Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Interuptions ARE my Job!

One of the most talented and dedicated educators I ever worked with was a lady named Barbara Gajewski.  I had the privilege of calling her a colleague for several years when she was the college counselor at the high school where I was an administrator.  She was outstanding at her job, so her time was in high demand.  Parents wanted to talk to her about scholarships, students needed her to write letters of recommendation, and college admissions officers were constantly calling. I know she spent many hours on the weekends writing those letters of recommendation.  I wasn't aware of a harder worker at that school. 

I will never forget the time that she gave me one of the most important bits of advice I ever received.  (She was not intentionally giving me advice; she was just relaying to me something she had learned.  But I held her in such high esteem; I took these words as advice ... and I took them to heart.)  I was sitting in her office, and she said, "Danny, I used to be so frustrated when students and teachers kept coming by my office.  I would be frustrated with the constant phone calls.  I had a lot to do and these constant interruptions were a distraction; they were keeping me from doing my job.  And then one day I had an important realization.  It dawned on me that these interruptions, WERE my job.  That person on the phone or that person at my door is important, and they deserve my attention and my energy"  I remember being struck by how poignant that insight was to me, and I have thought of that lesson many times over the years.

You're busy!  I know you have a lot of things on your to do list.  It would be so tempting to be frustrated with the constant interruptions. But never underestimate your ability to make someone's day by how you respond to those little distractions - the ones you could easily view as an annoyance.  You never know which moments with people will be the ones that they remember ... for a long time.  So embrace the interruptions.  Make the most of those unplanned, unscheduled moments. They could end up being the most important moments of your day.


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