Intrinsically Valuable?

Some things just seem to have automatic value.

Babies. Nature. Family Relationships.

We recognize that they should be recognized, loved, cared for. We put time, energy, and resources into protecting and caring for them so that we can appreciate and enjoy them.

Other things seem to have little value.

Dead end jobs. Commuting. Strangers on the bench beside us.

We rush through and by all this. No time to invest in someone we’ll never see again. No reason to have a good attitude about a job we hate and would love to leave. And commuting? What a time sucking waste. We don’t need to go into that.


These past few weeks at work, I have been blessed and intrigued by a woman I interact with almost daily. We are both employed in the same building, but we have very different positions. I am full time, with much better pay. She is part time, with less pay. Many might see her job as being menial, something an unskilled person could do. I have a college degree and experience that qualified me for mine.

This woman though – she works hard. She takes pride in her job. She radiates compassion and care for every single person, minimum wage or salaried, that she comes into contact with. If you need help – she’s on it. If you have a question – she’ll figure it out. If you make a request – consider it done. Done with a smile, and her full attention. Faithfully completed to the best of her abilities, a job you can count on completely. If there was a way to go above and beyond, she found it and did it.

It would be easy, in her position, to write off those little mundane tasks. To use her seniority in the position to make the “new” people do the grunt work. To be sour with demanding customers and bosses who always want everything done yesterday. To write off what some people see as an insignificant service industry job as just a mind numbing way to make a few bucks, and to avoid any sort of personal investment.

But what she chose instead of “easy” is beautiful. It affects everyone who comes into contact with her. She has taken something – her job – that many would see as lowly and a thing to run from as fast as possible, and turned it into a daily act of meaning.

Instead of rejecting something not seen as intrinsically valuable, she chose to instill value into it. Every day, when she pours out the best of who she is, she makes it valuable. And that value spills over. It makes her co-workers feel valued. It makes her bosses value her. And it makes me stop, take a moment, and realize there are some overlooked areas in my life that could use a little value too.

Maybe I’m just the person to bring it.


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