It seems like most folks absolutely abhor their jobs. If you can't tell just by looking at their performance, most have no trouble loosening up their tongues to moan and complain of how much their job or their bosses suck wind. Sometimes they are not the least bit bashful about firing off salvos of discontent loud enough for anyone around to hear. Whatever happened to being thankful for your job when so many are out of work? Whatever happened to taking pride in your reputation no matter what kind of work you do? For that matter, whatever happened to management training and supervising their work force to properly represent their business at all times? (This last question is probably the fodder for another post someday.)
I work as a scientist and have been immersed in this egg-headish, nerd-based culture for most of my life. It seems to me that most of my peers really enjoy what they do for a living. Their jobs are not only their vocations, but their avocations. They have a sustained curiousity about nature that drives them and excites them for their whole working career. From my distorted perch, I tend to believe that most folks working jobs of physical labor or minimum wage are naturally disgruntled. I can see how working long, hard hours for a small paycheck can wear on a person. Yet, I was reminded the other day quite by chance, how a positive attitude can make all the difference.
Recently I brought my car into the dealership for an oil change and my yearly inspection. When they were done with the work, a technician pulled my car around to the pick up area. While we were waiting for the paperwork to be processed, the technician struck up a conversation with me. Looking at him, he was the very stereotype of a garage mechanic grease monkey. His hands and face were smudged with debris. His work involved early mornings and late afternoons of hard work. He probably had every reason to bemoan his lot. Yet his face beamed as he talked about my car and how it was such a well-made model. He excitedly told me of what made it so special. He then thanked me for taking the service of my vehicle seriously. His words were not idle chit-chat, but came from his heart. Shaking his hand, I thanked him for working on my car and for taking the time to talk to me. That made his smile even bigger.