Use your turn signal

Originally posted on 10/5/17.

Having lived in New Orleans and Houston, I believe I know a few things about driving. Considering that regardless of what state or city I am in, very few people use their turn signal. The most common offenders are those who drive expensive cars, but I’ve seen the lowly subcompacts do the same. Why? Well, with the internet, there is a plethora of information regarding people using common sense which is generally accompanied by a demeaning video on why people who don’t use them are of a lower intellect or come from money. I think that a turn signal is a direct indicator of who you are in a service role.

When I’m in traffic, and someone tries to speed up to pass me from the right (regardless of what lane I occupy), they generally don’t indicate their intent to pass me aside from behaviors I have noticed over time. These are the same behaviors you would see of someone in a service position that does not belong: focused on themselves, only seeking the perceived path of least resistance, never wary of how their actions affect the others around them. And if that person is called out for their transgressions, they become irritated and angry, self-justified even. I’ve seen this in the workplace as well, employees who step on toes, stealing credit, never satisfied with the work they perform, seemingly oblivious to their actions and how their co-workers have been affected. And somehow, these people are in positions to be of service!

For example: I worked retail for 5 years in a sales and technical position with a handful of others. Two of the team members who were not extremely technical did not appreciate that management had asked that they pull their own weight and start performing according to our standards and documented processes. The employees crafted a plan to try and place the manager in a painful position, even though his record with the company was spotless. Once the claim was made, upper management swiftly determined the claims were unfounded, but the damage was done. With his reputation smeared, he moved on to another position, fortunately in a better environment and further up the chain.

What these employees failed to realize is that the effects of their claims were not just limited to the one individual. The entire department changed. New management was assigned, processes that worked were ousted, employee morale went down. The new manager knew of the base processes, but had no training in our department, making it difficult to have a backup that could perform the more technical tasks. He was also manager of another department, which meant splitting time and limiting his abilities further. Not only did the team collapse under this sudden shift, but so did our customer satisfaction.

This example is similar to the turn signal mentioned in the heading of this post. When veering into a lane without signaling, you are giving no indication of intent or direction. Your concerns are purely selfish in that you need to get where you are going and damn the consequences. What you don’t notice is the person behind you slams into the car you were behind, setting off a chain reaction, involving multiple people and vehicles. Now the main lanes of the highway are stopped. Police cannot get through, neither can the wreckers. With one swift and uncaring action, you have affected a whole group of people and have no idea that you were the cause.

It is this blind approach to life where taking a moment to think about your actions is no longer a common practice. People tweet whatever bile spews forth from their mouths, only to delete the tweets later and make halfhearted apologies. Whole groups of people get involved in a biased Facebook post, and friends who have known each other forever are split by the polarizing discussion, seeking to prove their way is the right way. Negative reviews are left for businesses people don’t even live close enough to visit only so they can expel their twisted thoughts and behaviors in a self-righteous manner. I believe all of these people don’t use turn signals and have the best intentions. But we all know what road you travel when you only have good intentions…

When you use a blinker, you are making contact with other people. You indicate what your intentions are and go with them. You take action that is equal to the intent you show. And what’s more, you show that you care about the external environs. You are aware of your surroundings and the reality of your actions. It is our time to change this world and the focus of it’s people. Show people where you are going, and when you do, lead them. Teach others what it means to be of service to others, what they can do to make a real difference in this world. I’m not saying preach from the highest mountains, but use your actions to show what good people do.

Be good to each other, and use your damn turn signal.


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