[Written February 2016]
Today was a long day. It was about 6pm when I finally left the office and when I got into my vehicle I saw the letters and packages that I had delayed in sending. It was cold tonight and I wanted nothing more than to go home, put on comfy clothes, and make myself a hot cup of tea. But I knew if I waited and waited, nothing would get done. So off I went to the post office.
When I got there, it was quiet, nobody was in line and I don’t think I even saw anyone in the store except the people working there. I walked up to the lady and said hello. She was so friendly and happy; I gravitated to her energy immediately. I asked her how her day was, how she spent her long weekend. She told me a bit about herself; said she had been working at the post office for over twenty years. She took my things as if they were wrapped in gold and handled everything so carefully and precise. I told her she must really enjoy her job to stay that long. She smiled and said she loved her job. I left with a smile on my face and many thoughts on the drive home.
The individuals who I work with have extraordinary work ethics. I’ve never seen anything like it. Late nights, early mornings, and everything in between. It’s hard to keep up, let me tell you. It got me thinking, have we all turned into workaholics? And if so, has it become the norm?
I look at some of the people I work with and think how accomplished their title is. How hard they must have worked for that and how long they had to commit to it. But you know what else I thought about… what it cost them. How many nights did they miss helping their children with their homework, how many weekends did they miss catching up with friends, or experiencing new things.
My generation especially, I find that work is being put on a pedestal. You know why? Because it’s the only guarantee. We know if we work hard, we will get a promotion. We know if we go to school, we will be qualified. Having a family one day isn’t a guarantee, neither is living forever. So we strive to be the best at what we know will give us a return.
The lady I met at the post office made me really step back. Because like many others, I feel like I am running around with my head cut off at times. I have put so much pressure on myself and for what? I am trying to find something meaningful, I am trying to leave a lasting impression. But something I learned in business school is, you are and always will be replaceable. So don’t act like you are high and mighty because someone out there can replace you in an instant.
I don’t need to save the world nor do I need a great job title. At the end of the day, none of it is coming with me. Sometimes, we need not forget the simplicity of life and not complicate it with things that just cloud our minds and hearts.