I’ve been gone from here for a while. I took a few days off to be “Beach Grandma,” then forgot to get back to writing when I returned. Isn’t that how it always is? Once we get out of a habit, it’s so difficult to get back into it. I even find it’s sometimes difficult to get back into the swing of things at work when I’ve been gone for any real period of time. (I once had an employer who teased people after they returned from vacation that they had to be retrained. Not so far off the mark sometimes.)

For instance, I do a lot of extra little things for my tenants (at no extra charge). I’m sitting here at the front desk anyway, so what’s the harm? I have one tenant who’s been with me for about 10 years. She oversees many staffers who are out in the field, so she’s out of her office as much — if not more — than she’s in. Her staffers often come by to drop things off, pick things up, or use her office. I’ve also handed out checks, credit cards, paperwork, etc.  I don’t mind. But if I’ve been gone for much more than a long weekend, I can forget who’s who. I then stare at them rather blankly until my memory decides to catch up to the moment and recognize who they are and why they’re here.

I’ve been in this business for quite a few years now (14) and I’ve met a lot of colleagues in my industry who have told me how other business centers operate. I know that I’m not making as much money as I could because I view this is a service-based industry, not a commodity-based one. Other business centers offer no “free” service other than answering the phone and transferring calls. But I’ve been doing this type of work for too long to ignore simple customer service and going beyond the mechanics of merely transferring incoming calls.

So I’ll keep working this front desk and running this business the way I see fit. My tenants’ goodwill and business success mean more to me than another $10 in the till.