Being Aligned With Your Work (Part 2)

As a continuation to Monday’s blog post on being aligned with your work, I want to share an example of what it looks like when someone is not aligned or connected to what they are doing for work.

I was on Amtrak the other day headed up to Stamford, CT for a meeting with my mastermind group and had the unpleasant experience of being in the Business Class car with a  conductor who was rude and intimidating to the passengers.  He was a big man who spoke in a condescending tone; yelling (and I mean yelling) at passengers who were asleep or had their headphones on and eyes closed that he needed:”ALL TICKETS AND TICKET RECEIPTS!!”.  At one point I heard the following from a few rows ahead of me,  “HELLO? HELLO M’AM???” and, as the woman was apparently startled awake, he says, “I SAID NEED ALL TICKET RECEIPTS NOW– WE HAD A CREW CHANGE IN DC”.  Clearly that woman had been asleep since prior to arriving in DC.

Then there were a few passengers who mistakenly were in business class without a proper ticket.  He humiliated them in front of the entire car by saying loudly and repeatedly so all could hear, “YOU’RE IN THE WRONG CAR! WHAT DOES THAT SAY ON YOUR TICKET? DOES IT SAY BUSINESS CLASS? NO – WRONG CAR!” I was embarrassed for those passengers and for him.

And then, there was the Quiet Car which was located behind the Business Class car.  It became very apparent that people in the Quiet Car must have not been being quiet because, suddenly the conductor’s loud intimidating voice comes on over the loud speaker instructing all passengers in the Quiet Car to “BE QUIET OR GO TO ANOTHER CAR”.  Clearly this is someone who did not appear to be aligned to what he is doing.

When people are aligned with their work, they are happy because they feel fulfilled and proud of what they do. I think train conductors should be passenger/customer-oriented and kind to those of us who ride the train and provide business to Amtrak.  They shouldn’t be intimidating and rude.  I’ve been around many train conductors in my life who obviously love what they do because they are kind and funny and enjoy being with the passengers and riding on the train.  Now, perhaps this gentleman was having a bad day. I am not presuming to know what was going on with him but I do know that his demeanor and attitude was one of someone who was miserable.  And, it was obviously impacting him as well as those of us who had to be around him and listen to him (and cower when he came around) for the duration of that train ride.  It was not a pleasant experience.

I’m sure many of us have witnessed behaviors like this from those we work with or, perhaps we can even be intimidating or rude to our colleagues or employees sometimes?  And, yes, we all have bad days but again, if they are happening too many in a row and impacting others (as well as ourselves) in a negative way, it may be time to evaluate whether you are aligned with your work. Does it connect with what you value?  Does it motivate you and bring meaning to your life?

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