Friday, September 19, 2008

An Observation

I've had the fortune to work at many types of companies in a variety of industries. I've met some incredible people, some of who have become very close friends.

One thing that seemed to exist in every form of corporate culture - from small to medium to large businesses, is that the kitchen always seemed to have notes from a variety of employees, from bottom to the top that basically stated "clean up after yourself, don't expect someone to do it for you". One of my favorite ones was filled with expletives, complete with stick figures on HOW to put your coffee cup and dirty dish IN the dishwasher instead of in the sink for someone (your mother) to put away.

My current company is the FIRST and only place that has no sign. In fact, it nary ever has a cup in the sink. Sometimes there are some sugar crumbs or a coffee ground or two, but by the end of the day, that too is cleaned up. Is it because everyone here has learned to treat the company kitchen as their own? Is it because they have had it beaten into them? Has the company managed to hire incredibly responsible people who are willing to GASP, put their own dish and a meandering spoon from the sink into the dishwasher? What miraculous and amazing anomoly exists here? Are we in a vortex of consideration and respect?

No, we are not.

My company has a manufacturing division. It is basically made up of 100% Chinese workers who spend their day sodering and packaging our product. They're in by 8:00am and work steadily until the end of the day. One of the ladies, who I secretly call my mom at work, is super super sweet. It's not actually in her job description, but she empties out the dishwasher, makes coffee, boils a pot of hot water every morning. Every single morning. The other workers come in and fill their hot water thermos and bring it to the assembly kitchen, which does not offer the same facilities. Often, I leave my cup by the kettle waiting for it to boil (I'm in by 7:45am). I lose track of time, forget, whatever, and whenever I arrive in the kitchen, they've always filled up my cup. Always. I've seen some of the other employees take sugar from the bag instead of filling up the sugar canister, same with the creamer. I've seen people put their cups and dirty plates into the sink. And without fail - the group of manufacturers will put those dishes into the sink - without ever saying a word. They will tidy up the kitchen, make sure it's spotless and better than when they were in it.

I went to my little girl's school for parent orientation yesterday, and it took 1.45 hours to complete. For a preschool. But it was incredibly eye opening to actually see first hand, all the tools that she has on hand everyday. In the life skills area, they learn to pour, and sponge and squeeze, pick, and all the things we adults do everyday. They clean up after themselves when they make a mess, with rags that they have to hang up to dry. Everything is their size, including a mop and broom for bigger messes. They learn to respect each others work space, to wait patiently for their turn, to be kind, to walk around another child's learning mat and to be independant and responsible for themselves. They learn how to sew to improve hand and eye coordination - and they learn to use the same finger hold for properly holding a pencil, well before they ever put a pencil in their hand for writing. Basic skills that lay the foundation of being a kind and considerate person in everyday life. I wonder, if all our children were given these opportunities to grow in this way, would our world not be a better place for living?

I feel honored today in many ways. Honored to be a mom to a child who is learning to be a better person at age 2. I am honored to work with respectful, kind and considerate people. I am honored to have people in my life who are kind and considerate to me even when it's not easy.

I am honored to be alive to witness all of these things.


sarahhh said...

awe. i am glad to be alive too. haha.

i'm currently in the process of looking for a job. when you don't have a job you automatically feel like a loser or burden because you aren't workinnggg. unless of course, if i had a goal or role that is like a job (like being a mom, or going to school) that would be different.

well, sort of along with your blog i find that as people we have to work. our brains are too complex to let idle and wait. we must have purpose and goals. it humors me and i too am grateful that i am part of this batch of life. i too must do. i hope i will get to work with great people. (because it sure sucks when they suck!)

KLC said...

We've set up a Montessori like home for K so she has autonomy and independence. She meticulous and fastidious like her dad who is really good about getting me to clean up my messes! I never thought I would say this but I'm glad he works from home because our house has never been cleaner!