"Much good work is lost for the lack of a little more." ~Edward H. Harriman

My mom recently sent an email out to our family that I would like to share with you...
"Every morning on my walk, a little red V.W. rolls by me filled with newspapers. Behind the wheel sits a woman dressed in shorts, a t-shirt and a baseball cap. Her eyes are on her work. As she drives down the road, she skillfully throws newspapers through the front-seat windows, both sides. To my amazement, every paper lands right smack in the middle of the recipient's driveway. The little V.W. zigzags from the right, to the left and the papers fly out. In all this activity, she still has time to wave to me. Even more incredible - on the weekend (as the papers are bigger) she drives a big black pick-up truck. Down the road she comes, the truck brimming with papers and her zigzag routine. It would be a delight for you to see. She is truly an example of how to do your job. She needs to conduct an in-service. I admire her work ethics."

When I first read this little story, I agreed with my mom. This woman truly shows good work ethic. But shouldn't this always be the case? Isn't she merely doing her job? She is fulfilling her job description. Her job is to deliver the paper, which she is doing. Shouldn't that be the case? Shouldn't we all be fulfilling our job description, completing our assigned duties? It isn't as if she is going the extra mile or doing something more than she is supposed to. She is doing her job.

I think it is a little sad that we admire someone or gain an inordinate amount of respect for someone because they merely do their job. What does that say about the average newspaper delivery person in my mom's neighborhood or yours? Should extra notice be given to someone that does their job? Granted the lady in the little red bug did her job well..., it is an interesting question.

Of course, everyone likes to get a pat on the back every once in a while and a thank you for a job well done. How well do you do your job? Are you happy to zigzag your way through your day, sometimes missing a driveway or do you hit it straight on, no matter the weight of your work or how far you have to go to get it there?
Perhaps you just show up. I wonder what they say about you.

by rayannethorn

Originally posted Perhaps You Just Show Up to Bonus Track on August 4, 2009

Views: 77

Tags: deliver, doing your job, example, job well done, rayanne, work ethics, zigzag

Comment by Shelley Griffiths on April 27, 2011 at 11:20pm



You just might be my new hero



Comment by Valentino Martinez on April 27, 2011 at 11:53pm


“Showing up” for work has important ramifications.  Clocking in for work and doing what is expected of you is one thing—but what distinguishes each person on the job is a performance that exceeds what’s expected of them.  The woman on her paper route, from your mother’s description and perspective, sounded exceptional. And the simple act of her waving “hello” to your mom told me something the naked eye cannot see—unless of course you’ve worked a newspaper route as I have in my youth. 

Allow me to explain—first, I particularly liked the fact that your mother was impressed enough to share her take on the work ethic, skill and the visual impression she observed from several daily observations of a lady doing her paper route job.  Now I will embellish what your mother didn’t say but may have noticed, from my knowledge of the art of newspaper route management (yes—I said ART).  Her description of the zigzagging VW and the lady’s adjusting to larger papers on weekends and tossing them from a large black pickup truck actually says a lot about this woman and her skill set.  I’m here to say newspaper throwing is no simple feat for man, woman, or teenager. 

Try tossing some 100-200+ folded or wrapped newspapers out from a moving vehicle making sure each one lands on a dry surface (driveway, steps or porch) rather than on wet grass or in the rose bushes.  Throwing left-handed when you’re right-handed, and holding on to the steering wheel, takes some adjustments to consistently hit a target while you’re moving and possibly dodging other cars, pedestrians out for a jog, pets and parked cars.  Each new day brings new customers and cancelled old ones.  Some houses getting a paper are next to each other and across the street from each other—so you can have blocks of 4-6-8 to10 customers all bunched together.  You want to hit all of these, factoring in all recent changes, without breaking your flow because keeping a smooth drive-by pace means you’re on your mark and you’re on schedule—you’re in the ZONE. 

Stopping your drive-by on a paper route for any reason kills that motion and messes with your schedule.  I mention schedule because once you’ve established it you’ll soon discover some customers set their clocks on you—so when you’re running late you are putting them off of their schedules and you know you’ll hear about it.  And that ruins your day and possibly your tip come collection day. So the mere act of the lady waving “hi” (with a smile) to your mom tells me oodles because there was no mention of a stressed-out driver in a VW pushing through her route to make-up for lost time.  No, your mother noticed a composed highly proficient professional on her job.  She recognized your mom from other days and took her eye off the road for that moment because she was in control of her schedule and could afford to factor in your mom for the hi sign

Please tell your mom, if you feel it’s warranted, that in my youth—on my newspaper route--I could toss four tightly wrapped (a valued skill-set--newspaper wrapping) newspapers in sequence and have them all land on target, on four different yards—correctly, all at the same time.  I was on a motorcycle so that feat was easier to do than it would be from a car or truck.  What I’m saying is, as you get familiar with your route—each house poses a challenge in terms of calculating distance, landing area and timing.  The toss from a moving vehicle even if it’s just a few feet can be difficult.  It should also me mentioned that sometimes you have to be careful not to hit a customer who will occasionally be waiting outside for their paper.  You purposely throw it low and away so they don’t attempt to catch (and they do try) a flying paper that could take their head off. 

In the bigger picture “showing up” on the job—any job, to deliver an average performance is recognizable as doing what is minimally expected of an employee but not roundly appreciated by fellow employees, customers (think DMV) and management.  Most employers expect, some demand, above average performance--doing anything less makes you average, or below average, and vulnerable to layoff or termination on most jobs.  What is interesting is that some employees bring personal initiative to work so much so that the job becomes a mission and doing the job well matters.  These employees appreciate incentives, but are self-driven and do the job exceedingly well because they can.  The lady your mother recognized working her newspaper route seems to have grasped the value of a job well done matters…to her.  And so that’s the only way she rolls.  It also speaks to your mother’s recognition and respect for good work ethic when she sees it.      


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