cleaner…just a telephone booth cleaner.
One day many years ago I was working in England and found myself on the train reading a newspaper article–an article I’ve never forgotten. The article highlighted a man’s life who worked as a telephone booth cleaner.
Before cell phones, we had telephone booths, and England was famous for the red ones located all over. They were heavily used by the public and therefore, there was a need to inspect and clean them often.
This one man’s job was to clean the telephone booth–a job that would seem lowly to most people. But the article talked about how this man viewed his job. “It’s an important job,” he said. “I don’t just clean a telephone booth. I cheer people up! I make their day!”
The article went on to explain how he leaves a small bouquet of flowers in “his” telephone booths. After each cleaning, he would freshen up his flowers and hope it would bring a smile to people’s face as they stepped into “his” telephone booths.
This was his idea–his way to do ‘extra’ and bring importance to his work and meaning to his own life by doing a service to others.
I’ve long since moved beyond the belief in the caste system of careers–professional vs blue collar, high income vs minimum wage, corporate vs government. In the words of Shania Twain, “It don’t impress me much.”
And reading this article taught me that how we define our job is how we do it. This gentleman ignored all others who may diminish his job to “just a cleaner.” and he rose it to greater heights, defining his role as making significant contributions to humanity.
“Seest thou a man diligent in his work and he shall stand before kings.”
His “extra” distinguished him above others, but more importantly, gave him a gift of life’s purpose.
So, now you know. We don’t “just bake.” No way!
We do important work in life, always striving to do “extra,” making people feel significant, making them smile, helping them feel appreciated.
It's our life’s work and NOT “just baking.”