again from Mountain Mecca & Hippie Heaven!
know, some weeks life is so hectic I barely have time to breathe let alone
choose a Coconut Chronicle topic worthy of you…my faithful and beloved reader!
(Insert sucking sounds). Then there are weeks, such as this one, where a
Chronicle practically writes itself.
I have been fencing. No not the sport-thingy with the colanders worn over the
faces and pointy swords, no we’ve been building
a fence. Quite a big fence. And, according to a random survey of everyone who
walks up and down Stanley Street, quite a “NICE FENCE!” Nelson is not a town of
fences. There is, in fact, not one fence between us and our neighbours, or
their neighbours, etc. So, when one sets about to build a fence in a non-fence-friendly
town, it had better be good. I think we more than accomplished our mission,
thanks to Prez’s excellent design, general fussiness, and good work ethic.
fence is now a conversation piece on Stanley Street. At one point it became
almost comical as we were trying to work and being constantly interrupted by
the flow of praise. I watched one passerby try to not look at the fence
but eventually succumb to its pull. A Japanese fellow walked up and down,
scrutinizing the fence, finally stopping and giving it a forceful nod of
it’s a Nice Fence but why, I wondered, should it garner so much attention? It’s
not like Picasso built it or something (in which case the fence would be at all
kinds of weird angles, slapped over top of one another). So, why all the
conclusion is that it comes down to quality & pride in one’s work…something
rarely seen anymore. The fence is nice because we worked hard and poured
ourselves into its creation (well, Prez did, I spent a lot of time sort of daydreaming
and working out plotlines and back story for my next novel…but that’s another
Chronicle). Whatever job we do, love it or hate it, we give 110%. It’s not
about money, it’s not about having gaggles of people calling out, “Nice
Fence!”, it’s about wanting to do a good job. Simple as that.
the last time you went somewhere and thought, ‘Wow, that person sure did a hell
of a job!’? I mean, it’s so rare to encounter anyone going the extra mile
anymore that we begin to wonder if there is an extra mile or if it was all just
an urban legend.
before I get all uppity and start wagging fingers, I must confess, I was not
always the poster child for Extra-Mile-ness. Actually, I was a pretty crappy
employee in the beginning, mostly because I was taking jobs just for the cash
(and free food in many instances). My full resume reads much like a menu at a
cheap Chinese food restaurant – #12) Fake Plant Store, #26) Fitness Club, #34) Perfume
Sales Rep – long and unhealthy. (Yes, I actually worked at all those jobs). At
the fitness club job I often worked the early shift which meant opening the
doors at – ACK – 6 o’clock (who knew there were two 6 o’clocks in the day?). It
didn’t take me long to figure out a routine: Open the door, let in the five
maniacs who actually work out that early, curl up in the corner out of sight of
the security camera, and sleep until 7:30 when the other staff begin to arrive.
thing happened. First, I moved to Japan to teach English. The school was new
and I the only instructor, which meant I had to come up with the entire
curriculum by myself and the teach it. In the process, I learned that being a
boss is not an easy job. Next, back in the land of tall people, I got a job as
a veterinary assistant an animal hospital. This was my dream job, working with
furry critters every day. My first day on the job I was so excited, I wanted to
learn everything right away. I was washing a dog when the office manager came
in to tell me that my shift had ended almost an hour ago; I could go home.
you can make money and love what you do. Hmmmmmm.
my five years at the animal hospital, I worked my arse off for little more than
minimum wage…and loved every freakin’ minute of it.
the same time, I was getting started in stunts. OK, I wasn’t the very best
stunt person in the world, I’ll be the first to admit that, but I loved it. I
was completely unprepared for my first gag (stunt), but you could pretty much
scrape the excitement off my skin with a butter knife. I had to jump out of the
way of a car. It wasn’t easy, and the stunt coordinator kept changing what he
wanted me to do, then yelling at me when it didn’t go right (picture a complete
stranger inches from your face screaming, “You’re f$@#ing up the shot!!!”). At the end of the day, he
put his arm around me, told me I did a great job, and said he was giving me six
hundred bucks. Six hundred bucks??!!! Oh my god! I would have done the stunt for
free!!! Six hundred bucks??!! Wow!!!!
turns out, the $600 was just the stunt adjustment (like danger pay). The real
paycheque was more than double that. Of course I was thrilled (hooray, I can
pay off my MasterCard!), but I never started down the movie road in pursuit of
dollars, which is probably why I stuck around long after many, more talented,
newcomers fell by the wayside.
like to make money but over the past ten plus years I’ve learned that the
reward for doing a good job is simply knowing you did a good job. Actually, you
are not always rewarded for doing a good job, sometimes quite the opposite. My
brief time spent as a “Customer Experience Representative” (See also: Sales
Person) at Large Bookstore showed me how unappreciative corporate folks (and
customers) can be. But I didn’t care. I helped a lot of people enjoy books, how
cool is that?
write these Chronicles, as I have done for almost four years now, I don’t get a
cent and likely never will. On top of that, I’ve nearly lost friends over some
of my comments, and prompted more than one “heated discussion”, but,
nevertheless, I take these ramblings very seriously. My goal is to make people
read and think – ha, ha made you read!!! If that means pulling out my guts and
dumping them on this page then so be it.
new perspective as “Extra-Mile Girl” I can clearly see how little most folks in
the workforce care about their jobs. It’s sad. I want to tell them, “Yes, this
job may suck but having pride in your work never does.”
after the hoo-ha of the Nice Fence, Prez and I moved on to our next job, happy
that we exceeded our client’s expectations. End of story? Not quite. Our
client, Mrs. Wonderful, paid us and gave us a nice card thanking us for all
we’ve done…and a gift certificate for a night in a chalet up at Halcyon Hot
Springs! Wow. The most amazing things happen when you’re not looking for them.
went out for sushi, to celebrate the Nice Fence and other good things. Over
priced and undergood. And our waitress was lousy. Sigh.
have an assignment for you (interactive Chronicle, how ingenious). The next
time you encounter someone who does a really good, extra-mile, kind of job;
take a minute to tell them. Something as simple as, “Hey, thanks for doing such
a good job!”, will make their day, I promise. This is my diabolical plan to
encourage and propagate good workers (and make people happy). Or we could start
a whole new fad. You say, “Nice Fence!” and that means, “Thank you so much for
putting that extra effort into an otherwise humdrum, everyday job and making my
life a little brighter!” Hmmmmm, this could be a movement, a revolution, a new
an excuse to brag about a really Nice Fence.
Do you love your job?
next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!
I’ve attached some photos of the above-mentioned fence, as well as a couple of
me opening my prize money from Writer’s Digest Magazine (not staged at all).