A Change in Perspective Goes a Long Way
a scene from seinfeld
The other day I saw somebody at the farmers’ market a block away from work. She looked familiar. I could swear I had seen her before but I just couldn’t figure out where. It was only when she smiled that a feeling of deja vu came over me. She works as a waitress at the Japanese restaurant close by.
I didn’t recognize her at first because she wasn’t in uniform. Without her uniform, she appeared to look like a different person altogether. That she recognized me right away could be attributed to the fact that I was dressed in my usual attire, a white shirt, khaki pants, and a security badge hanging like a chain on my neck. If I were in a U.S. marine uniform, I think, she would have a hard time recognizing me.
Perhaps you’re wondering, what’s the point of me saying this? Well, it just occurs to me that we are often guilty of typecasting. Once we identify somebody as a waitress, for example, it almost becomes impossible for us to perceive her in any other role. As result, we fail to see the real person behind the uniform.
We could see her as a waitress, but it doesn’t mean that waiting table defines her life. For all we know, she could be an aspiring actress, a novelist, or a loving wife and mother.
The same could be said of our office mates, who, for what they have done or not done, haven’t lived up to our ‘high’ standards. You know who they are. In the spirit of political correctness, I’d rather not mention them here.
Perhaps a change in perspective can give us an opportunity to witness the transformation of our office mates into something other than the personalities they exhibit at work. On vacation and out of the office, we can see them in roles that we can only imagine, such as father, mother, son, daughter, grand son, grand daughter, boyfriend, girlfriend, lover, uncle, aunt, civic volunteer, or even choir member. And hopefully, that discovery would lead to a new beginning and better understanding in the office.