Uncle J

Butcher counter in Grocery store in New Orlean...

Butcher counter in Grocery store in New Orleans, 2008. (Langenstein’s, Uptown) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My Uncle J has suffered from agoraphobia for his whole life BUT he has a lot of great qualities.

In spite of his disability he has worked for the same grocery chain for around 25 years.  He has made himself so valuable to his company, that they employ him still and he is turning 86 next week!

One reason he is so valuable is he is an expert butcher, having been a butcher for his entire adult life.

Another, probably more important reason he is valued is because he knows everyone in town by name.  Ok, not everyone but a lot of people.  He is super friendly and genuinely cares about people.  So his grocery store gets an expert butcher AND Walmart greeter all in one.

He was married to my aunt for over 50 years and since she passed away a couple of years ago, he has never lacked for female attention.  Did I mention he’s almost 86!!!

My takeaways from Uncle J’s life?

1.  Become an expert at something and you have a chance of being valued somewhere.  Doing a half-assed job because you think a job is beneath you gets you nowhere fast.  If you need a job, take a job and have a good attitude.  I KNOW it’s hard sometimes but we’re talking about survival here!

2.  Be a people person.  Learn people’s names and remember things about them.  Take notes if you need to and if it’s practical to do so to help you remember.  Become the man or woman people look forward to seeing.

I am reminded of certain teachers, having been accused of wrongdoing having tons of students and parents come to their aid with an outpouring of support.  We can all use support from time to time.  Build your people network by being the best man or woman you can be.

If you can’t muster any good feeling about your job, do what a boss of mine advised me to do a few years ago.  Become an actor or actress.  When you are at work, you are at the “Happiest Place on Earth”.

Is this easy?  No, especially for those of us who don’t have a naturally sunny disposition.  Can it be done?  Yes.  What’s the alternative?


2 thoughts on “Uncle J

  1. Ryu

    Totally. One has to specialize. There’s just too much competition out there to be a generalist. It’s all about people. Everyone would rather buy from a friend or hire a friend. We can’t control circumstances but we can control our response to it. It’s pretty easy to change one’s mind with practice.

  2. Pingback: Specialization-86 Year Old German Gymnast Johanna Quaas! | Aryan Street

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