Do your job well, thoughts on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Mid January is still New Years resolutions making time. I find annual goal setting is much more effective, especially using the processes by Michael Hyatt. Irrespective on how you are planning your year, doing your job well is likely to be one of the goals.

On Martin Luther King’s Day, this quote of his comes to mind:

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well’.

Here is an example: Last Friday, I was at the airport about to board a 6pm flight heading back home for this long weekend. When I got to the gate, the gate agent announced that the flight is going to be delayed for 2 or more hours because of weather. Since they are waiting for weather update, everyone just have to keep checking back every 30 minutes. I can see the stress level of all the passengers raising.

There is no point in running back and forth between the airport lounge and the gate. So I found a good seat and waited at the gate. I have music and movies on my iPad, noise cancelling headphones charged, todo lists to review, plenty of things to keep me occupied. I see a constant stream of passengers going up to the gate agent, asking the same questions, getting the same answers.

The gate agent could have been getting annoyed. But instead she was calm, answering all the questions as best as she can, keeping a smile on her face. This went on for two hours. I can see that her calmness and niceness rubs off on the passengers. It was as good as it can be, on a winter Friday evening, on a delayed departure at the airport, before a long weekend.

The gate agent clearly did her job exceptionally well. I thanked her for it as I board. Can we all do our job equally well, especially under pressure?