Monday, November 25, 2013

NaBloPoMo 25: Impact

I contemplate, sometimes, the people I've met that have made a major impact in my life. The unexpected people, when you look back.

When I was 16, I got my first real job working at Arby's. I'd been babysitting—and getting paid for it since I was 10, and I'd been mowing yards for extra money for almost as long, so I fancied myself a very hard worker.

One slow Friday night, after the boss had let just about everyone go home, we were slammed with a bus. One guy worked the slicer, and my boss, John Kranz, and I, manned the registers for the sudden onslaught of 60 or so hungry people. I took orders and filled them and rang them up and gave their change and got their fries and salad dressings and what-have you. As was my job.

When it was all over, John folded his arms across his chest, and said, matter-of-factly, "Did you notice how many people I waited on, compared to how many people you waited on?" Why, no, I had not been keeping tabs. He went on to point out that the ratio was something like 3 to 57. He was very kind about it, but it was still a glass of water in my face. I had always been so proud of being such a good employee, and now it was being suggested that I had no hustle!?

I brought my A-game from there on out, and to this day I am both highly irritated with any employee that won't focus on his or her job, and amused, hoping for their sake that their own personal John Kranz will come along and steer them into good employee-ship!


Another example of someone giving me the what-two-for was—and oh, she'll be so surprised when she reads this—a school friend, Shari Haubner. I walked home from school most days when we were in about 7th or 8th grade. One day Shari was telling me something about home or school, or something, while I tra-la-la'd along next to her. She suddenly said "you aren't even listening. You haven't heard a thing I've said." And she walked off!

I had, of course, no argument. She was right. I was off in my own little world, completely ignoring her, which was not what good friends do, and really, downright rude.

I have since tried to be a better listener, although sometimes I do get too excited and yap over the top of people.

I'm sure there are more examples, but these two events in particular come to my mind often. These moments were impactful for me, in that I did change my direction, pretty much for the rest of my life, on these two points. Maybe I would have figured these things out on my own, or perhaps someone else would have come along to set me straight...but what if they had not? Don't we all know adults that do the bare minimum in their jobs, letting others pick up the pieces? Or haven't we all been talking to someone who has obviously tuned us out?

Big thanks to John and Shari, then, for preventing me from growing up to become a complete asshole. Because without them, who knows? If it weren't for them, maybe I'd be nothing but a lazy bad listener.


Tell me yours. Who in your life has ever made you realize something you could maybe put a little work into, or said something that made you change the way you do something?


  1. I love this and immediately thought of people I had not in quite awhile. You just hope everyone has those. I wonder if I have been that for someone.

  2. A dear friend and co-worker once counseled me to consider the fact that when I was having the same problem with a number of other people that maybe the problem was with me and not the rest of the world. I did not like hearing that one little bit, but when I got over the mad I was embarassed to see that it was true. I learned to look in the mirror after that.


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