Saturday, February 5, 2011

Important

There was a customer who came into the store. She was looking for peat pots for a project she was doing at the local nature center. Hopelessly, she said, "No place has them," and I interrupted and said, "But we do. We just set the stuff up last week," and I led her to where they were. She was much pleased. I headed back to my register, leaving her and her husband at the display.

I headed back to the register, stopping to blab with somebody else, and eventually I was ringing up peat pots for my original customers. She looked at me intently. "You're Debby _____, aren't you?" and I looked up. "Yes, I am." She extended her hands and said, "What are you doing working here? You're smart! You need some sort of important job." She explained to her husband that I was a writer in the paper, and that I'd worked for the county, etc. While she talked, I bagged her stuff. I wondered about that. I need an important job. I know that she meant to be kind. I know that she was paying me a compliment. But my job is important. It pays for college. It provides income to my family. I meet great people. I work with great people. My job is relaxing, strangely enough. They kindly work around my school schedule, and I know that's a pain in the butt. My job is important. It is important...to me. And if I am doing that job right, my job is important to the people I meet as well. Lonely people. Busy people. People who like to laugh. I meet many people, many, many people, and I have just a few minutes to make a difference. I try to be mindful of that. I try to use my time wisely. To encourage, to watch, to inspire, or to be inspired. I look at this woman, and I tell her how lucky I am to have this job. She looks at me as if she doesn't believe me, not all the way, but she smiles and says, "If you are happy, I am happy for you."

I've been thinking about that. About importance. I've come to the same conclusion that I always have come to. We all are important. We all matter.Think about that today, people. Think about that as you go about your business today. Let your words and tone reflect that with every interaction.

13 comments:

A Novel Woman said...

Absofrickinglutely. It's how I live my life as well.

Mikey said...

Something to remember for sure. I believe in everything you're saying here. You amaze me!!

Anonymous said...

You do have an important job, you make a difference in many peoples lives. Some people may never get that smile or kind word that you give. I don't know you but through this blog but I think you are very important to many people, even to me.

MuseSwings said...

Your job IS important! And it's important for you in many ways. And that's important. As soon as I saw the words "peat pots" I thought "I wish I had a job where I sold peat pots and herbs and commiserated with flowers and people who like to watch things grow". Her remark would have bothered me too. Some people mean what they say while with others it's just an unfortunate choice of words.

Gina said...

Debby, very insightful post. And oh so true!!! Whether it was her way of paying a compliment- or just a terrible choice of words....I do believe she *was* paying you a compliment. There are all different kinds of jobs out there. Those that work at "important" jobs still have to eat and therefore have to buy groceries and interact with a cashier. Or they have to eat in a restaurant and be waited on by a waiter or waitress. No matter what the job.....it's what you do with the interactions with that person that are *important*. I go out of my way to make people smile when I am in public- stores, library, restaurant. Kudos to you for taking those few minutes to make a difference!!!

WhiteStone said...

Every time I sit down to the dinner table I thank God for people with "important" jobs...those who tend the fields, pull the weeds, harvest food or feed animals, those who pack and transport, the clerk at the grocery store...all of them provide my dinner. If one of those persons were to disappear from the chain, the food would not be there. Darn right! These are important people.

In thinking of health care...we have a friend who just began working in housekeeping at a local hospital. This person thinks their job is not important because the paycheck is small. But without this "important" person, germs would run riot at the hospital. By keeping the hospital clean and germ-free, this person contributes as much to the healing of patients as do the doctors. Sanitary conditions are as important as the clinical care.

Bob said...

Bravo!

I worked retail for two summers and absolutely loved it, for many of the reasons you mention here. To this day working with people is my favorite thing about work, period.

I trust this lady, who did mean to pay you a compliment, learned something from you.

You and Tractor Supply have a mutually beneficial relationship. Would that more employer/employee relationships were of that kind.

Lydia said...

How interesting! I think that all work is important. I have found that if I was slinging french fries as a waitress or running my own business or training or cleaning hotel rooms, it is all work that needs to be done, and it ads value. Funny how some people put so much stock in "status" and "position". I'm just glad that you are working, and Tim is as well, and that you enjoy where you are!

Kelly said...

Geez. I'm sure she meant well, but I can't believe she actually said that to you!

Of course your job is important. Just look how much enjoyment it brings to all of US with your wonderful stories!! Seriously, I think you have the right attitude about this. Definitely.

Jayne said...

Every.Single.Job matters, makes a difference and is important to keep humanity grooving along, smoothly.

Jayne said...

Every.Single.Job matters, makes a difference and is important to keep humanity grooving along, smoothly.

Racn4acure said...

just the way you helped that customer, and helped the man today who's house had burned down tells me that your job is important.

Country Girl said...

It takes a village.