Labor of Love

laborMy wife and I went to a local furniture store to buy a new sofa on Labor Day. A very professional and friendly saleswoman came up when we walked in, introduced herself and after we told her we were just looking, let us know she would be available for any questions. Very low key and courteous – “Nice”, I thought, “Great way to welcome us.”

Once we found a sofa we liked, we starting working with her on fabric choices and an accompanying loveseat. She was knowledgeable, helpful and clearly passionate about her work. Her excitement about some of her recommendations, which were good ones, was infectious.

We settled on the pieces and fabrics and went up to the main desk to finalize the purchase. There were 2 other equally friendly women there who engaged in a friendly banter with her and with us. One of the women, to our amazement, was 80 years old, though she didn’t look it, and she told us she had been in the furniture business since she was 16. She related how when she started in the business she worked on some of the furniture manufacturing equipment after school at 50 cents and hour and how happy she was to have that and all her subsequent jobs.

We left the store excited about our purchase and happy to have been able to give the store the business. It had become more than just about buying furniture. It was an opportunity to commune with others in the age old practice of buying and selling – and it was a fun and rewarding experience.

In thinking about our little adventure, I realized that, in the culture at the store and the mindset of the saleswomen, there was a lesson there for my in-house team and me. First, passion is a must and it’s contagious – if we love what we do it makes not only for great work but great relationships with clients, peers and managers. Second, good rapport with our peers spills over into our relationships with our clients, they’ll respond to the positive vibe it generates and it makes work that much more fun. Third, humility and gratitude for being able to do what we love adds a richness to our careers that makes what we do not just a job but a calling.

As Confucious said (I’m not kidding here),“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

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