The Stapler Story

Here is a real life story that happened and relates to Social Media. It is a tale of two maintenance men. The first maintenance man was hired by a school to empty wastepaper baskets, buff the floors of the classroom, maintain restrooms and clean up after student activities. He learned early on, without formal instruction that his job was to provide solutions for the teachers and he was servicing. He went to work every day and fulfilled his duty as a maintenance man cleaning the classrooms, bathrooms, workshop, clearing weeds, planting flowers, hooking up with the hardware store, etc. One day, he had an accident. He fell and broke his shoulder. He had to be taken to the emergency room and from that day, a lot changed for him. He was unable to do the physical demands of his job so he was suddenly and surprisingly out of work. He had a great boss who appreciated his contribution as an employee and seemed to be only concerned with helping him get through the predicament and eventually get back to work.

His boss had a problem. He just lost his maintenance man and needed to find a solution. The boss hired a man to come in on a part time basis to keep everything afloat until the maintenance man could get back into action. Two months pass and the maintenance guy spends a lot of his time partly depressed because he has fears about losing his job and the maintenance man rehabilitates. He gets the care he needs and begins to participate in physical therapy. He focuses on getting back to “normal.” He gets a clearance from his doctor and goes back to work on a beautiful warm Spring Monday.

The teachers and the principal are appreciative about his return. He is happy to return and acknowledges that the temporary replacement man, who was also on the grounds that day, had cleaned up the workshop and it appeared that he had done an excellent job! As the maintenance man and his boss were scouting around the facility, the maintenance man noticed that one of the teachers had gathered 3 broken staplers and placed them on a counter with a note that read, “Please fix these staplers.” The maintenance man picked one of them up and quickly repaired it and placed it back in its place near the note.

Approximately 20 minutes later, the teacher who had left the staplers came up to the maintenance man and gave him a big hug and thanked him for fixing the stapler! Later, he was in the workshop and heard the temporary man mumble, “I don’t have time to fix stupid staplers!”

The teachers and principal appreciated the fact that the temporary man cleaned up and did a nice job, but he missed the boat. The teachers wanted solutions for their daily woes at work. The temporary man didn’t recognize that his main job is not really about “cleaning” but offering solutions to the staff.

The moral of the story?

You can do spend a lot of energy doing frivolous activities which are pretty and look good, but if you don’t hit the target of your main purpose, people really don’t care. They don’t care if your blog is pretty, or awesome, or user friendly. Sure all of that is a nice touch, but it boils down to who you are and the type of relationship you have established with a person. Would you rather be the guy with the pretty workshop or the one that gets the hug?

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