Brian J. Harris Method
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The Questions You Should Be Asking

Brian J. Harris, July 1, 2008

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of working over the phone with a customer service representative at Intuit. This person was one of the most polite, helpful, easy-to-understand people I've ever worked with over the phone.

At one point, I told her that I needed to interrupt the call to work with my students. Concerned that we hadn't finished fixing the problem, she offered to call me back when I had finished teaching. Five hours later, she called me at exactly the time she said she would and finished helping me!

This woman obviously loved her job and was dedicated to helping people. As we were waiting for my computer to reboot at one point, I asked her what she does in her non-working hours. She said, "Well, I live in India. Do you know what time it is here?" It was about 2 AM.

What she said next blew me away: "I don't really have time to do anything but work. I get up, ride a train for 3 hours to work, work for ten hours, and ride the train back home for another 3 hours. The other 8 hours of my day, I sleep." Think about living like that day after day and still LOVING your job!

Aarti was her name, and she has a college degree from a university in India. Intuit probably pays her $7 to $10 per hour to help people with very technical issues that have to do with installing Intuit software. $7 to $10 per hour is what McDonalds pays people to mop the floor or operate the checkout register here in the U.S!

Next time your parents or teachers ask you to spend a little more time practicing, or check your answers on your math assignment, or go over your vocabulary list one more time before the quiz, or use proper grammar and punctuation in your emails, remember Aarti.

There are millions like Aarti around the world who are ready and waiting to spread their good cheer, intelligence, and expertise in order to serve customers and improve their own lives. There are hundreds of companies who would rather pay them $7 per hour than someone in the U.S. $20 or $30 per hour to do the same job.

If you often find yourself asking, "Who can I text-message next? Who cares about homework, practicing, or making my teachers'/parents'/customers' lives easier? Can I have 30 more minutes on this video game/TV channel? Can't I empty the dishwasher LATER?", I'm honestly worried about you. You may find yourself serving the Aarti's of the world someday.

If you always ask, "How can I make myself more valuable to the world? How can I make someone's life easier? What am I excited to learn about today?", and always do more than the minimum, you've got nothing to worry about.

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