Flash of Silver…the leap that changed my world
Rite of Passage Six –Early Tumult–
(1950-1951) Age 16-17 years old
Did you have a menial job you hated but later look back on as a great learning experience?
At sixteen I only had one good suit but as I recall it looked ‘business-like’ and because of my unusual height (6 foot) it made me look more like a younger ’manager’.
My Father, the hotel’s general manager, thought otherwise; I was told to change into older “more suitable clothes” if I really wanted to be a trainee manager…“You will have to start on the bottom rung.”At sixteen I only had one good suit but as I recall it looked ‘business-like’ and because of my unusual height (6 foot) it made me look more like a younger ’manager’.
And so it began, in the men’s restroom, that Brit’s often call a convenience. For years I’ve been amused by the American invitation to meet “at your earliest convenience,” an unusual venue for a business discussion?
My menial start led to several other ‘lesser’ roles that served to help me adjust to who I was. I was a beginner. I knew nothing!
So I started at the lowest rung and as I climbed the ladder I associated with many good people who would not advance and for various reasons were ‘destined’ to remain in less desirable occupations of service.
I still remember these consistent ones with affection because they took me in as one of their own. I was mentored in the menial by truly warm people.
So…what about now?
Sixty years later I have a very crowded “been there, done that” t-shirt and along with each job a set of tender memories of those who did a small thing and did it well (over and over again) until it was done.
This has provided me with a desire to somehow recognize those who do repetitive tasks and who are not accustomed to being thanked. This includes some wait staff, especially in low cost family or chain restaurants. I often introduce myself as “Graham” and ask for their name and then use it in my ordering and when paying the bill and saying thank you.
I will also stop –as somehow led (not always) and say ‘thank you’ to janitorial staff for the ‘great job you are doing’.
Can I somehow ask you to join me in this little thing that can mean so much to those upon whom we so frequently depend for both our safety and our enjoyment?
P.S. This week I read Treena’s poem Stars