Long ago and far away I once knew a young man who was twenty-something and just happened to be hired at a branch office of a corporate bank to help with the back room check processing and cash balancing. He’d had experience working in that area before but more of the downstream end process of the check processing and accounting. We used to visit about his new job and how he liked the city. He said most of the employees treated him at first like he was from the planet Mars as he had a bit if an accent as well as didn’t do much chit chat gossiping that was raging every day. One of the girls from corporate spent about a week training him on what to do and what not to do in his job. Time was critical as well as accuracy. In his first week or two alone he found himself overly cautious as well as trying to understand the bank’s accounting process. As days and weeks passed, he found little things that he could do to increase efficiency and without saying anything to the branch manager, he just did it. As he continued to perfect and streamline his job, he slowly worked his way into the teller area making tiny little suggestions that would help in keeping cash drawers balanced as well as aid in the check processing. Nearly every teller was negative about the suggestions and basically told him that he shouldn’t care about making his or their work any easier or efficient because it was just a dead end job.
He was a bit down about the attitude and was concerned that he made the wrong decision in taking the job in the first place. Several months later he called and with delight saying that the main corporate office had found that whatever was being done different in that one branch out of hundreds had pulled its ranking almost to the top of the several hundred other branches. He said the branch manager came and congratulated him and that her manager in the regional office was considering transferring him to that office. Once the spotlight was being shined on that branch for its productivity and efficiency, the employees including management were happier and more freely willing to do their absolute best.
He told me he couldn’t believe how they thought he was a worker of wonders when he only just wanted to do the best he could for the company. Because I knew him so well, he was one of those people who believed a job wasn’t a job but a working relationship. I’ve lost track of him after so many years have passed, but I’m sure he is doing just fine. Anytime I hear anyone speaking of their work as being just a job, I think of him and smile.