In the past few weeks I’ve suddenly become more and more aware of people who wear various badges on their uniforms. For some people it’s kind of compulsory, while for others they do it simply to make a statement.
Even when you were younger, you probably savoured the thought of earning a school badge, or even a scout one. It’s something that is normally associated with pride and achievement. Well, that’s if you believe in what you wear on your chest. Let’s start with the compulsory badge wearing types. About a week ago, I flew back home from my last business trip of the year. I was naturally very excited and made sure that I was on time at the check in, to not only get a good seat, but also to relax and unwind.
It was just short of 8pm and I walked up to the counters of the national carrier where 7 staff awaited the hundred or so passengers waiting to check in. Within a few seconds, we were left with only three staff, as the other four simply got up and went home. A minute later, another two simply closed up and left. By now, we were shocked and confused.
There were at least fifty more passengers to check in, and there was this one guy, sweating and taking abuse from all angles as he tried to process everyone before the gates closed. I decided to run over to the one lady who had left, and confronted her about the situation. I immediately read on her badge that she was a “customer service agent.” I thought I was bound to be in good hands. After all, she was there to provide customer service. How wrong was I? She proceeded to give me a stern lecture about her shift finishing at 8pm, and that she was going home, and didn’t care if we complained to management.
I had no words for her. I simply gave her my Clint Eastwood stare, turned after desperately wanting to spit some tobacco out my mouth, and sheepishly walked back to my place in the queue. I was a broken man. My faith in this country’s ability to wow people with their warmth and friendliness was instantly shattered. Being an optimist I allowed that incident to only affect me for about three and a half minutes.
And luckily my faith was restored by the most amazing cabin crew who made the flight an enjoyable one. But I kept thinking back. How could anyone be prepared to pin a badge on their chest and not believe in what it stood for. Sometimes, the expectation that is placed on you, when you carry that message is huge. When it is a compulsory thing, you have to be so sure you can live up to it.
Otherwise, rather quit the job and move somewhere else. There is one company that compels staff to where a badge stating, “We try harder.” Every one of those staff are literally asked by the executive team if they can live up to that promise. Only when they “sign up” are they considered to be “licensed” to be a brand ambassador of the company. If they really cannot accept the terms, they are encouraged to make the choice of changing, or moving on. How many of us would ever be prepared to consider this? Think about it.
In whatever job you are in now. Have you thought about what it is your company is asking you to stand for? Can you live up to that, or are you just occupying a job for the sake of a salary? You see, other badge wearers make statements. World Aids Day seems to bring out the ribbon wearers. Some people wear wrist bands to support a cause. Other people wear mood pins. These have different colours that indicate what mood you are feeling on any particular day. It’s a statement. And what it should be is a sign of something you feel deep down.
I’d like to know if any of you have ever thought of what badge you would wear for your own values and purpose in life. What would your badge look like? Would it be bold and colourful, meaningful and thoughtful? Or would it be cynical and pessimistic? Would you wear it each day and be proud? Would you feel compelled to want to live up to the message? Would you feel inspired to show others and to spread the word? I know these questions could be unusual for you, but when you think about it. Either you are going to make a statement and believe in it. Or you are simply wearing someone else’s badge and will never live up to that expectation. Which are you?
HOW TO WEAR A BADGE WITH PRIDE
- Understand your purpose by taking note of the things you feel compelled to do.
- What dreams and aspirations do you constantly think about?
- What actions do your dreams inspire you to want to carry out?
- What statement does your purpose scream out?
- Write that statement down. Read it each day, and try and live your day with that in mind.