Monday, July 19, 2010
Work as play, or, A Tale of Six Tea Bags
I love it when people turn work into play. Even better when they give themselves and others a lift by doing more, in an improvisational way, than could possibly be asked of them in a job.
Case in point, from a recent flight on Southwest:
The woman next to me asks the young male flight attendant for hot tea. He returns with a selection of six Stash tea bags as well as the standard-issue Earl Grey and chamomile.
"My goodness," my rowmate gasps. "I'm amazed that Southwest has such a wide selection."
"Oh, they're not standard issue," the flight attendant responds. "I just thought that passengers deserve a wider selection than Southwest supplies, so I bring these from the airline hotels where they put us up overnight."
I congratulated the flight attendant, with strong appreciation, for his initiative - and for turning his work into play. He responded by giving me a free drink. Full marks to him, and to Southwest for choosing its staff so well.
At the end of that flight, the fellow at the car rental desk asked if I was in his town on business or pleasure. "I don't make that distinction anywhere in my life," I told him. That is simple truth.
He cocked his head and asked, "Are you a writer?"
"That's a pretty good guess. How did you come up with that?"
"I was trying to think what kind of job you would have if your work was your play."
The Southwest flight attendant's performance with the tea bags suggests that the answer can be: ANY job.