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If a doorman were asked by a resident how he or she really feels about something that I have written, odds are the response would be on the politically correct side.
For example, if a question were to be asked regarding how a doorman feels about his job and the people in the building, the doorman’s answer would probably be something like, “I love my job. It can be hectic sometimes dealing with certain individuals, but for the most part, everyone here is like family."
This answer is intended to convey two things:
1) The doorman is quite humble.
2) Even though he or she points out a bit of anxiety at times, he or she is still showing that they are downright nice and polite about the whole job outlook.
Now imagine the doorman answering instead, “It’s a paycheck. Quite frankly I really don’t care what happens around here. And as far you’re concerned, I know now why you live alone and probably will stay that way forever.”
Fifty-to-one all hell would break loose in the lobby and that doorman would definitely be complained about. That is because a doorman’s job is to maintain an approachable, likeable manner, and more or less to say what a resident wants to hear whether we might agree with them or not.
The bottom line is that we have to try and do our best to serve up MMFI—Make Me Feel Important—to every resident.
For that reason, we must take on a different persona than our off-duty selves when working the door. That is also why I personally liken my job as a doorman to that of a clown.
When I walk through the lobby I’m expected to greet people with a smile. I listen to other people’s problems and I’m looked at to try and give some advice. I play around with other people’s children, making them laugh and maybe even keeping them busy in the lobby by having them doodle on some paper while mom or dad goes to the corner store. If I can serve as a quick fix-it to something wrong in an apartment for a resident, I will do so.
Some residents corner me and babble things that I may not understand or relate to. But the clown in me shakes his head and smiles. And while there are many residents who do care about what’s happening in my life, there are a handful who ask a question then totally take over a conversation, making it all about them. The clown in me has no other choice but to shake his head and smile.
As the day comes to an end, it’s another satisfactory performance by me, the clown. I take off my make-up and go back home and deal with my other life, where I do many of the same things I do at the job. Trying to keep a cool head and perspective on problems that arise. Playing around with my children. And serving as a quick fix-it to something that may be wrong in my abode.
Problem is once I go to work as a doorman, I have to wear a smile no matter what.
Still, I’m not is a sad, disgruntled clown. I tend to take things in stride and try to stay upbeat.
I also would much rather keep my personal business to myself. You never know who may be writing a book about “Doormen” these days.
But I do admit, there are also some times I’d rather be left alone. Not because I don’t want to be around people, but more for trying to figure out things that I may be dealing with and how to approach them.
Wow, I guess I’ve been a clown for a very long time, performing in the same circus day in and day out.
If someone were to ask other doormen around the city, “Do you feel like sometimes you have to act like a different person at the job?” I wonder what the response would be. I have a feeling I’m not alone in my big red shoes.