Do you take pride in your job, in the company you work for and your workplace?
Most people will instinctively respond, "Of course I do!" But, do you really?
It seems that every workplace has a sign in the kitchen that says, "Your mother doesn't work here. Please clean up after yourself." Because, for whatever reason, many employees are completely willing to leave the sink filled with their dirty dishes, the counter messy and the coffee pot empty.
What does it say about you when you are comfortable just walking away, leaving your mess for someone else to clean up?
I was in a public washroom at an airport recently. Canadian airports are incredibly clean, thanks to the staff at those airports. They do a great job and I certainly appreciate it. But I don't treat the washroom with disrespect just because I know someone will clean up after me. But it seems that not everyone thinks that way. Some people leave the toilets in a disgusting state. They leave water, soap and whathaveyou all over the counter tops. I had to stand a few inches away from the sink, because I knew that the water from previous guests would end up on my shirt and pants.
Would you leave your bathroom at home like that? Of course not. At least--I hope not!
It's a matter of pride. Pride in terms of the way you are seen by others, pride in the company you work for, and pride in what you do.
When people ask you what you do for a living, do you hang your head? Do you use the word "just" as in, "I'm just a clerk"? Why not tell others what you do, proudly, instead of with embarrassment and a lack of pride?
One of my favourite stories (and I'm really not sure if this is just folklore) is about a custodian at NASA. Apparently, John F. Kennedy was visiting NASA in the 60s, and he saw a custodian sweeping the floor. He asked him what he was doing and the custodian replied, "I'm helping to put a man on the moon!"
True story or not, it illustrates the point that everyone can take pride in what they do. The custodian didn't demean or belittle the value of his work. He walked tall and did his job well because he had pride.
We had a tenant in one of our apartment units who vacated this week. She left the apartment filthy. I couldn't imagine inviting people over to my home and having them see me live that way.
Pride in my appearance means that I brush my teeth, comb my hair and have a shower before I go to work, before I leave my home, before I have friends over. That's not vanity. It's me saying, "I am taking care of myself because I'm worth it." I am proud of myself.
I keep my house clean, my car clean and my desk clean. I know that whether they mean to or not, guests and coworkers will judge me and my abilities on what they see. I don't want my guests to be afraid to eat my food, or my coworkers to think that I can't do my job properly because of the way I have presented myself.
I know that my desk, my body, my car and my house will get dirty just as fast as I can keep them clean, but I have pride in my possessions and I want them to look nice.
My job, desk and workplace is where I spend the bulk of my day. I want to say proudly that I work for X company and I do Y there. I want you to look at my workspace and my cleanliness as a reflection of the care I put into my job.
The next time you wash your hands in a public washroom, clean up after yourself. When you go shopping at the mall, bring your cart back to the cart corral. Wipe the kitchen counter at the office, put your dishes away. Comb your hair, tuck in your shirt. Speak nicely about your job and your company and your work.
The world is judging you, whether you want people to or not. Be proud of who you are, where you live and what you do.
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