A while ago I wrote a blog about random acts of kindess. I’d kind of forgotton all about it, until I watched the movie “Evan Almighty” recently. One message of the film is about changing the world, one random act of kindness at a time.
Hearing Morgan Freeman say those words got me thinking: how does this idea play into my daily work life? Yes, I know I am trying to walk the walk and all in my personal/all-around life, but what about in the office?
The next day I received an email that gave me the answer. I kid you not, it was from a member of the public and said, “OMG! You are my new hero!” Now, just what warranted that kind of accolade? Nothing. That’s right, nothing. All I did was my job.
I’m not saying that anything I did should qualify as an act of kindness but….let’s take a look from this public’s view. He needed his outfitter/guide permit renewed, his livelihood depended on it. He is used to the Forest Service’s draconican processes and geologic timescale. So when I ended up processing his permit in less than 24 hours (with no inconvenience to myself or other work priorities), he was elated. Absolutely thrilled.
And really, this took no effort on my part. In my mind, “I’m just doing my job.” When I received the aforementioned heroic commentary, of course I enjoyed it but I also thought about how “just doing my job” made someone else so happy. And then I felt the twinkle of a blog post…..
Each of us possesses a different outlook on our jobs. Most of the time I just feel like I push paper around and help people jump our bureaucratic loops. But receiving a comment like this reminds me how much more it can me. It means a lot to people when we help them jump those hoops, when we help them navigate the dark halls of government requirements.
I thought about this and wondered, what makes the difference? Why do I receive such comments every now and then — just enough to be called “regularly” — while other coworkers receive none? It’s not that I’m such a stellar employee…..It’s just that I don’t act like the “bureaucrat” people are used to. I actually care about people’s needs, and take the “serving the people” part of the mission statement seriously.
I am absolutely not trying to toot my horn. I am just saying that by caring about these people’s needs and helping them — ie, DOING MY JOB — they can feel so happy, so pleased. Like I did something above and beyond.
A random act of kindness? No, just my job as a public servant. The moral of the story is that our actions can have a bigger effect on the public we serve than we realize. Maybe we, as gov’t employees, can change the world.