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A File of Smiles

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Early in my career, someone gave me the idea to start a smile file. I graduated college in 1990 so this is going way back. Way back to the days when it wasn’t unusual to find people that still smoked at their desk and computers needed you to type the word run after a blinking c: prompt to bring it to life. Those early days were a fountain of knowledge and experience I didn’t pick up in college and full of opportunities to learn about the variety of human behavior to be experienced in an office setting when you are the first line of defense over the phone and in person (aka the receptionist).

After one particularly bad run-in with a customer, an older co-worker counseled me to start a file that I could turn to when times got tough at work. Times when tears would roll down my face over some mean insult spoken in haste by a customer over the phone. Unfortunately, bad manners are always going to be part of any job where you directly interact with customers. What goes into this folder, I asked?

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work

What does the web know about you?

I’m at a research conference in Chicago for the early part of this week. Because there were no rooms at the hotel Sunday night, my boss and I woke at the crack of dawn yesterday (honestly, dawn hadn’t even cracked yet) to board our early morning flight. You might think I’m weird but I love to fly. Not the aspects of boarding or deplaning, but the airtime where I can focus all my energy on a book without worrying I should be doing something else. I was especially excited because I’d been on hold for Celeste Ng’s, Little Fires Everywhere, at the library and I got an email on Sunday that it was ready for pick up.

Because our flight was so early, we arrived at the hotel at about 8 a.m. but luck was in our favor and they had a couple of rooms ready for us. We went our separate ways and agreed to meet for breakfast in an hour.

When I first step into my hotel room, I get a feeling that I’m getting away with something. A sense of elation that all the space in these four walls is mine for the next couple of days. I can hang up my clothes (using all the hangers), lay out my toiletries and makeup without worrying I’m not leaving enough room for my┬áhusband’s stuff. I’m a person who craves personal space and time to myself and a couple nights in a hotel is just the fix I need.

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