In the olden days, the only way to send information to a large number of people, such as prospective students or alumni, was snail mail. If you had a big budget, you could pay a “mailing house” to do all the work. If you had a really big budget, you could send it all first class. But for most of us in higher education, those were luxuries. We were experts in a process called “bulk mailing”.
For those of you who never had the pleasure of participating in the process, it went something like this:
1. Print several thousand copies of letter or brochure;
2a. For letters, stuff them into several thousand envelopes and seal them;
2b. For brochures, stick on several thousand address labels and little tabs to keep them from opening;
3. Put these several thousand items in zip code order in long mail trays;
4. Carry long mail trays to campus post office and don’t drop the trays!
One afternoon, when I was Director of Alumni Services/Assistant Director of Development for McMurry University (then College), I was working with a number of other staff stuffing envelopes (see step 2a). In walked an Associate Director for Development. He looked at all the work going on and commented, “Well, look at you, Gage. You do menial labor, too,” and walked on out, leaving me nonplussed and unable to think of an appropriate response to him or to the staff members I was working with.
I’ve never forgotten that incident and the messages it conveyed on many levels to each of us in that room working on that tedious, but important, task. Which brings me to my point today – the other side of the coin from the last newsletter. In the last newsletter, I made the point that we should all be aware of the positional leaders of our university. This week, I write to make the point that everyone working at this university contributes to the whole. We need to value that work even, or perhaps most especially, when it is work we’d rather not do on a regular basis. We show that we value all work when we chip in if needed, when we say thank you, or when we know the names of the people we depend on for the functioning of our workplace.
Now, here’s this week’s quiz:
1. Who do you need to thank for their good work?
2. Where can you lend a hand to help someone accomplish a “tedious, but important, task”?
3. Whose name do you need to learn?
4. How can you help someone be successful today?
5. Have you said or done something that conveys a message about the value of someone else’s work? Was it a helpful or hurtful message?
6. What can you do to support the work of Thank You Rowdy: recognizing and appreciating work done well?