While working out at the local gym a few weeks ago, I noticed a young woman walking around wiping down equipment, stripping weights, and putting away dumbbells that were left scattered around from the night before. She obviously works the early shift and went about her task without any visible dissatisfaction or animosity against those that failed to clean up after themselves.
There are a number of signs posted throughout the gym that ask the members to rerack their weights. Maybe its old-school and it’s technically her job, but it seems to me that once he (or she) was done with their last rep, they would kindly put their toys away where they found them. After all, not every person can do leg presses with eight plates on each side or hoist 80lb dumbbells over their head.
Before you start, this is not a generational thing – every decade has its ding dongs that feel the world owes them a favor. In the fire service, we call it entitlement. Admittedly, I have struggled when faced with a “professional” that, when caught in some act of impropriety, has claimed that they did not know any better because the department had not gotten around to drafting a policy specifically written to address the situation. Thus, some feel they should get a pass, another chance, or some other form of institutional forgiveness. Admittedly, there is a place for patience, and interpretations can certainly vary from person to person. But, I’m talking about things that your Mama should have taught you while you were growing up; things that every fire candidate likely inferred that they understood when they interviewed for the job.
Now, for those of you already looking for wiggle room, what I mean by your “Mama,” is your mother, dad, grandparents, first grade teacher, soccer coach, Mr. Rogers, church, synagogue, mosque, or favorite comic book superhero; basically, anybody or anything that may have had some positive influence on the relative position of your moral compass.
The reracking incident did get me thinking about my assumptions; so I conducted a little experiment. For a week, I walked around with a pen and small notepad in my pocket, jotting down situations when it seemed to me that the person(s) should have known better.
Frankly, it was depressing. By the end of the week, creating such a list made me feel like I should be written up for spreading my own negativity. So, I have flipped the script and provided a short list of things we can all do to make someone’s life a little more pleasant.