Tuesday, August 9, 2016

One job

When it's busy try and hang in there.

When it's medium busy try to be efficient.

But when it's slow, try to be perfect.

I find that I have a high enough tolerance for myself and others falling down a little bit on the first two, but that last one gets to me. 

There is one of my co-workers, working the automated check in machine. They've hit one of those by no means common, but certainly not rare, periods where there is little to take care of, and the returns are slow enough that one needs only to pay a modicum of attention, and the bins never fill up. So what do they do? They wander off to some dark corner of the library. In rapt attention they ponderously put fourteen books into strict alphabetical order because they wouldn't just want to stand by the machine idly tending it and looking like a slacker. Twenty minutes later two bins are full, errors have piled up, and the machine is grinding books into dust with a disturbing squealing wail that penetrates into the library.

If the library were busy I could probably bear this. But the person responsible here could have been leafing through old Doonesbury collections and eating chocolate chip cookies while still justifiably earning their hourly wage. They threw that extraordinary opportunity away on an idea, on the image of productivity!

There is one of my co-workers, in charge of answering our phones. It is a very quiet evening. We may not receive a single phone call all night. But if we do, oh my! It should be handled perfectly. My co-worker should be kind, careful, thorough, and exacting. They have the unused effort of ten phone calls to apply to that singular call. So if it should happen, and we get an actual call, which we probably won't, I want to see something beautiful. My co-worker can go sleep during all the rest of the time for all I care.

So the phone rings. My co-worker is nowhere to be seen. Perhaps they have nodded off somewhere? Are they dead?

One job. One simple, tiny job!

Did you know that doing ones own job well is worth ten times the same amount of work that's not ones job?

Did you know that not doing ones job when it's easy is far worse than not doing ones job when it's difficult? 

These are both so. I know. I just made up the rules. It's my job.

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