I have a new favorite show: Undercover Boss. I watched the first episode last weekend and was pleasantly surprised. The CEO of Waste Management decided to go undercover and spend a week working with people he employs, trying out their jobs. Disguised, of course. I had anticipated that we would be hearing people bad-mouthing their boss, or seeing questionable business practices but instead, saw employees who genuinely loved their jobs and who had interesting personal stories. The boss spent the day cleaning porta-potties with a man who made his job seem like an adventure. The employee never once complained about the disgusting nature of the job, but made it almost seem fun. And then there was a woman working in an office, doing the work of 4 people but only getting paid for one. She was so friendly and efficient, that she made it seem like it was easy to simultaneously do 4 jobs. She even invited the Boss back to her home for dinner - and she didn't even know who he was! He learned that this woman had had 4 different types of cancer by the time she was 21, and that she was living with her father, her sister and brother-in-law, in addition to her husband and child for financial reasons.
At the end of the show, the boss revealed himself to the people he had worked with throughout the week. He offered to help each of these people in some way; for one employee, his offer of help was to simply change the way they make people clock in and out for lunch.
The thing that was most inspiring about this show was that the Boss learned that its important to see what each person in his company is doing. He talked about how productivity is so important to him, and that he makes many decisions based on productivity issues, but failed to think about how these decisions might affect his employees. (One female garbage truck driver has to use a coffee can as a latrine because productivity decreases if she stops to use the bathroom).
This made me wish that my bosses, the ones in an office somewhere in The Big City, would spend a day with some of their employees. Maybe they would see that having us fill out yet another form isn't helping our customers, and its not making us more efficient. I hope I don't sound bitter, because I am very grateful to have a job, and I do love my job. Sometimes, it seems that decisions that come from the top of the company make sense to the bottom line, but really affect morale of the employees which in turn makes customer satisfaction suffer. Maybe...sometimes...the employee knows best. Hmmmm.
I love the Olympics. Summer - Winter, it doesn't matter. I'm glued to the tv and I'm cheering along with the crowds. Most of these sports are things I'd never watch any other time, but for these two weeks, they are my first choice. I find myself using language I don't even understand: half calf, double McTwist, triple salchow, etc. And most of the time, I get choked up when, during the medals ceremony, I get to hear our own National Anthem. Cheesy, I know. But it makes me happy!