Something so simple, yet surprising happened to me at work yesterday. For those that don’t know, I work as a bagger at a grocery store. Yes I’m a college educated bagger!
Some of the greatest writers in history held some very unconventional jobs before they became famous. Stephen King served as a high school janitor, Kurt Vonnegut managed a Saab dealership, J.D. Salinger was an entertainment director on a luxury liner, T.S. Elliot worked as a banker and John Steinbeck held the glamorous positions of an apprentice painter, fruit picker and construction worker.
Clearly, I’m on the road to a successful career!
Anyway,. I was in the back room loading some cases of bottled water when I came across one of the stockers. Her name is Cindy and she’s always been a pretty cool person to me. She’s the only female stocker in our store and I would say we aren’t really close. Most of our communication involves just saying hey and bye to each other and we’ve discussed a few work related matters in the past. I wouldn’t necessarily describe us as being friends since I don’t really interact with her like I do with other coworkers (stockers work mostly in the back and on the aisles while baggers are in the front and outside). But she is a nice person and I always make it a habit to speak and ask how her day is going.
I asked her that question on yesterday and she replied with one of the most unusual answers ever. She told me, “I respect you so much that I’m not going to tell you how I really feel.” I must admit that I was taken aback by that response. I interpreted it as that she respected me so much that she didn’t want to say anything rude or remotely offensive to me, or use any negative language in my presence. She kind of caught me off guard and I told her thanks. I let her know that I have bad days too and could relate to what she may have been going through. I then told her that she could chat with me anytime if she needed someone to talk with.
I learned a lot from her response. People are often so quick to fly off the handle and say anything that pops into their head without thinking of the consequences. We all have bad days and plenty of justifiable reasons to have a pity party. But it takes real strength and character to be mature enough to not let those thoughts out at every opportunity.
Her response also showed that everyone has a level of influence somewhere in their life. You may not be a boss, manager or supervisor at your job, but rest assured, you can make a difference in your environment. Apparently, I must’ve made a pretty good impression for her to tell me that. I do my best at work to be friendly and respectable to everyone I come across, even if I don’t know them that well. People respect others who are genuine and treat them with respect. Plus you have no idea how much you can brighten a person’s day by just saying hello.
Always remember that your smallest and most seemingly insignificant gesture can make the biggest impact on someone. Thanks for the reminder Cindy!!!