These are antique printing elements, each ‘letter’ being put in a space with other ‘letters’ to create text which is then printed on paper. These are what were utilized to print newspaper, magazines, flyers, all sorts of stuff back in the day. It was someone’s job to pick up each piece and put it in line correctly to spell out the text; they were called letter press operators. As printing methods advanced and automated, the job of operator eventually disappeared.
When I think about all the ideas, words, phrases, text that ran across the letter press operator’s station, they were really the first to know anything that was happening in the world. It was as a result of their hard work that the world saw the spread of ideas, concepts, controversy, political ideology, and progress. The more people read the more they understood, the more letters printed the more people thought and began to imagine for themselves. The faster the letter press operator worked the faster the world began to learn, grow and become the place we know it to be today.
Thinking about this person’s job I was reminded that people need to find meaning in what they do and how they do it. I’m sure some operators simply placed the letters, spell checked and moved on. Their goal was to do the job and go home. There were some operators who understood the overall picture their words were trying to paint for the reader and they took pride in informing their community. Still other operators found passion and enthusiasm knowing that the words they printed would span the globe, change people, and inform the world. Same job, three different perspectives on the importance of doing it.
As this year draws to a close maybe this is a great time to reflect on the importance of doing what do you each day. How does what you do, what you produce, how you serve change the lives of those around you? How can you change your perspective so that you can see meaning and value in how you invest your time? How does your perspective motivate you, drive you, or leave you feeling flat? It’s all in how you look at it that determines how what you do matters in your world, the bigger the picture the greater the passion in how you spend your time.