Workplace ethics – Appreciating the people behind the scenes
This guy is on the side of the road hitch-hiking on a very dark night and in the middle of a storm. The night is rolling in and no car goes by. The storm is so strong he can barely see in front of him.
Suddenly he sees a car come towards him and stop.
The guy, without thinking, gets in the car and closes the door, only to realize that there is nobody behind the wheel. The car starts rolling forward slowly. The guy looks at the road and sees a curve coming his way. Scared, he starts to pray, begging for his life. He’s still in shock when, just before he hits the curve, a hand appears through the window and moves the wheel.
The guy, paralysed with terror, watches how the hand appears every time they get to a curve.
Gathering strength, he gets out of the car and runs to the nearest township. Wet and in shock, he goes to a bar and asks for two shots of tequila and starts telling everyone about the horrible experience he went through.
A silence envelopes them all when they realise the guy is crying and isn’t drunk.
About half an hour later, two wet and weary men walk into the same bar and one says to the other, “Look, Mfwetu, that’s the idiot that got into the car while we were pushing it down the highway.”
Moral: We sometimes take things in our lives for granted, whereas in reality it is only because people are putting in a lot of work to keep everything functioning smoothly, that we get the impression that “everything works by itself”.
During a discussion of gratitude in Garnett House, the girls started thinking about all of the “hidden ” people who support their life at the School. First they thought of obvious people who work behind the scenes to make the community run smoothly, such as the staff in the kitchen and offices.
They then started to delve more deeply and ask questions about what happened behind the scenes to keep the school functioning. Through this exploration the students identified many less obvious but very important people such as security staff, maintenance staff, and staff in the sewing room.
The students cut out and decorated “gratitude people” from stickers, and wrote messages of appreciation on them for each of the different groups of staff members. Together the Garnett girls scurried around at night under cover of darkness and placed the gratitude stickers around the school community, so that they would be a surprise in the morning.
The next evening the students thought about even more important people within the community, so more messages of gratitude were created and displayed. The feedback to the girls was really wonderful. One security man said that he had cried because he was so happy that we had noticed what he and his colleagues did for the community.
By showing gratitude to the people who work hard to keep the show going, we can generate good feeling and create a pleasant working environment.