At my job, it’s not terribly unusual to hear the swift beat of feet nearly running around a corner to handle the latest “emergency” situation or tackle the next challenge that comes in the door. Do I work at a hospital? No. Perhaps a crisis center? Far from it. I work for an advertising agency. My industry sells dreams, some more attainable than others. Or sadly even illusions of what it means to be a better, grander YOU. And though we do have soaring moments too — when we stand for things that are noble and good, blessing communities with resources or offering the broken and disenfranchised palpable hope — it’s not always the main focus of our workdays. I witness people walking quickly with intensity or distant stares, unavailable for a smile or a hello.
Our work doesn’t require us to put anybody on bypass, remove a ruptured appendicitis, or set a broken bone, but it hasn’t helped me avoid a potential physical collision on the way to my desk from the kitchen with a cup of hot tea. Where is the emergency? Though I do agree there is a time and place for the work the advertising industry does, what we do is never directly connected to saving lives.
We can’t take ourselves too seriously. It’s not just the workplace. We do this in our cars, in our conversations, the grocery line. Impatience and an inflated view of our own importance is often the culprit. Lately when I am behind someone in the store going more slowly than I like, I don’t rush past (well, not as much) but wait a bit until I can go at the pace I want. Chill for a minute and realize that life is more than the theoretical “fire” or fulfilling our momentary satisfaction.