Today I received a left-handed compliment — possibly unintended — but surely revealing.
Over the past few months, I’ve put in lots of extra hours at work. And by lots, I mean to say LOTS!
A better writer would choose a better term, but it’s 11 p.m., and I’m beat, and the work seems to be swallowing me whole. I feel like the frog in the popular stork-and-frog never-give-up posters.
Here’s the puzzle: The work that has consumed my time and a good bit of my sleep these past few months is work I understand and do well.
So, today, when a young printer-checker stopped by my office to get a reading from my printer, he looked genuinely surprised. I wasn’t.
It was his comment that surprised me. I expected him to express some mild condemnation, some statement about the money my excessive printing was costing. He didn’t.
Instead, he remarked about his experience working with a supervisor — presumably one from a different organization — who had declared that he did by far the most work in his unit. Apparently, the printer-checker believed differently. His insight came from knowing that the supervisor printed practically nothing, and his subordinates were the one creating all the documents. He concluded his short anecdote by assuring me that he could plainly tell that I’d been working extremely hard since the last readings had been recorded.
I wish he had complained about my spending.
What I know, and what, perhaps, the young man didn’t quite understand, is that the folks making decisions are almost never the paper spenders. They are the paper requesters. Sure, my copy count is high, and I know I’ve been working hard. What I don’t quite know is how to step away from the paper.
For now, I’ll appreciate the opportunity to do work I enjoy, but I’ll also keep the printer-man in mind and make sure I achieve a lower copy-count on his next visit.
Never give up, little frog.