Some countries have mandatory military service. Israel is an example of that policy. Everyone, man or woman, must spend two years in the armed forces. It is considered to be a duty that keeps the nation safe, and creates a universality of experience. Thus, the country and the culture are made stronger.
I cannot honestly say that I think a universal military service requirement would work in America. We are a county of free spirits, and many of those spirits would never agree to service in the armed forces. But could we benefit from some type of universal experience? Sure we could.
And Here Is My Suggestion:
I would like to propose that every young man and woman be required to work in customer service for a two-year period. They could choose any type of vocation that deals with the public: hotels, restaurants, retail, even charity work. But they must choose one.
Our country has become a country where jobs in the Service Sector of the Economy are among the most numerous and fastest growing. More and more of our citizens are working in Customer Service careers and that appears to be the general trend for the foreseeable future.
However, this trend faces a problem. As anyone who has ever worked with the public will tell you, the problem with Customer Service is the customers. People have become incredibly rude and demanding. Gone are the days were common decency was a universal virtue. Shouting and screaming have replaced respect and patience.
As a society, we have lost track of the idea that all work should be treated with respect and that no career is inherently more dignified. In my travels, I have seen Customer Service employees take the most amazing abuse, and they do so quietly and respectfully. I have seen people staying in a hotel by Disneyland call the person checking them into the hotel the most vile of names because they weren’t given an ocean view.
An ocean view? You’re 20 miles from the ocean, genius! Calling the agent names will not move your room, or solve your lack of common sense.
If all members of society had to spend two years working with the public, I believe that much of this abuse would disappear. The knowledge of how hard these jobs are, would all but wipe out such hateful treatment. As I’m sure you have noticed, it is hard to abuse someone doing a job you once did. I worked in a restaurant in college, and you will never see me fail to tip. The shared experience just makes that impossible.
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