These thoughtful answers, from a visitor services colleague, really got to me.
Tell me about a time when you were really upset about something that happened at work:
Once I was yelled at my my manager for calling out “too many times” when I got sick and had a lung infection, and was unable to come into work. The day I did come back in, I got threatened with a write up and told I wasn’t a “team player”. Two WEEKS earlier, my staff evaluation had pointed out that I am one of the most well liked and supportive members of our department.
I was staffing the entrance to an exhibit (which I was NOT allowed to let anyone in). Someone I did not know tried to push past me, so I stopped them. She said she was staff, but she had 8 guests with her, and I had a ring of angry visitors that I was keeping at bay, so I told her I couldn’t let her in “this entrance”, hoping she would know that she is supposed to go in the back. She was so angry that she emailed my bosses boss and her boss, and called me “rude and ignorant”. I was yelled at, not asked for my side of the story, and was told I should have known better.
I am actually getting a little upset writing these out, but suffice to say, while I do love my job, there are times were asking to use the bathroom means I am subject to scolding and mocking. (Please note, NONE of these are stories about customers being angry or rude or upset. I have those stories in spades, but those are not the moments that get to me.)
Tell me about a great moment at work, when you felt happy, proud, or joyful:
Always moments with customers or my peers.
For instance, I had a young upset couple who came downstairs to file a complaint. They had been hassled by security about using cameras. I listened and got them to write down exactly what had happened. We talked it out, and they were really grateful, but before they left I gave them the free “Member Gift” (despite the fact that they weren’t members). They were very sweet and thanked me repeatedly.
Another time I had an older couple who had come for the jazz, but they thought it was one of our donation nights (it wasn’t). They were going to leave since it was out of their price range, but I called them back over, gave them admission tickets and told them they were my guests. They came back to thank me and tell me how much it meant to them. They couldn’t wait to come back on one of the donation nights.
Visitors can be rough to deal with, but a lot of the time you get the chance to make people smile or laugh. Nothing makes my day better than getting to have a little witty banter, or having someone stop back at the desk to thank me for the visit or my recommendation or however I helped them.