My flight was scheduled for 6:15am. That was wheels up. So even though I wasn’t checking any bags, that meant an 0-dark-30 arrival time at Indianapolis International. As I wandered through the terminal with a few hundred other half-sleeping passengers, I figured I had just enough time to clear security, grab an Americano from the Delta lounge, and hit the gate before the first boarding call.
When you’re toting all your belongings in one max-sized carry-on, you have to secure storage space like your life depends on it. Boarding a plane is no time for Christian pacifism. Blessed are the aggressive, for theirs is the overhead bin. (I like to sooth my conscious by convincing myself Jesus said that somewhere).
As I plopped down in my aisle seat with my computer and bluetooth headphones, I could already sense the flight attendant was cut from a different cloth. I fly quite a bit and have seen good (and not so good) customer service before, but this guy wasn’t just doing the mechanics of the job well, he was full-on enjoying his work.
You could feel it. During the 5:45am pre-board!
I don’t know if this guy was a believer or not, but either way, his job was not just a way to make money to pay his rent and cover his living expenses. He had found true joy in his duties. I wonder why.
I Wonder Why
I don’t know what flight attendants make, but I’m guessing his joy isn’t from the size of his paycheck. I’m guessing it isn’t in the social status of serving club soda and peanuts from a rolling cart. I’m guessing it’s not from showing oblivious passengers how to plug in their seatbelts or disengage the emergency exit doors for the four-thousandth time.
Why do some people hate their jobs while others find so much joy and meaning in the exact same work? I’m sure there are a lot of factors, but one of them is undoubtedly rooted in perspective. When my work is primarily focused on me, I’m likely to find it taxing and miserable. When my work is primarily focused on honoring God and serving others (the core of the Great Commandment), even the most menial tasks find deep purpose and meaning.
Look around you and take note of those who seem to find joy in their jobs. I bet they’re focused on something different. We were made to add value to one another and the world around us, and we find joy when we embrace our work this way.