How We Go About Our Tasks

Let’s face it. Not every aspect of our jobs or other tasks in life is fun or exciting. Sometimes our jobs can be exhausting, boring and tedious. But it makes all the difference how we approch them.

We’ve been in Chicago for several days, a trip we took for the purpose of visiting some colleges Elena is considering and to have a few days of family vacation before Elena starts back to school on Tuesday. The first morning, having decided to take the train to DePaul, we walked into the nearest station to the hotel. Not having ridden the Chicago transit system in some years, I was puzzling over the machines trying to determine what the fare was. A worker standing some distance away called over and instead of just telling me the fare for a single ride, asked questions about how many days we would be here and what our other plans were, ultimately helping us conclude that a 3-day unlimited pass was the most economical way to proceed.

This morning, the same worker was on duty as we walked into the station to go to the Art Institute. I had no sooner stood in front of the train map before she asked me where we were going and told us the correct stop. Later, as we returned from the museum, I hear her voice, directing another group of people as to fare cards and destinations.

There are plenty of ways to appraoch one’s job for the transit system (or any other job for that matter). And I’ve seen plenty of workers in my years of riding subways in various cities sitting back and clocking their hours until the end of their shift. But this woman spent her time smiling and being helpful to as many people as she could. I have to think her attitude and approach made a big difference to how she feels at the end of a long workday. And I know it made an enormous difference to me and everyone else she came in contact with during the day.