Online Newsletter for Call Center Personnel
Rosanne D'Ausilio, Ph.D. Editor and Publisher
Volume I, Issue 4

Date: November 25, 1999 - Jerry's Story

Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood, always had something positive to say. If you asked him how he was doing he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!" He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee had a bad day, he was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style made me curious and so one day I went up to Jerry and said, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all the time. How do you do it?" Jerry replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, 'Jerry you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.'"

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested. "Yes it is," Jerry said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live life."

Soon thereafter I left the restaurant industry and lost touch with Jerry. But I often thought about him whenever I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years went by and I heard Jerry did something you never do in the restaurant business: He left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand was shaking from nervousness and slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, he was found relatively quick and rushed to the local trauma center.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body. I saw him about six months later. When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Want to see my scars?" I said no, but did ask him what went through his mind when the robbery took place. "The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door," he said. "Then as I lay on the floor, I remember I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live."

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked. Jerry continued, "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. When they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read, 'he's a dead man.' I knew I needed to take action. "What did you do?" I asked. "Well there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Jerry. "She asked me if I were allergic to anything. 'Yes,' I replied to her. The doctor and the nurses stopped working, waiting for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, "Bullets!" Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."

Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

You now have two choices: 1) Remember this story and tell it to all your friends, families and co- workers or 2) Forget it! I hope you choose #1.

Excerpted from Wake Up Your Call Center: How To Be A Better Call Center Agent, 2nd edition, by Rosanne D'Ausilio, Ph.D., Purdue University Press 1/800-933-9637 with permission.

Quote for the week

Choice not chance determines destiny.

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