“Joe” used to be the security manager at my current job (a set of residential buildings in Cambridge). He was known for being somewhat of a douche. No people-skills. Just hard-assery 24/7/365. The people in the buildings hated talking to him because he was so cold and sour. Even in my limited time knowing him I saw how much of an douche-mountain this guy was. About two weeks ago “Joe” left and became manager at a building in the Seaport area, presumably to be a douche there and make life miserable there as well. I became the new manager in Cambridge. When I talk to the residents here, the conversations almost always go like this:
Resident: Hey, are you the new security manager here?
Me: Yes I am.
Resident: Oh good! That other guy was such an asshole.
Never fails. Every single day, I get that exchange from someone. And it's not just the residents either – the contractors and vendors that stop by on a regular basis hate the man. The only difference between each resident’s/contractor’s conversation with me is whatever word(s) used to describe “Joe". Asshole. Mean. No good. Sucks. Fucking idiot. All of these things have been used to describe him. I’ve even heard “racist”, however that one is pushing it, in my opinion. He’s not racist, but when you seem like a douche-canoe to everybody, I can see how one may come to that conclusion.
I've called myself an asshole before, but I'm not really. My honesty can absolutely be mistaken for assholishness (that's not a word, I know...), but I'm pretty tame. I've made a pretty decent life out of being as nice as I possibly can. That is the customer service in me; I want people happy if it can be helped. And most times, it can be helped. The way “Joe” did things here kinda upset me, mainly because it was so unnecessary. Why be an asshole? Why make some of these families' lives that much more depressing? Why make these contractors hate to ask you a simple question? Why seem like you don't care about anyone else's feelings but yours? Why be the Titanic of douchebaggery if it's not needed?
But there was a specific moment last week that made me know that I might be doing the right thing when it comes to just being a nice person. A old man came to the office and didn't know where he was going. He didn't live in the buildings, but he received a letter saying that he's a finalist for an apartment. After talking with him and explaining what office to go to, he thanked me and told me how good a person I was. After his office visit he thanked me once again gave me his card. It turns out that he is/was a lawyer. At one time, he even represented Nelson Mandela! He told me to keep being the person that I am; the world needs more like me. I was humbled to say the least. I looked him up online and it also turns out that the city of Cambridge honored him by naming a street corner after him. I couldn't believe it when I saw it. One of his quotes from the articles that I love: