would it be if we could get there more with our families, our work lives, and our friends?

To an incredible year ahead for all, and may you treat others as well as the dump crew I encountered treated me!

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