Tuesday, July 30, 2013

lost cheerios and talking name shirts and whatnot

I cannot think of an occupation that does not affect other people in some form or fashion.  Can you?

After all, the reason that you can get paid is because someone, somewhere, is willing to pay for a service you provide or a product that you help produce.

Therefore, there is not an occupation that you can have that does not benefit from integrity.

Maybe that's why the Bible says "whatever your hand finds to do," before "do it with all your heart."  Or "mightily," or "heartily."      Colossians 3:23/Ecclesiastes 9:10/Ephesians 6:7

The Bible is all about God loving people and teaching people to love other people with God's love.  So it makes sense that we're supposed to do our jobs as unto the Lord.  That should keep us from taking up occupations like thievery and murder-for-hire if we have any understanding at all about the nature of God.  But it should also keep us doing menial tasks with gusto.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately.  I keep records and make notifications for a living...to put the description of the office i work for, in the absolute simplest terms, and i have become very adamant in the declaration (is that too dramatic) that our job affects peoples' lives.  It might not seem like it, at first glance.  I'm not a judge, so i don't get to make the decisions about people's lives.  And i'm not an attorney, so it's not my job to plead anyone's case in front of a decision maker.

But you just ask someone whose legal records, medical records, payment records, or anything else records - have been inaccurately kept, whether or not the job of record keeping is important - or whether it affects other peoples' lives.  I bet that person will you give you three ears full.  Or more!

What about your job?

Are you the guy that makes the plastic wrappy tip thingies for my shoe laces?  Thank you.  That profoundly affects my life.  Or at least the part of my life that involves putting my shoes on.  And thank you for doing a good job.  I hate it when one of those things comes off my shoelace.  The last thing i want to think about during the day is the fuzzy frayed end on my shoelace and what i'm going to do if i accidentally unlace my shoe and have to face the daunting task of re-lacing my shoes without the plastic wrappy tip thingy you installed on my shoelace.  Really.  Thank you.

When i went back to my same old job 2 1/2 years ago or so, i unintentionally started keeping a little wall of mementos on a mostly-hidden short wall of my cubicle.  It started with an unexpected thank you card that i received from a co-worker.  Over time, i added to it post-it notes with smiley faces and other little items that made me smile.  Over a year ago, i got a phone call from a defendant in a civil case, whom the court was led to believe had been notified of a law suit but failed to respond.  She became aware of the law suit because i sent the required notice letter, advising her that a judgment had been signed against her.  I had mailed it to the incorrect address provided by the plaintiff, and a former neighbor of hers accidentally received it.  I hope you could follow that.  It was kind of a miracle.

In any event, i kept a note with her name and case number on my memento wall with the words, "our job is important," and i looked up her number from time to time, so i could see what progress she was having.  During the midst of her contest of the judgment against her, she and i got to talk in person when she came in to our office.  I still can't get over how grateful she was personally to me because i had simply done my job.  I sent the letter i was supposed to send, and i answered the phone when she called my number.  It didn't take much.  Just faithfulness.

It has been about a year and a half since this lady called me.  I recently looked up her case number again, and i found that she was able to have her case re-heard and the case against her was finally dismissed.  I'm so glad she got my letter.

More recently, i was able to communicate with another county office in order to correct an inadvertent record keeping error that had been causing a woman to be repeatedly arrested when she wasn't doing anything wrong.  (Tell me record keeping isn't important).   I kept a memento from that one too.

I don't keep mementos in order to puff up my opinion of myself.  I do keep them to remind me of the importance of doing my seemingly menial job to the very best of my ability.  To remind me to listen with patience, during the most unpleasant phone calls, to smile often, because most people in a courthouse are not there because this is a happy day in their lives. To work hard to do my job with the utmost integrity, even when it seems like just data entry.

Do you have a wall of mementos?  Do you remind yourself how important your job is?  What's on your wall?  What should you put on your wall now that you remember how important your job is?  It does more than support your family (which is way super duper important in itself).  It profoundly affects the lives of others.

While i was typing just now, i was reminded of this song i hear on the radio a lot.  So if your'e into watching people sing great songs on YouTube, click here.  You'll also discover the inspiration for my oddball blog post title.  How interesting would it be to have a shirt that audibly said your name?  Noisy, i guess.

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