Don’t work for every person that asks you to.

When is the last time that you met someone who immediately rubbed you the wrong way? Somebody that you wanted to immobilize with a korean throat pinch, bare your teeth to and tell them to be nicer while glaring into their face from an inch away? But you couldn’t do that because it is not socially acceptable and illegal? Those are the people that you should NOT work for.

Yes, I’m the same person that advocates adopting the posture of a servant and loving your neighbors as yourself. But I also strongly believe that I should love butthead neighbors from afar and not involve them in my business. This way, my spiritual growth is not in danger of de-evolving into the guy from the second sentence of the first paragraph.

I read, yesterday, in an InterNACHI online course that not working for difficult people is a risk reduction technique. That’s what got me thinking about the subject of “difficult people” or buttheads as I call them. My dad had a graduated technique for dealing with them. I’ve developed my own technique. Everyone that stays in business does.

In my book Putting Up Restaurants, I list three options for dealing with a risk: Risks My preference is number 3. I can see how others would fare better by using number 1. I’m thinking about companies that depend on a lot of little jobs and have a lot of workers. They just spread the cost of dollars lost to buttheads in their normal fee. Obviously managing a risk (number 2) is the worst case, the one that takes the most work.

My dad’s technique included all three options. When he met with potential customers, he would nicely walk away from easily identifiable buttheads to avoid risks. If the customer would not let him walk away, he’d double or triple the price to manage the risks. If he was fooled during the initial contact and the customer turned out to be a butthead, he would do his best to manage it. One of his more effective techniques was to hide a water shutoff that could be turned off and used to “motivate” butthead customers to be reasonable. Few people wanted a home addition with a new bathroom that could not be used.

How does all of this relate to a blog on Service? Well, it takes a ton of effort to provide stellar service to a butthead, doesn’t it?

Common sense seems to indicate that you should leave difficult people to your competitors.