The New Year and Invisible People

Several years ago I embarked on a bicycle ride across the country and posted a daily blog.   One of those blogs was a reflection on the invisible people in our lives. The people we come across in our day to day experiences that go unnoticed unless we are unsatisfied with our interaction with them.  For me, these were convenience store staff, hotel cleaning staff, and restaurant staff. If they did their job, I didn’t notice them, didn’t give them a second thought.

Each day of cycling we averaged 86 miles;  by the conclusion of each day’s ride I was tired and had the following expectations.  

  • Quick service at a convenience store so I could get my end of ride "fix" of chocolate milk and a dark chocolate Milky Way Bar.
  • A hotel room ready for me when I arrived.
  • Prompt service being seated, putting in the order and receiving the food at the restaurant.


The reality is the service myself and other cyclists received was almost always great, but we didn’t give that a second thought.  The only time we noticed them was when there was a problem, which was very rare.


Many of us make resolutions prior to the New Year.  Often to do with eating, exercise, and similar, all good resolutions.  I would suggest another. In the New Year and throughout the year, notice and appreciate the "invisible people".

Every day, there are millions of employees, often working for low pay and no benefits, providing services which few appreciate or even notices.  Many of these individuals are working two and even three jobs just to make ends meet and have the same pride in a job well done as those in higher paying and more distinguished positions.  

We often put a higher amount of respect on the people who are our doctors, attorney, business owners or upper management in corporate America,  but the hardest working person I ever knew was my mechanic. He took care of my car for years at the dealership, working full time, while picking up side jobs to work on at home to supplement his income.

I have a young friend who for the past few years has worked two full-time jobs.  Working full-time at McDonald's, arriving at 5 o’clock in the morning five days a week, and putting in 40 hours a week as a massage therapist. McDonald's is paying her barely over minimum wage and being a massage therapist is not much better.   If she did not get up early be at the McDonalds store at 5:00, it would not be open at 6:00 when customers started showing up for breakfast, and customers would be disappointed at the very least. She works very hard, but her efforts go mostly unnoticed and she is invisible to most.  By comparison, being a doctor, attorney, business owner, or upper management in corporate America is prestigious and highly appreciated.

So here's my New Year's Resolution suggestion, when someone helps you or provides you with service. Notice them, and say thank you.  If you were around me, which by all accounts is very boring, you would notice I try to say "thank you for helping me" to most everyone who provides me with help or service.  If you consistently do this, I suspect you will make their lives better, your life better,  and it may even change your overall outlook.

 


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