Appreciate Your Doormen For the Important Job They Do

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doormanOK, I admit it. Even though I spend a lot of time thinking about the world of work and the jobs people do, I never thought much about the roles doormen have played in my life -- until last week, of course, when the threat of a doorman strike in New York City brought my neat little world of apartment dwelling to a temporary screeching halt.

As a native New Yorker, I have always lived in apartment buildings; and almost all of them had doormen. I guess I took that for granted and never really thought about the peace of mind having a doorman offers. This week I realized that the only time I was ever the victim of a crime was when I lived in a non-doorman building in the 80s and was mugged right in the lobby. That fact alone should be enough to get me to appreciate my doorman for a long, long time.

-- See average salaries for jobs in New York City.

Of course, doormen do more than just deter criminal acts. Their role in the building makes everyone's lives easier. This winter when New York City braved some record-breaking snow storms, I never shoveled a flake as my doorman took care of keeping the building entrance clear and safe. The doormen in my building help me with my packages, accept deliveries, make sure the trash is taken out, and just contribute to the general feel and culture of the building.

I asked Wes, one of the doormen in my building, what was going through his head when it looked like the strike was imminent. Wes and his wife had already begun to make plans. Once the prospect of a strike became real, they decided that it would be best if his wife cut her maternity leave short and returned to work earlier than planned. Another building doorman considered taking a job as a census worker to tide him over until the dust settled if a strike was called.

Wes also told me how appreciative people have been since the strike was settled. Many tenants have told him how happy they are to see him at his front post. Some even checked in with him for updates during those tense late hours before the strike was settled.

As I wrapped up my conversation with Wes, a neighbor with limited mobility came down to the lobby. Without saying anything, Wes took her keys and got her mail for her. I guess it's part of their daily routine; there was a certain beauty and comfort in the way he took care of her without either of them uttering a word.

You know the saying -- often we don't appreciate people until they are gone. I think the doorman strike was a great reminder of how important it is to appreciate everyone for the work they do and the impact they have on our lives each and every day.

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