I’ve got about a month left until I’m no longer a moonlighting weekend doorman for a sleepy commercial building in Chelsea. I love the lessons you can pick up from new jobs, and even this relatively straightforward one taught me quite a few:
- People want to be listened to when they speak. Even gregarious types who seem to only want to say something for the sake of having said anything at all appreciate it when you really hear what they’ve said. New Yorkers know when you’re placating instead of listening.
- If you put up a sign on a door that says “Next Door Please”, about a third of the people who encounter it will ignore its advice. 10 percent will ask the doorman for help with this conundrum.
- Doormen get asked for directions to subways. A lot.
- A lot of people don’t mind if doormen are able to eavesdrop on their phone conversations, but will clam up if other building residents are within earshot.
- Union doormen take their job very seriously. Also, a doorman without a book to read is in dire need of someone who will listen. They’ve been sitting around all day thinking of what to say.
- Doormen hate it when you litter in front of their buildings. It’s like dropping trash into someone’s fish tank at home.
- If you don’t want to write and there’s a sandwich nearby, it will take all of your willpower to choose the writing over the sandwich.
- Any time of day, no excuses, a doorman would love a cup of coffee. Know how your doorman takes his coffee, and you’ve gained a loyal follower.
- If there’s a clip board with signatures on it, it is dumb to ask “Should I sign in?”
- Sign in.
- Everyone says hello to the doorman. Nice people also say good night.