Saturday, January 7, 2017

Breaking Janitor

So the dount factory I work for asked me to start writing for our company newsletter, Inside the Donut Hole. I guess the caught wind of my affinity for writing. They also caught wind of my egg sandwich.

Ba dun tssss! I'm here all night, unfortunately.

Since it's January, they asked me to write a piece about new beginnings and motivation and being all you can be etc. Here's what I came up with:


Last year right about this time, I was in my “new hire” class with our trainer.  I forget exactly how this conversation came about, but our trainer mentioned that as you grow up you learn that, unless you are lucky enough to be Jay Z or Beyonce, most jobs are “utilitarian”. To be honest, I did not know what that word meant. So I looked it up. Turns out it means something completely different than what I had suspected. (I thought it had something to do with utopia and socialism. )

 You never know where the Iron Hammer will strike! It could be your donut trainer, or your mom!

What the word utilitarian actually means is: practical. Our trainer was trying to say most jobs serve a functional purpose; they are not creative. You process paperwork; you don’t write a story. You drive a truck; you don’t race. Once I figured out the meaning of his statement I got to thinking about it. I thought about how you can categorize jobs by varying levels of creativity:

The above chart might be debatable, but I think most people would agree with it. Then I thought back to a friend of mine who had worked for a car dealership and a story he told me about his boss who owned the place. Twenty years ago, his boss was flat broke having just emigrated from Korea to America. He managed to get a job at a gas station across the street from the room he rented.

His English was so broken that he was told not to interact with customers. Instead he cleaned the floors, stocked the shelves etc. Every night when he went home he would study one page of the dictionary for the entire night. Before going to bed he actually ripped out the page he just studied and ate it so that it could become a part of him.

Silly Asians, food goes in mouth paper goes in book!

Thanks to his intense dedication, he developed a decent grasp of the English language and was eventually allowed to handle customer interactions. On one such occasion he noticed that a certain trucking company frequently drove through the area. He talked to one of the drivers and told him to talk to his boss.

He said, “if your company buys gas exclusively from us, we will give you a discount.” By initiating this contact, he made his boss over a million dollars of which he got a decent cut. This was the start of a series of events that led to an overlooked, poor immigrant to be a successful business owner who got to make his own hiring decisions.

So much for janitor being a utilitarian position!

No matter where you are in life, economically, socially, or even location wise. Don’t put limits on your position. If my friend’s boss had done so, he never would have been my friend’s boss.

*Don't forget to check out my book, Moby Brick! 

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