On the weekend, Mr Smaggle and I went to a car shop to ask about a rubberized spray paint that, according to their website, they had in stock.
Mr Smaggle – ‘Hi! Can you show me where the Plasti-Dip is?‘
Sales Assitant – ‘Never heard of it.‘
Mr Smaggle – ‘Oh well it says on your website that you have it in stock?‘
Sales Assistant – ‘Nup. Never heard of it.‘
Mr Smaggle – ‘Oh… well why is it on your website?‘
Sales Assistant – ‘Couldn’t tell you. I’ve never seen it on the shelf.‘
Mr Smaggle – ‘Okay… thanks…‘
We shook our heads and went off down the aisles in search of an alternative. About ten minutes later the sales assistant came up and said that he’d decided to check for Plasti-Dip in the computer. It turns out that most of their stores stock it but their store has to order it in. We thanked him, placed an order and we were all smiling by the time we left. I detest bad service. I really do, however I also know that not many people want to spend their Saturday stuck inside an auto store selling spray paint and car parts. It was obvious from the moment we walked in that there were a thousand other things that guy wanted to be doing and he wanted us to know that. After he removed his head from his own arse and started doing his job, he stood a little straighter, his face relaxed and I could literally see him hating life less.
I’ve done my time working weekends. Every Saturday and Sunday from the ages of 14 to… well now. I’ve always worked weekends. Up until about two years ago I was doing casual home respite work in between writing gigs. I’d spend my Sundays assisting complete strangers in the shower. I’ve taught kids gym lessons on Saturday mornings. I’ve been a weekend test supervisor that required 12 hour days on a Saturday.
Did I enjoy my 6am starts on Sundays at the newsagent? Spending the better half of my Friday afternoon changing nappies on adults? Doing absolutely nothing but silently watch as 150 people complete a four hour exam? No. I didn’t enjoy any of those things but I’m bloody glad I did them because a) they kept a roof over my head and b) they all taught me lessons that make me rock at the several awesome jobs that I have now.
5 years of selling (and reading) magazines in a newsagent as a teenager inspired me to start this blog. My years of teaching have made me a pretty top notch public speaker. Hours spent fixing watches, working in jewellery boutiques and studying silver-smithing has armed me with an incredibly niche and valuable vocabulary that’s led to an ongoing accessories writing gig.
Take Mr Smaggle. When we met ten years ago, he was working at David Jones in the small appliances section. When it was quiet, he would read all the product manuals and guides so he knew exactly how they worked and which products to recommend to the customers. He has extraordinary brand and product knowledge from his years of research. He always wanted to make things or more specifically be an industrial designer. One of the things he is now working on is literally reinventing the light bulb. There’s no way he’d be rocking it anywhere near as hard if it weren’t for all those years reading product manuals in David Jones.
So the next time you’re feeling down about your job or feeling like you are wasting your time just stop and breathe for a moment. You are there for a reason. Don’t waste your time hating your job and doing it badly. Dominate it, learn from it, be the best at it. You never know what you might learn, where it will lead or who you might meet.
At the very least you’ll make your days more pleasant with a positive attitude. The successful completion of a task can provide an enormous amount of satisfaction. Car shop sales assistant couldn’t give a rats about Plasti-Dip, but spending that few minutes looking it up and solving a problem improved his day immensely.
See every day as an opportunity to learn something that you didn’t know yesterday. Even if you hate your job and you dream of something better. Roses literally grow in shit… but only if they eat it. Just remember that.