Thursday, December 01, 2005
The New Guy
It has been an interesting time inside my head these past few weeks as I look to the change in jobs on the horizon. I've developed a new bit of philosophy that is increasingly guiding my actions these days, The New Guy Theorem of Happiness. Those of you that know me well will attest I am just chock full of Yankee stoicism, and I will endure almost anything with silence and fairly good cheer. I will just slog through something unpleasant because I have a long view on things and I see the good on the other side.
Well guess what - it doesn't have to be that unpleasant! I realized this as I began to make small changes in my job - work layout, policy, scheduling - to make things a little better for "The New Guy" who will be taking over for me in another 5 or 6 months. Things I have endured on a daily basis for literally years I am changing so that "The New Guy" doesn't have to deal with it. Do you realize how silly this is?? After I made a few changes and realized that "Wow, this is better, this is more efficient, this is more fun", I started to wonder a couple things . . . .
First of all, why can't I be The New Guy? What is it in my admittedly stubborn constitution that makes me slog through like a tough guy when it doesn't need to be so horrible? And the other thing I realized is that the same philosophy applied to other things in my life as well. A good example would be dropping my daughter off at school in the morning. I began to bring her to school on the way to work to make her feel loved, to bond with her in the morning (even though we don't talk, there is a good vibe in the car), so that she doesn't have to wait in the cold for the bus, to boost her self-esteem and make her feel special. I made the decision to do this even though the drop off process is stunningly horrible, an endless wait in line in a traffic jam of parents and buses and chaos. It was an unbearable event that I simply endured because it was the right thing to do, even though I hated it.
Well, if you apply the New Guy philosophy to the problem, it turned out I just had to leave about 10 minutes earlier and there was almost no line. Also, it turned out it was really nice to crank the car up about 15 minutes before I left and then brew a cup of coffee that I could enjoy on the road. So by making just a few changes, I have a warm car, a fresh cup of coffee in my hand, and no traffic jam and suddenly dropping my daughter off in the morning is something to be enjoyed, not endured.
The New Guy Theorem of Happiness has been a great addition to my routine and I continue to look for more opportunities to apply it to all aspects of my day. I encourage you all to "be the new guy" and have a better day!
I remember when my daugher was little. It was one of those days when everything went wrong and that little girl got into everthing! Books, flour, pots and pans all over the floor. The final straw was when I saw soot flying through the air. I turned around and saw two white eyes staring out from the fire place. I realized then, I could either enjoy their childhood or worry about a clean house. The bread went into the trash and we finger painted with soot and water.
I also think of a dear friend of ours who took the "New Guy" approach when she was shot. Instead of saying "why me." She said, I'm glad I was there and able to help catch the guy.