Thank You, Mr. Vic
By Marsh Buice
When my daughter MacKenzie says her prayers at night, I let her free flow whoever and whatever she wants to pray for. One night as she was praying, she prayed for a name that I’d never heard before: “Mr. Vic.” When I asked her who “Mr. Vic” was, she told me that he was the janitor at her school. “I’m praying for him, because he’s always nice to me,” she said.
The other day Mack forgot her lunch, so I told her I would drop it off on my way to work. With only a few minutes to spare, I rushed into her school and placed her Lunchable on the table next to the lunchroom entrance alongside of a half dozen other kids who had also forgotten their lunch. As I whirled around, the man mopping the school’s floors stopped swaying the mop from side to side and, with a big, toothy grin, asked me how was I doing. In a rush, I smiled back and told him I was doing fine and in turn, asked him how he was doing, but I didn’t have time nor the inclination to wait for his answer. As I waved goodbye to the ladies in the school’s front office it hit me — the man I had just spoken to in the hallway was Mr. Vic.
Turning around I walked back down the hallway and asked him, “Are you Mr. Vic?” he smiled and said that he was and as I shook his hand I said, “Thank you for what you do, Mr. Vic.”
Stopping his mop, he pridefully looked around and said, “Oh, I’m just trying to keep it looking good around here.”
“No,” I said, “Thank you for what you do while you’re here.” I went on to tell him how my daughter prayed for him and that I appreciated how nice he was to her.
“Sir,” he said, “I’ve been here a long time, but I’m not here for the money — I’ve been offered opportunities to work at other places for way more money, but I don’t feel like that’s the position I’m supposed to be in. Maybe one day, but right now, I’m right where I’m supposed to be. My position is right here with these kids.”
Life is a blur and then we die. It becomes a blur because we’re so focused on titles that we give no thought at all to our position in life. We’re so fixated on the words printed below our name on our business card, so hellbent on trying to schmooze with certain people, so adamant about rubbing elbows with a certain others, and are so seemingly obsessed with who we can step on, beat out, or crossover in our quest for a title, that we’ve lost sight of the most impactful part of our lives: our position.
One day you could find yourself wearing a title, if you don’t already, that you don’t care for. Maybe you’re working for someone who you feel is inferior to your skills and expertise, or perhaps you’re being asked to shoulder more responsibility with no more pay. It’s conceivable that you find yourself standing in the ashes of a once promising career — one that for years you climbed the ladder of success, literally sacrificing everything — only to find yourself today back on the bottom rung having to start all over again.
Ground Zero is where most people stall in life and ask, “Why?” “Why was I passed over for this promotion?” “Why am I the one singled out to do more work while others stand around and get the credit?” “Why did injustice prevail and ruin my life?” People who ask “Why?” park in life and become bitter.
The better question to ask is, “What do I do while I’m in this position?” If you work for someone who you feel is inferior to your level of expertise and knowledge, your job is to make them look better. You have to understand this one position is not the end game in life — unless you allow it to be. Use your vantage point to not only shore up their areas of weaknesses but also to gain a bird’s eye education into the pressures and decisions that they must make on a daily basis. If they’re poor at building relationships, you help build it for them; if they’re unorganized, you keep them on task; if they’re short sighted, you help them set the long-term vision. Stop competing for their title and begin completing their position. Not only will you earn her trust, but also you’ll build the morale of the entire store. Remember, you’re teaching those who work under you how they should think and act. If you want it done to you, do it to others; if you want it done for you, do it for others.
If you keep getting volunteered for more work, shut up and do it. It’s been said that if you want something done, give it to a busy person. Don’t think like those who want to get the most for doing the least. Learning and teaching a new skill keeps you out of your comfort zone, raises your level of expertise, and makes you more valuable. Don’t wait for something catastrophic to occur to decide that you need to raise your game. Don’t get ready; stay ready.
If you find yourself back on the bottom rung in life, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. I worked hard and lived fast until, in 2008, I lost it all. I was financially, mentally and spiritually bankrupt and had to start all over again.
With my ego stripped, my position removed, and my hope lost, I was scorched earth. But out of the ashes come new growth. It was at that time that I had to take responsibility for my life, put my feet back in the stirrups, and ride life’s horse again. I learned how to appreciate the good times and the bad; I realized that I could never be satisfied with what I already knew, and I had to lean on God to remind me that I still had more to give and much more to do. What you’re reading is my position; it is my testimony to let you know that you are not alone.
When you leave a room or leave this world, what will be said about you? Obituaries are for titles — all the awards you amassed, all of the boards you sat on and all of the ribbon-cuttingceremonies you attended will be printed on that piece of paper. But eulogies are for position. What will your eulogy be? What impact did you make for those you were around? Use your position to friend the porter who eats alone at lunch; use your position to encourage the accounting clerk who can barely pay rent and day care; use your position to develop the salesperson whose last resort is the car business.
“Why?” is not the question; “while” is. Use your position to go make an impact. They’re waiting on you.
Thank you, Mr. Vic.
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