Recently I had to send a same-day package to Vancouver from where I live in the suburbs. So I went to the counter of a popular courier service which I won’t name (ok what the heck, it was Purolator) and asked to have my parcel shipped.
The semi-somnambulant millennial manning the counter looked at me with vacant eyes and murmured, “We don’t do same day. You’ll have to try our branch across town.”
I went across town to the other branch only to discover that it was closed for another 15 minutes. Being forced to sit in my car, immobile and unproductive while the rain falls steadily on my windshield is a tremendous test of character for me. The minutes ticked away. Precious moments that I would never again be able to get back, gone; slipping into eternity, forever.
When the store finally opened, I burst through the front door to find a pleasant lady on the other side of the counter. Not chirpy, not over the top friendly, but cheerful and ready to help. I asked her for the same day service option, and she informed me that unfortunately neither store offered this service. She was professional and apologetic.
I really wanted to get mad at her; at the store; at the situation; I’m good at it too, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. She was too dang nice.
Her job wasn’t the best job in the world, and probably not the highest paying. But it was clear that she cared.
Martin Luther once said, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
You may not be in your dream job today. But the way to get there is to be pleasant, to be engaged in what you’re doing, and to care.
No one can choose your attitude for you. Not the weather, not a cranky boss, not a sick child, not a toxic co-worker. That decision belongs to you and you alone.