The Power of Initiative: An Observation from my Recent Trip to Seattle

A couple of weeks ago, I presented three psychopharmacology seminars in the Spokane/Seattle area. On the day of my departure from Seattle, a misty rain was falling making for a slow go to the airport. After dropping off the rental car, I scurried into the main terminal arriving at the security checkpoint 45 minutes prior to my flight. There were at least a hundred people ahead of me, and my Seattle to Denver flight was on time. If I made it to the gate, it was going to be very close.

As I scanned the line ahead of me, I noticed a TSA official with an infectious smile passing out plastic bags to the throng of travelers, anxious as I was, to make it through the metal detector as quickly as possible. As he worked the line, this fellow repeatedly kept saying “we’re here to serve you, and to make this process as smooth as possible. Kindly remove all metal objects and place them in these bags.” I’ve traveled through every major airport in the country and had never seen this done before. Well, belts came off, jewelry was unfastened and change was removed from pockets. His call to action assisted in moving a hundred-plus people through security in under 20 minutes.

I mentioned the expediency with which this happened to another TSA official. He in turn answered, “oh, that’s because of Joel, he does this everyday on his break. It’s certainly not in any of our job descriptions.”

I so admire people whose self-imposed initiative drives them to perform above and beyond what their jobs merely require. In a culture that increasingly touts an attitude of  “that’s not my job,” this man’s actions were indeed most refreshing to witness.

Joseph Wegmann, R.Ph., LCSW is a licensed clinical pharmacist and a clinical social worker with more than thirty years of experience in the field of psychopharmacology. His diverse professional background in psychopharmacology and counseling affords him a unique perspective on medication management issues. In addition to consulting with numerous psychiatric facilities, he has presented psychopharmacology seminars to thousands of clinicians in 46 states.

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  1. deb Deborah Davis says:

    I really love this story! So good to hear “positive” customer service examples.

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