This week someone laughingly asked whether I had a man for everything. I had been given a lift to Groves Batteries in Cheltenham where my car battery was being charged up for a bargain £3.50. The lift giver had been based in Gloucestershire for over a decade and had no idea this great company existed and how did I, who had moved here in April 2009, hear about it? I said it was on the recommendation of my boyfriend’s stepfather. On the journey back to Gloucester he asked what my plans for the rest of the week were and I said it was mostly errands in preparation for my new job at the Edward Jenner museum in Berkeley. Fixing my car was paramount but I needed some trousers altering among other things. “Oh, there’s a great guy in Eastgate market” he responded.

Maybe I just listen or perhaps it’s that I ask for details and remember them, but this is how I’ve grown a network of trusted service and goods providers. I make an effort to use people regularly and to recommend them to my friends. Last week I used a taxi company a couple of times to get me to Berkeley whilst my car was out of action and was happy to build a relationship with the owner. Who knows when I might need him again and so one of my tasks for this week was to write him a note expressing thanks (I got a life coaching along with my ride). 

Good service is terribly undervalued in the UK and when working as a service provider myself, I have always been touched when customers have contacted me for no reason but to express gratitude. One of the nicest things a customer has ever done was a lesson from the lady who developed photographs at Jessops most Fridays. She remembered my name and would wait until I was free to ask for my assistance. I grew fond of her and enjoyed our chats. One day I helped her repack her shopping into her mobility aid so that her pictures didn’t get bent and she started to tell me about an amazing doughnut stall at the market. A couple of weeks later she called in and gave me a doughnut as I always seemed to work when the Friday market was on and because I was such a sweet girl. It was no extra work to be nice to Mrs Harvey but I got a hell of a lot more out of our relationship than the doughnut. Thanks to her, I make far more of an effort to learn the names of those I cross paths with. I don’t always succeed but I try.

No man is an island, John Donne famously said and I truly believe this. I am only as good as my network. In my interview for my role at the Edward Jenner museum I talked about the potential for an event based upon the incredible vines that Jenner introduced in 1818. I have absolutely no knowledge of things horticultural (and would never mislead anyone to this fact) but I knew that my boyfriend’s mother was a keen gardener and might have some ideas. I asked her and she said she knew someone involved in events for the RHS. I like to credit those that not only help me but those who inspire me. I feel no great admiration for the person who claims to have achieved on solely upon their own merit, rather I wonder who they trampled and obscured on their journey. Personally, if great things are coming to me I want my people to celebrate with me.

I’m sure I would have got my new job without the killer blow dry Faye at Reflections gave me but there is a extra bit of confidence that she can deliver that makes me better being me . I rarely wear make-up but always wear it in a professional capacity. I call it my ‘game face’ and just like a great pair of heels, it puts me in the right frame of mind. When I collected my (beautifully tailored) trousers this morning, I felt that I at least ticked the boxes for professionally dressed. My list could be endless as I have a great butcher, a grumpy cobbler who nonetheless does excellent work and as a rather strange entry, really wonderful people at Gloucester Council who have been a joy to counterbalance the hassle of my council tax and parking permit – the bureaucracy was a pain but they were lovely.

You have to deal with people. It’s a simple fact of reality. So why not enjoy the ride? Yesterday a friend said I’d done the hardest part by doing retail but I actually enjoyed working at Jessops and when I talked about it in my interview it was with warmth and positivity. I liked the people I worked with and the majority of customers were either polite or friendly. Life is what we make it and if we choose to appreciate those we come into contact with, then it is so much the better. After all, we are only as good as our network.

Groves Batteries
01242 514940
Lypiatt Street
GL50 2UB

Castle Cars Private Hire
01453 511793
Fishers Road
GL13 9AU

Jessops Gloucester
01452 300689
18 The Oxbode

Nader Razae
Pamir Tailoring
Eastgate Market

Faye Williams
Reflections – Gloucester
01452 506267
30 Westgate Street
6/5/2017 06:47:57 pm

Dealing with a lot of people is a fun stuff. Everyday is a chance for you to discover something about different person. You get the chance to know their stories, as well as their personalities. That's why you shouldn't limit yourself to the things you serve to know. Life is so much better if you have an interaction with people. Trust me! You'll also discover something about yourself too.


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