Home > Uncategorized > Feeding the Meter – With No Reward Expected

Feeding the Meter – With No Reward Expected

January 23, 2012

My hometown of Lawrence, Kansas has a charming downtown environment and what I consider the Navy Seals of parking meter attendants.  Virtually, every time I go downtown, I feed the meter, end up 10 minutes post time expiration and pay my fine to the good people of the City.  I swear they have undercover agents pouncing on all expired meters to extract another voluntary tax out of its citizens.  Its frustrating to come back and pay a fine on top of all the change I’ve fed into the meter.  It takes time and usually puts a dark cloud on a typically fun downtown experience.

: Parking meter

The other day, my oldest son and his friends were “hanging out” downtown – and confessed this story to me:  A group of them were collectively watching fines being issued to expired cars in spaces.  For some reason, this stimulated a plot:  Find out the fine issuers route, get to the expired cars meters and feed them in advance of the attendant so no fine is issued.  He stated the parking attendant was “not happy”, but he thought their random act of kindness prevented someone they didn’t even know from a bad experience.

His confession led not only to a parental quandary on ethics, but also a professional lesson on managing.  Far too often, we do good deeds in search of public reinforcement.  When was the last time, I as a leader, simply completed a task or requirement to ensure someone else’s day goes smoothly?  Not to fill a job requirement, or to get an “atta boy” but for the completion of the task?  Go ahead, feed a meter.

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