Monday, September 25, 2006

Be Happy!

When the war and school were over I went to work at a large corporation. I was in the R and D department and one of my immediate bosses was a doofus (we kids thought). He was older than most of us and we kids were snobbish about his lack of formal education. (His years of experience had taught him more than any PhD knew about commercial laundering.) But he was so likeable it was impossible not to seek his company. Always smiling, Joe spent his day complimenting people, especially the girls. He would say that their dress was beautiful, that he loved their hairdo, that their fingernail polish was “just the right color” for their complexion. Or he could just say something like, “Good morning, it’s a gorgeous day and so are you”. Pure malarkey, but he got a smile from the most dour sourpuss. Somewhere in his lifetime, Joe had learned the “spotters’” trade. He could take spots and stains out of clothes and neckties better than most dry cleaners. Lunch spills, mimeograph ink, he could clean up any misadventure. So employees would show up in his office in the labs all day long, often in tears because a favorite dress was apparently ruined. Joe would fix them up and leave them smiling. Everyone loved Joe. I jokingly confronted Joe once and asked why all the “phony” compliments and pats. (Oh yes, Joe was also a fanny patter. I’d have been killed for doing some of the things Joe got a smile and a giggle for.) He said that he knew that even a corny compliment or kindness could cheer up a gloomy day for some one and he felt better himself for doing that. Not deep, but worth thinking about.

Top management of the company was well aware of Joe. When the company headquarters and staff moved to a site away from Research, Joe was suddenly transferred to a job at their site. After all, they liked compliments and they occasionally spilled gravy on their ties at lunch.


Anonymous said...

thats nice that the management were aware of how good a gem an employee they had. you dont see much of that these least not where i work anyway!

Archana said...

Ah, such people liven up the whole place! Your were so lucky to have such a likeable boss!!