Good Enough Usually Isn’t
Taking Pride In Your Work
Good enough! Are those words you live by? Or, do you have enough pride in your work that just the thought of putting out less than your best work actually makes you very uncomfortable? Is ‘good enough’ a mindset that is completely unacceptable to you?
Over the years I’ve found that the ‘good enough’ mentality has become prevalent in modern society. The majority do just enough to get by. Their work, no matter what it consists of, is just okay. It’s acceptable and nothing more. That’s fine, I suppose, if you don’t care about standing out from the masses as a true artist, craftsman, nurse, housekeeper, plumber, lawyer, whatever you happen to be. But here’s the thing…customers DO care. Otherwise, why would Yelp, Angie’s List, or other similar rating services have popped up like wildfire? Go on Amazon and nearly every product there has been rated and reviewed.
It used to actually take work to find a company’s ratings. And the only real service out there was the Better Business Bureau. But these days, the buying public has taken things into their own hands and they aren’t shy about it. If you do stellar work, they’ll rave about you. If you do shoddy work, they’ll rip you a new one. In either case, the review is out there for everyone to see.
Still think good enough is good enough? Still don’t see the importance in taking pride in your work?
The only time when I would maybe be satisfied with ‘good enough’ is my routine weekly housekeeping. Now mind you, we have a housekeeper that comes every other week. In between her visits, I will spot clean here and there. And yes, what I do is good enough until her next visit. But work that I do for others, my artwork in particular? There is no such thing as good enough. If I don’t have pride in the art that I create, then it doesn’t go out into anybody’s hands.
Taking pride in your work does not mean arrogant pride. But rather, do the job and do it well. Do it so well that people have no room to complain. Case in point (and yes, I’m relating another non-art experience here)… I recently went through the worst scenario with the good ol’ USPS. This isn’t the first experience I’ve had with our postal service and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but this one is a topper and happens to be the most recent.
Recently, with my Wonder Woman superhuman strength, I broke our mailbox key off in the lock of our mailbox. It was a total freak thing. I didn’t have to crank the key at all. It just came off in my hand. So, I drove down to the local post office, paid the $85 fee to have the lock fixed (yes, $85!!), and put a hold on our delivery so the mailman wouldn’t keep trying to cram mail into the box. The woman at the window assured me it would take 1–3 business days, but to fill out the hold card for a whole week, just in case. This was a Tuesday.
In the meantime, I was going to the post office daily after work to pick up our mail. By the third day, a different woman goes back to check on our mail and comes back with the mail and the hold card and says that delivery is going to be resumed. I asked why if the box hadn’t been fixed yet. She just shrugged, pushed the card towards me, and said, “I dunno. But mail delivery will resume.” She totally brushed me off. Confused, I went home and thought maybe they had fixed the box after all. Wrong. I checked the box and could see from a distance that the broken key was still jammed in the lock.
Doesn’t Anybody Give a Rat’s Ass Anymore?
The following day I went back and filled out another card to hold our mail. Now it’s Saturday. I spoke with the first woman again, told her what happened, she gave me a look like ‘what in the hell was her co-worker thinking’, she got on the phone and was able to catch the driver who had just finished cramming more mail into our box. She offered to call me when he returned, but it wouldn’t be until after they closed. She assured me that I could go around back and knock and they’d give me my mail. And, I was in fact able to do just that.
Monday I was back to pick up that day’s mail. They told me the locksmith would be out the following day to fix the lock and to come back to the post office to pick up the new keys. Tuesday I picked up that day’s mail and our new keys. I went back home to test out the keys and found myself staring at our lock with the key still jammed inside. But looking down at the box underneath ours, I notice that they have a shiny new lock. I heaved a frustrated sigh and tried my key in their lock. No surprise that it opened the box, right? Our box is #6. They “fixed” #7.
I got on the phone immediately and started ranting to the person at the post office. They put me through to the manager who asked what address is on the box they fixed. I explained that it’s a box number not an address. I told him our box number and the number of the wrong box. And, I also pointed out that now two residents were unable to get their mail. He told me the locksmith was already gone for the day, but maybe tomorrow he’d be able to go back out. He wasn’t.
Oh, It Gets Better…
So there I am, back at the post office to continue picking up mail, but there was none. Since the lock was supposedly fixed, they resumed delivery again. This time though, the person helping me brought out the Xerox copy of the receipt and my ID that they took on my initial visit. On the copy was written, “Box #4.” Yep. You got that right. The locksmith didn’t even fix the wrong box right!
With all the patience I could muster, I picked up the pen on the counter, scratched off 4 and wrote 6. The postal worker looked at me and shook his head and with a Sharpie wrote 6 and underlined it. At this point, they all knew who I was and why I was there. Most of them had the decency to look embarrassed. This time, the guy asked if it was okay if the locksmith left the keys under our doormat and I agreed. They probably didn’t want to have to see me anymore.
And, the coup de gras…
The following day after work, I did indeed find keys under our doormat, and was pleasantly surprised that the right box had been fixed and I was finally able to get into our mailbox. That’s when I noticed the long gold chain hanging from the back of the mail box. I walked around to the back and saw the master key hanging out of the back of the box. The door was open and I basically had access to everyone’s mail. Awesome.
I closed the back, locked it, put the key in my pocket, and headed back to the post office to make sure there was no more mail sitting in their office. They watched with no small amount of dread in their eyes as I approached the counter. I had to laugh. I assured them the right box had been fixed and I was just there to pick up any remaining mail left from the hold. “Oh and by the way, would you like this back?” I asked dangling the key on the long gold chain.
When It Comes To Your Work, Good Enough Usually Isn’t
Talk about embarrassed! For one guy’s incompetence and good enough attitude (the locksmith), another woman not wanting to be bothered with holding my mail, the manager who wrote the wrong box number when I clearly said “six” (sounds nothing like “four”), and an absent-minded mail carrier who leaves master keys lying around, the entire post office suffered my daily visits and frustration. AND throughout the whole ordeal, I had made it a conscious point to speak loudly enough at each visit that everyone in line could hear what my issue was. I was never obnoxious and I could never even be labeled as irate (although I certainly had the right to be).
The whole experience led me to think that if any of them even had the smallest amount of pride in their work, two weeks’ worth of an extra chore and frustration on my part and embarrassment on the post office’s part could have been avoided. Is nobody on the planet in the habit of taking pride in their work anymore? This experience has certainly made me wonder.
As an artist, I have a portfolio of my work. Most of us do. Our best work goes into them. Shining examples of what we’re capable of. People who want to hire us, generally do so with our portfolios in mind. They’ve seen your work and know what you can do. Do you really have the audacity to give them something that’s just good enough? Their money is as hard earned as yours is…IF you’re taking pride in your work. Just something to think about…