So You’re On The Overnight Shift Ch.3: Conflict Management.

Now that you’re familiar with the basics of the employer and employee relationship and, assumingly, you haven’t ran off yet, it’s time to learn about some other important relationships and how they can go horrifyingly wrong.

Sometimes, no matter how stellar your service is, there will be conflict with your customers. This is natural, especially at the time when the body is desperate for REM sleep and a chemical reset. We hope that our tips will help you come out of these conflicts with everyone satisfied and no one injured.

First, let’s identify who your customers* are.

*Note* Your place of business may call customers something else such as: Patrons, clients, guests, burdens, or customers.

Generally your customers come in two forms: internal and external.

Internal customers are easy to spot. They’ll most likely be wearing the same monochromatic polo as you. Other than that there’s the heavy eyelids and the penchant for engaging you in passionless conversations about all the “normal” things they did during the day: Lawn care, bowling, something that reminds them of that one time in college.*

*Note* These are not attempts at bonding. They are excuses as to why they’ll be pretty much useless in regards to working that day.

Now, while they’re easy to identify, these customers are also the more difficult ones to deal with in terms of conflict. But, don’t worry, we have developed a few surefire ways to “Confront the Conflict” (COC).

The first way is to tuck your tail between your legs and pretend the incident didn’t happen. The conflict will be over but there may be some side effects: Spending the rest of your time at this job you’ll be saddled with the reality that you’ll never be the “alpha dog” while at the same time forcing yourself into a workplace, every day, that’s filled with coworkers who have realized that same thing.

The other method we’ve developed is more of a passive approach that will require much more patience. Carefully follow the coworker/enemy in question, taking note of all the small, forgettable, insignificant mistakes and policy violations they make along the way*.  Once you have a suitable amount of evidence, present it the newest supervisor* who is still eager to intimidate their underlings as an attempt to create respect.  Then sit back and wait.

*Note* If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, pictures, videos, and recorded conversations will help.

*Note* Congratulations, this will probably be you before long.

Regardless of the method you choose, you should feel confident that you are definitely COCing it up.

Next up, we’ll be addressing when your external customers begin acting up and need to be put in their place.

The first step is trying to identify and relate to these vampires of the land. The fact that they’re haunting your workplace at 3 a.m. means that they have either decided that certain narcotics are a good idea, or they’ve interpreted a Matchbox 20 song completely wrong. Either way, they made their choices and those choices have led them to your doorstep.

We suggest that a good initial attempt to relate to these customers is utilizing your days off to stay awake for 48 hours straight, watching nothing but the last ten minutes of Requiem For A Dream*. Once you’re in the proper frame of mind* ask yourself “Where would be the best place for me to be?” chances are, the answer will lead you to a place much like your workplace, or your actual workplace.

*Note* The proper frame of mind isn’t an exact thing, but the sensation of bugs crawling under your skin and a sudden hatred against your complexion is common.

Now that you have an idea of what’s going through their heads, it’s time to learn how to address the complaints they may have.

Believe it or not, being forward with them is actually pretty effective. Simply tell them that your business nor any other business has sold Crystal Pepsi since the 90s, you have no idea where their Great Aunt Belinda took their baseball card collection, and that you indeed don’t know what it was like in an Argentinian prison. You may still have to engage with their conversations, but at least you’ve established a hill on which to die upon.

In the rare occurrence that the forward approach fails you, try escalation. They won 15 bucks on a scratch off ticket, you actually won the mega jackpot the other day and you’re just here for the people. They really want to pay with aluminum cans? You only accept Bitcoins. They just really need a place to lay low for a few hours? That’s okay, as long as they’re willing to share a closet with the remains of the last person who looked at your face, that way.*

*Note* Enjoy hunting prairie dogs down at the train station with your new best friend.

This concludes this lesson. We hope that with these tips and tricks your eight hour shift will run smoothly, giving you plenty of time to reminisce about the days of your youth when the sun was friendly and sleep was not a luxury.

Come back for our next lesson where we will teach you how to convince yourself and particularly gullible coworkers that the things you learned in college somehow apply to your current job.


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