Shop Talk

Photo courtesy of dansmc.com
Photo courtesy of dansmc.com

I stood over the copier, waiting for my papers to spit out.

My coworker, a great gal in her 60s, stood waiting as well. She relayed to me a story about a conference room mix-up and how angry her particular department got about it. She admonished them to be gracious, as their group had done the same thing to other teams in the past.

“You know, administrative assistants can get…territorial about their supervisors,” she said to me, brown eyes intense. “They will do anything for their boss.”

Don’t I know it.

“Yes, but you get in a synergistic working relationship with someone and you have this bond.  You know what they’re going to ask before they even open their mouth.  You get this flow going.  Naturally, you want to protect that person and all they do,” I said.

She nodded.

“I get that. However, I don’t want to be remembered as the one who only got along with her group,” she said, pensive.

Deep conversation for a Tuesday, I thought.  Where is this going?

“Well, how do you want to be remembered?” I asked, retrieving the copy of insurance and signed contract page from the machine. I handed her the originals.  She took them from me.

She thought for a moment. Then she looked at me.

“I want to be remembered as the person who worked well with everyone,” she said. She turned and said goodbye, and we both got back to work.

The exchange got me thinking.  What do I want to be remembered for?  It can be contextual, like how do I want to be remembered at this job? At home? At church? At work, I think I’d like to be the one who made it fun and got things done, who found joy in the doing. Politics will always be in the mix, but they don’t have to define us.

I liked what my friend said. That means no more kingdoms.  No more fiefdoms or toddler-like battles over job duties. No more prolonged, blame-shifting meetings where nobody takes the heat for screwing stuff up. It hasn’t happened to me here, but it has in the past. We need to pull together. This means acting like civilized grown ups. My job is a great blessing. But I don’t own it.  I will do my best to understand and learn and serve.  I want to make the most of it. Yet one day, I will walk away from it.  It won’t be my last hurrah, God willing.

Now, what about you?  How would you like to be remembered?