Thursday, February 18, 2010
What do you do?
This is a common question that I am sure each of you has been asked many times over the years. Chances are you proudly respond, “I am a _____ for _____” In my case I am a Training Manager for Sprint.
Indeed you are a _____ for _____ and you are oh so much more.
You see there is a big difference between where you work and what you do. We all know where we work but very few people have taken time to deeply consider what they really do.
When people ask me what I do, I surprise many by saying, “I enable the success of others”.
I learned this many years ago in college when I was paying my way through as a janitor. My boss one day posed the question to me and I of course responded, “I am a janitor, I sweep floors, scrub toilets, clean up after babies are born in OB and when accidents happen in the ER” (Go ahead—soak on that image for a bit)
He said all of this was true but in reality my job was to save lives. “Huh?” From there he explained the importance of cleanliness to prevent staph infections and many other horrible things that could be found in the hospital. Next he had me write a little intro statement to explain my role. Oh and yes, those really are pictures of me from back in 1989.
Suddenly, for the first time at work I felt important and needed. I have carried this lesson through to all my jobs and volunteer passion.
As a hospital janitor—“I help save lives”
As a call center agent—“I solve problems and make people happy”
As a wireless sales person—“I help families stay connected, business people make more money, and people find help in times of emergency”
As a trainer and training manager—well you know that one.
The great Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets 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.”
So let me ask—What do you do?