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Senior Correspondent

You can always tell when someone enjoys their work. It's pretty hard to hide. I get a real kick out of being around those people. Their positive energy seems to spill over onto others. They not only know how to do what they do well but they know how to be of service.

In an economy where jobs are so darned hard to come by, it amazes me how many people seem to be less appreciative of their job. I call it the "out of body" syndrome. Their body makes it to work, but their mind is apparently hanging out somewhere else. And if you happen to need something from one of these people, don't be expecting too much. They don't like going out of their way and they will probably let you know about it. This too can be contagious. And it's a very costly epidemic, indeed.

I've recently had the pleasure of experiencing several positive and productive encounters with people who were truly tuned into their work and giving it 100 percent. They seemed to appreciate their job, and it showed.

My first adventure was near Spotsylvania, Virginia, at a little place called Todd's Tavern where I met JoAnn and Laura Lee. My brother, Joe, took me there for a fried bologna sandwich, after a bicycling trip through some beautiful Virginia countryside. Besides being located near a historical Civil War battlefield, Todd's Tavern is known for its southern hospitality. JoAnn and Laura Lee make locals and folks from all parts feel extremely welcome as they work the sandwich counter. Cutting up with each other and the customers, they make your visit to Todd's Tavern a real down-home experience. Laura Lee told me it was the best job she'd ever had. She sure seemed to love her work, and her customers loved her. Oh, and the fried bologna sandwich and homemade deviled eggs…..epic.  

Back home, I had the pleasure of touring our local Sheltered Workshop. Employees are individuals who have some type of disability, but are able to work. From all appearances, each employee was extremely happy and proud to be there. On a scale of one to 10, employee engagement there must be at least a 12.

Working with faculty and staff at East Central College recently gave us insight into their passion for teaching and their commitment to helping students grow. Collaborating with community leaders, these professional educators are excited and energized about the future. Sure glad their energy is rubbing off on folks!

"Feet Love Us" is the service motto for Brown's Enterprises, a third generation family footwear business. My cousin, Anne, and I decided to do a little shoe shopping on her recent visit from Chicago. It turns out she has very fussy feet, and typically has to try on 40 or 50 pair of shoes to get a good fit. Ann, the shoe fitting specialist at Brown's went into problem solving mode giving my cousin 100 percent of her attention. After trying on only eight or 10 pair of shoes, cousin Anne's feet found just what they were looking for. And, I enjoyed watching professionalism and great customer service in action at Brown's, which is why I frequently take our out of town guests there. Check them out at www.BrownsCatalog.com.

And, I can't wrap this up without giving a shout out to Fort Ming. John and Michelle Ming's vision, creativity, heart and soul are behind this unique venue. Their passion for old log homes is what Fort Ming is all about. They disassemble old log homes from the heart of Missouri, and reassemble them at Fort Ming. They have recreated a log home settlement for guests to enjoy. If you're looking for a unique place for a reunion, a retreat, or just an amazing weekend with amazing people who love what they do, contact John and Michelle at jcming@fidnet.com.

By definition, work is meant to be work. How we relate to our work is 100 percent up to us. At its best, work gives us a sense of purpose and an opportunity to serve others. Appreciate all that your job gives you and it will appreciate you back.

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