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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

An Arriva train journey from Birmingham to Wolverhampton. A choice of words and motivation.

Taking a rail journey with Arriva from Birmingham International to Wolverhampton recently, I noticed a guy emptying trash bins and generally tidying the carriage up.

It took me back forty years to when I had a succession of student summer jobs cleaning out trains for the then British Rail. This was the university of life and one certainly knew ones place, as your mop and brush signalled your cleaner status to the public. Never have I felt so lowly. So what you might ask?

Well, this 2012 guy seemed to take pride in what he was doing, going about it with purpose. His body language spoke volumes. Energy and motivation were there to be seen. We got into conversation. We shared some brief anecdotes of our mutual experience separated by the decades.

We said our goodbyes and as we walked away, I noticed some words printed on the back of his working fleece. They read “Train Presentation Team".

Funny how a few words can deliver a different perception of what a job is about. I went through the motions of the job with no thought of why it was being done and for whom. Not much commitment then.

For him the word “presentation” gave a different take on the job compared with my lowly “cleaner” description. The word “ team” would never have crossed my mind. Arriva deserve a pat on the back.

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