Wednesday, August 17, 2011


"It's a good thing librarians are lazy because I wouldn't have this job," said the guy who had just turned off his vacuum cleaner to speak. I do think he meant to be funny. I really do have an affinity for people who do hard work for a living like him and there are times of course when I myself feel that some people in America get a better break than the rest of us. Really, sometimes I actually have that thought. :) I do what I can to shape the world politically to hopefully allow us all an equal break, to try to help those who need help moving up the ladder. But... I also respect my government job immensely. While I am working I represent other people and a government organization and wouldn't consider making such a remark or responding bitterly while I was working. I let his stabs at humor and me pass by. But the vacuum cleaner went off again and again to allow more comments, probably aimed at softening the first. They didn't. Next he said "I probably should say government workers are lazy, whew, they get nothing done." At the moment I was engrossed in fixing an error on a web page that seemed critical to me and had been sent up by our automated system as a broken link. I have multiple problems when this happens. 1) I don't see the broken link on my own computer. I have to go to a public computer to test the page. Often I forget that my computer behaves ever so slightly differently from the others when checking a page, so that every once in a while an error crops up 2) I have to run back and forth to another computer to check the page. It's my job. No problem. But.. one man's work is another man's laziness, I guess.

There has been an idea that government does not work. I am first on the list considering the incredulously ridiculous 60 vote rule in the U.S. Senate and the split in the House of Reps between those who vote one way, those who vote another way, and those who refuse to compromise enough to vote "yes" on anything. The laziness remark, when applied to people I know who work around me is simply inordinately silly. I have worked in libraries for most of my career and a more dedicated staff I have never seen. There isn't a time when the public does not come first. Many of us have small disagreements about how this is to be accomplished, but all are focused on doing a good job. This was not my experience at the last job I worked. I have always been a frequent visitor to the great Mickey Mouse's brand of customer (guest) service, always trying to improve my professional behavior, good nature, and the respect for the "guests," which we call "patrons."  In that previous job, this worked only to a small degree because I stuck out like a sore thumb and suffered the consequences of being the black sheep.

When I came to my new job here, this was the main difference that gladdened my heart. Not one behavior of mine that I thought was appropriate was out of place here. I was in a whole new world. I love my world.

I admire the vacuum cleaner worker's job ethic, well except today. Everyone is important. Everyone has good days and bad days. But blind criticism of government honestly must stop in this nation. Like the Greeks, we should be less concerned with the size or type of government than with the quality of government. And I doubt a morning speech from a Sam's Club manager would get very far if he said, "You are lazy because you work at Sam's. You are a bunch of losers." Reward good government, demand good government. Thank a police officer every time you see one, thank a military service person every time you see one. (Wanda taught me this about military personnel and honestly, just saying "Thank you"alone brightens their faces and they always know what you mean and appropriately reply. People who's sacrifice is great know why they are being thanked.)  People who don't know they are appreciated for their sacrifices, and we all make sacrifices, are much less likely to do their jobs with relish. Thank a smooth grocery store clerk for how professional they were at checking your groceries through the line. Say "thank you" to the busy helpful clerk at KFC. When appropriate say "Thank you so very much, this chicken looks great." It will change the world. I guarantee it.

I didn't thank the vacuum cleaning guy today though. My only thank you would have had to be in the form of thank you for opening my eyes to the sheer magnitude of disgust for government employees people must feel. But I don't think he was in the mood for that particular praise.

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