Saturday, June 25, 2016

Under the surface

One thing that repeatedly surprises me is how little work my co-workers do. I mean this without rancor. And I'm not talking about the handful of co-workers I have who are awful at their jobs and obviously won't get anything done. I'm talking about good, solid, industrious seeming co-workers who I barely think of as goofing off or squandering time in any notable way. But every once in awhile there are markers, clear markers. I can see precisely how thorough a job someone did on the automated check in machine, the detail of everything done and left undone. I may be privy to exactly how much there was to do in processing requests and through experience can sharply chart the amount of work done and how long it would take without even thinking about it. And sometimes, not always, it all adds up to they did less than even I would consider minimally acceptable for myself. These are people I have no grudge against. I am by no means keeping tabs. I don't even really mind that they did such a spattering of work. I can even be glad of it. I'm just surprised.

Maybe it's an American thing. We're so well-versed here in presenting a good image. Self advertising is a fundamental aspect of our culture, so ingrained in us that we barely even notice that every fiber of our being can emanate a vibe of industrious application all while we're chatting with co-workers, snacking, or surfing the net.

Of course, I don't think of myself this way. I assume I look like I'm goofing off pretty much all the time, even as I'm sprinting around the machine or helping a patron. But I am truly heartened when I see that my solid, industrious, gold standard co-workers are also really a bunch of wastrels under the surface. Because even though I know it to be unlikely, it gives me the hope that when I am trying to follow a soccer game while on the desk, or writing a blog post while shelving, all that my co-workers can see of me is a paragon of clerkdom, golden boy of the library. 

Which, in the end, is exactly what I am.

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