Monday, October 4, 2010

Homesick....for Work...

It's no secret that I resist with my whole being dislike change just a tad.  So, this past month has been a little hard on me.  Q in school full time, new shift at work, new routines, new schedules.  *Sigh*

Here I am at work, sitting at my new desk, typing away on my new computer, supervising my new employees, learning all their new quirks.  My new boss doesn't quite know how to take me, so I think he just totally avoids me instead.  He's a no-nonsense type of guy who substitutes glares for pleasantries.  It makes following the kill-'em-with-kindness policy that I love to live by even more the sweeter.  Because he doesn't know what to do with it.  He asked how I was adjusting to the new shift and I went on this five minute tangent over how I've re-arranged my sleep pattern, while also managing to see my child and do my laundry.  As he walked away in complete disbelief, I called after him, "Thank you so much for asking!!"  He grunted in reply.  He also has difficulty with my finishing his sentences for him...especially when he's trying to impart his wisdom and *coach* me.  Coaching is the term we use here like, all. the. time.  Coaching up, coaching laterally, coaching your employees.  If you're not coaching, you're not doing your job.  Here, at Canada Post, we're just one big team.  I haven't figured out what kind of team we're like though...maybe a bowling team.  Or shuffleboard, perhaps.  But definitely not football.  Or hockey.  Unless you count the penalties.  Then we're kind of like hockey.  We would have a whole lot of penalties.

The only thing that I can compare what I feel right now is homesick.  I'm homesick for my old job, for my employees and their idiosyncrasies.  I miss them.  I feel homesick for them.  I wonder what they're doing (right now, they're probably sleeping...lucky SOB's), wonder if they're missing me.  I wonder if they're getting the support they need to do their jobs well.  I wonder if they're being treated well and with respect.  It's funny that something/someone can become so much a part of your life that you miss them so entirely when they're not there.  They threw me a going-away party, complete with snacks and goodies and speeches.  One employee brought me apple tarts from a bakery that his grandfather used to take him to when he was a little boy.  How special is that?  Another bought me this awesome "bento" box for me to bring my lunch, seeing as how nothing is open here in the middle of the night.  Thoughtful gifts. 

They all told me that I was the best supervisor they've ever had.  One guy has been here for 35 years.  That's pretty amazing.  What a compliment, huh?  Another said I was the nicest, and definitely the prettiest.  What a sweet talker, that's all I gotta say 'bout that one!  It makes me sad that I was the best supervisor they've ever had, because all I did was treat them with respect.  A smile here, a please there, a thanks, ask instead of tell.  It so simple, really.  It makes me sad that I was the first one who tried that 'technique' with them.  We forget how easy it is to impact a life and make someone's day.

I've learned that it doesn't matter where you are, you can still change the world.  You don't have to be a missionary in a third world country, you don't need to be a politician to effect change.  All you need is a heart for people and you can move mountains.  Ghandi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."  How could something so simple be so powerful?  Not sure, but it is.  I spent two years in my previous position wondering what the hell I was doing there, what was the purpose.  I thought I was wasting time and doing nothing.  I felt small and ineffective.  Turns out, a whole lotta people believed otherwise, and that means the world to me.

It makes me think that maybe you can change little bits of the world every single day.  A smile to a stranger here, maybe a thanks to someone who holds the door open for you.  Something that is completely inconsequential to you can be the difference to how someone's day goes.  The day of my last shift, I was getting a coffee when I saw a blind man with a cane trying to find an exit.  He kept hitting walls and going in circles.  I was about to help him, when out from nowhere came one of my employees, (this 6ft3 and a good 350lbs...scary, if you didn't know him) puts his arm in the arm of the blind man and leads him to where he needed to go.  A random act of kindness.  That's what I love about my guys.  They look tough on the outside, but on the inside, hearts of gold.

My new section, my new employees...they're pretty great.  They're hard workers, they're nice, they get the job done.  One night last week, one of the women came up to me, and in this quiet voice asked, " you like us?"

I just smiled and nodded.  I was just wondering the same.   


  1. I'm always surprised at the response "kill 'em with kindness" generates. It really says a lot about the other person.

    Thanks so much for stopping by the pond!

  2. Are you kidding? I love the pond, it totally makes my day. Kill 'em with kindness...just cause it pisses 'em off :P

  3. Love this post. As always, you give a view of life that is both interesting, fun, and insightful. (And sometimes a little scary...still remembering one on the train.)