Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Big business meets inspiration

I have about 3 or 4 TV shows that I watch religiously; they all happen to fall on Sunday nights. They are left over from my solo Sunday nights when my husband used to work the overnight shift. They are the shows that would keep me company after I put the kids to bed and needed a little time to myself to regroup for the hectic Monday morning schedule.

So after the Super Bowl when I sat intently watching a new Sunday program Undercover Boss, I thought, "I can't get sucked into another show on Sunday nights." Too bad, sister, I can't stop watching it.

Luckily, it's available online so during a lunch break here or there I get caught up on the episodes, but if you haven't watched it yet, it's worth viewing. In a sentence, it's C-level execs of HUGE consumer-facing companies that go undercover to see how the employees out in the field feel about the corporate office, and to see if there are ways to improve business. The sad part is if it's successful, it's going to be hard for season 2 to fool anyone when a stranger shows up saying they have a camera crew with them as a documentary to view entry level employees trying to find work.

Having been a white collar worker most of my life, I'm always fascinated by the employees and jobs that keep our great country moving forward. I will always appreciate my early working years as a waitress which began when I was 14 1/2 and ended at 23. That job seriously taught me how to communicate with any type of person from any background; how to react to unpleasant situations (say, perhaps, you spill a whole glass of tomato juice on a customer) and how difficult it is for service companies to survive.

The workers profiled out in the field during this show are inspiring. Could you spend hours during your work day straightening cheese onto burgers as they come off a huge conveyor belt? Or how about urinating in a can because you are a female trash collector and potty breaks throw your schedule off track and could get you in trouble? Could you be in charge of cleaning the port-o-potty at an amusement park, all the while joking and smiling and being thankful you have a job? Or stuff hamburger buns into a bag (it was apparently much harder than it looked)?

Sometimes I forget how comfy my desk chair is - and how I'm able to start work and end it according to my schedule - or how I can stop and chit chat with a colleague without worrying about clocking in and out, down to the minute. I know I'm fortunate, but what I do for work doesn't feed America, keep it clean, save the planet or make much difference to the world outside of my house.

So, thank you to all the workers out there who do the tasks that go completely unseen by many - yet keep the system working so the American Dream lives on. The jobs I've never had to consider applying for, yet are the jobs that help people keep their homes, feed their families and move industry forward.

And a little thanks to CBS for reminding me that this country is made up of all types of workers - with all types of stories of their own.

1 comment:

Tammy B said...

I LOVE this show!! Trying to get Michael to watch too.