Betty, who is a bit of a perfectionist about cleaning, is wildly enthusiastic. She says she has never seen anyone who is so meticulous and so professional about her work.
Then, just a few days ago, Betty visited a new dentist in our area. After 75 minutes, I called to make sure she was OK, that there hadn't been some problem during her checkup and cleaning. More than an hour and a half later she returned, singing the dentist's praises. He had been more thorough during the rather mundane task of cleaning her teeth and reviewing a full set of x-rays than any dentist she had ever encountered.
Assuming that all that extra time and effort would come with a big bill, I was flabbergasted to learn that he had charged 50% less than the dentist we had been seeing (and pleased with) for years. Betty says he really cared about her dental health and wanted to do the best possible job he could.
That got me to thinking about something that we seem to have lost in our speeded-up, technological world: pride in doing a job well. Too often a job is finished, but only to an "acceptable" degree. A real sense of giving more than expected is missing, not necessarily from fear of losing a job or facing criticism, but from a lack of pride in the task.
The house cleaner and dentist are two top-of-mind, fresh examples for me, and that is a little sad. The pride in what these two folks do should not prompt a blog post, it should be what happens all the time. Whether it is getting a car repaired, a house painted, a lawn cut, a washing machine fixed, a doctor visited, or a house cleaned, pride in a job well done should be common.
Teaching a Sunday School class, serving a meal at the homeless shelter, completing a homework assignment, cooking a meal for friends - all can be done with a sense of pride in a job done well, or as Mary Poppins said in the 1964 movie, "a job that is well begun is half-done."
Pride in doing something, anything well, is part of a satisfying journey that I can rededicate myself to trying to achieve.