Saturday, February 9, 2013

Perfection in Our Work

Aristotle said, "Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”

As the world spins and as I grow older, the more I’m convinced the American worker has lost pride and the ability to strive for excellence. Okay, I admit, at times I’m a perfectionist, a little over the top in being highly organized. And yes, I do have a checkbook that balances right to the penny. But the office where I write is a little messy, so that drops me from an A+ personality to an A- one, I guess.

The other evening my husband and I went to what I formerly considered a nice restaurant--and out of kindness, I will not reveal its name. The only way to describe the experience was less than stellar. It was not overcrowded. There were plenty of hired help to wait on tables, and it was early in the evening, prior to the rush hour.

So what was the problem? The glass of wine I ordered came in a dirty glass. The soup I ordered never came with the meal. In fact, it never came at all. My husband’s ordered a more expensive, more extensive seafood platter and was served the early bird special with less items on the plate. I forgot my black long-sleeved over shirt on the seat when I left, and low and behold, when my husband went back sometime later to check. . .it was still there. No one obviously checks the seat when they bus the tables which means if the seat is dirty, it will stay that way for the next customer. 

What happened in this restaurant is happening all over in America. Everyone is just trying to get it done, not caring whether it’s done right, done with pride, or with a care for excellence. Someone said not to sweat the small stuff. But isn’t it the accumulation of little things that make the total experience? Isn’t it the sum of all the little things we do every day with an eye for excellence and with a pleasurable attitude that leads to perfection in our work. . .and in our service to others? 

I believe writers have the same obligation to their audience as any other worker in any other occupation. But that’s a topic for next time.