Friday, August 15, 2014

little things

It's the little things that count although often they are not added up when measuring values. In this case I am talking about little things that happen around my office when workers 'buy in.' When you feel like you are an actual participant, and that you count as a team member, little things are done differently. I was marveling over this deep thought as I was refilling the printer tray this morning. 

It occurred to me that this was my first time refilling the printer tray, which then reminded me that at the other job I seemed to constantly be refilling the tray, and not because there was more printing being done at the other company. My current company is twice the size of the old company, and the old company had that space alien of a printer, the likes of which I have never seen before or after. The difference is that I currently work with colleagues who feel invested in and in turn are investing in the company. 

At the old firm I often saw colleagues who, upon finding that the printer was out of paper, would return to their desks and send the prints to other printers. They weren't interested in taking a minute of time to open up a new package of paper and refill the tray. At the end of the day, hundreds of prints would lay discarded in print area because duplicates had already been sent and collected. Notices admonishing staff for paper waste were duly noted and ignored. This is what happens when you work for a company whose HR policy involves sending out office wide spreadsheets documenting your efficiency versus your colleagues, based only on number of hours on your time card. This is what happens when your company which hired you in a recession won't raise your salary to market value.  At the end of the day, when your toilet use has been compiled and you have sent that acknowledgement form regarding waling into the office five minutes late (even if you did work five hours OT the night before) you just don't have the heart to want to do anything more than what you need to do, if that.

I was such an idiot to stay. What idiotic, misplaced loyalty. My boss never looked out for my growth and my colleagues were only helpful when informing me of all the unwritten office don'ts: don't ask for overtime compensation even though it's covered in the company handbook, don't leave the office before the boss, and don't do anything without permission, even if it's running downstairs to buy paracetamol. 

So yes, I was standing by the printer today, experiencing an epiphany that this is what it feels like to work with colleagues who give a damn. It means that most of them will pitch in to keep things running smoothly. It means that when HR solicits advice, a lot of people answer (which is how we ended up on the 100+ person boat trip excruciating excursion). It means that I don't experience fear in asking my boss for help. It means that I actually have conversations with people sitting around me and care about them as colleagues and even friends. It's the little things that count.

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