One summer I worked for my hometown’s street department, which meant every day at sunrise I was hauling trash from curbs, clearing brush, installing signs and more. It wasn’t a glamorous job, but it certainly taught me some valuable life lessons. So I would like to share with you the secrets I learned while riding on the back of a garbage truck.
- Enjoy the little things
Let’s face it, there is a pretty foul smell that comes from the back of a garbage truck and it’s a great relief when you can smell fresh cookie dough filling the air. The sugary smell cutting through the stench made my day just a little sweeter. Perhaps for you, it’s the view from your office window or the fountain in the lobby that you can take a moment to enjoy. Whatever you can find little joys and pleasures in, keep them close. We all have difficult days, and during those times, it’s nice to have small comforts.
- No man is an island
I have to admit that I’ve been extremely fortunate to work with people that “showed me the ropes.” Often in todays job place there is a “I can do it myself” mentality, or the need to prove oneself by taking on everything solo. I certainly tried this when I first started at the street department, and I became exhausted and stretched thin trying to do too much. Luckily, I made many friends with the guys that had been there for years, and there was no embarrassment about being the “new guy.” When an org or department works together as a team, you have accountability and are more likely to function as one. But to get a team truly aligned takes time, training and the proper resources.
- Take pride in what you do
I believe it’s important to take pride in your work and know that you made a difference. When you feel like an integral part of an organization, you will feel engaged and more satisfied in your work. The street department was difficult work, but at the end of the day, I went home knowing I put in a great day’s work. If I was exhausted or my muscles were burning, it just meant I had done my part to keep the streets clean and earned my paycheck.
Whether you are having a bad day or are in need of team alignment I hope you can find the secrets to work success right in your own organization. Perhaps you want to see your people fully immersed in the organization’s culture and strategy, but don’t know where to start. If you’re looking for a game changer in L&D, or wanting to see success spread through your company, start by reading an example of Protiviti and how they transformed their onboarding experience into a high-energy introduction to their culture, values and mission to both train and retain their talent.
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