“Attitude is Everything” or “Find the joy in any job”
When I was selling large mechanical pieces of equipment, the final step in the process was ‘startup’ and ‘maintenance training’. Most of the time I would do this myself, but occasionally, for larger, more complex equipment, I would need to bring in a technician from the factory.
Over the years I worked with many factory techs. With few exceptions they were knowledgeable, hard working and dedicated, and would not leave the job site until the equipment was running properly and the operators at the site were fully trained.
Today’s story is about two technicians. I’ll call them Darrell and Daryl.
Both Darrell and Daryl were good technicians. They arrived on the job site on schedule, assessed the equipment, implemented the changes necessary, worked on the controls, and didn’t leave until they were satisfied that the equipment was running well and the operators were trained and happy.
By all appearances Darrell and Daryl should have had similar levels of job satisfaction. They were doing the same job, had the same challenges.
Darrell came up to do a startup on a large screening system I’d sold. It was located in a remote mountain resort town about a two hour drive from the international airport. The kind of mountain resort people save up all year so they can spend time there.
Darrell did the startup and training, grumbling the entire time about the remoteness of the place, the challenges getting there, and the cost of everything (even though he was on an expense account). But he did the work, and when he left the equipment was running properly and the operators knew how to operate and maintain it.
A few months later Daryl came up to do startup on a different large screening system I’d sold. It too was located in a remote mountain resort town, but this one was a five hour drive from the closest international airport.
Daryl did the startup and training. He had to spend a couple of extra days because of some issues beyond his control, but at the end of the week the equipment was running properly and the operators knew how to operate and maintain it.
But the big difference between Darrell and Daryl was that Daryl embraced the whole experience. He was into ‘geo-caching’ (an early version of Pokemon-Go) and explained to me that there were geo-caches all over the world. He would spend his evenings locating them wherever he had to travel for work. He expressed his delight at the wonderful scenic five hour drive through the mountains, and felt privileged that he got paid to stay in a place that most people considered a vacation retreat.
Darrell was doing a job, and doing it well, but he missed the opportunity for finding the ‘joy’ in the job. Daryl did his job equally well, but his attitude was completely different.
They both had the same challenges – international travel, long time spent away from home – but Daryl looked for the positives.
Needless to say, although I worked well with Darrell, and wouldn’t complain if he was assigned to do the startup on one of my projects, I would always request Daryl if he was available. I simply liked being around him more. Doing a startup was hard work, but with Daryl it was also fun.
Daryl was so good at his job, and the customers liked him so much that he eventually got promoted, and didn’t get to travel nearly as much. But, he adjusted. Last time I talked to him he told me he missed the travel, but there were other benefits to the new position. He is still able to see the positives in any situation.
Darrell, who was good at the job, but hated many aspects necessary to the position, eventually left the job. I hope he found joy.
It’s always good to have the ability to do a job, but most of our job satisfaction comes from our attitude towards that job. Find the ‘joy’, and embrace the experience.