Empowerment at the Post Office
Grocery store clerk, postal clerk, ticket taker at the movie theater, check-out at Walgreen’s, the clerks are everywhere, usually taking our payments with a smile and an automatic “Thank-you.” And we respond with a similarly mindless “You’re welcome.”
But supposing we respond with true appreciation for the service rendered. A few days ago, in the Santa Cruz post office, I heard a man thanking the postal clerk. “Thank you for taking care of my package with such great care and so quickly. I really appreciate your service.” I could hear the warm sincerity in his voice. If you were the clerk, wouldn’t you feel a rush of energy in response? He was noticing her, he was appreciating her skill, he was giving her respect and credit for the work she was doing.
This is empowerment. This is a simple way we can encourage and support our friends and neighbors in jobs which seem unimportant but which are actually essential to our functioning as a society. We must campaign for a living wage, which is actually more than $15 per hour, but we can also recognize their contribution to our well-being, their important service to our community, and we can tell them so! We don’t have to wait for legislation to do this.
At my current post office in Oakland, CA, there is a clerk who does empowerment in reverse. She empowers the customer. She spots me as soon as I step in the door and calls out my name in a very loud voice, “HI, DOROTHY!!! It’s nice to see you!” This, even though I seldom make an appearance at the post office. I always try to get in line for her window because she radiates a powerful energetic presence.
We can do the same. We can cut through someone’s fatigue, depression, or discouragement with an empowering greeting and sincere appreciation, letting them know we see them, we respect them, and we love them.
As an exercise, I am empowering every person who helps me in any way by telling them what they did, how it helped me, and how I feel about it. Merely saying “Thank you,” is not enough.
Recommended reading: The Gospel of Thomas: The Gnostic Wisdom of Jesus, translation from the Coptic and commentary by Jean-Yves Leloup.