Workers News

Now Hiring Gandalf the Grey

Team AWP, December 13, 2016

I can proudly say that I am a Lord of the Rings nerd! Ever since I was a child, I have always enjoyed the adventure of the hobbit, Frodo Baggins, and his friends’ journey to protect and save middle earth from utter destruction. Frankly, there’s just something about Hobbits, Elves, and middle earth that excites me.

Imagine my utter surprise one Wednesday morning when I got to work and opened up an email to find a Lord of the Rings reference staring me straight in the face. Wow! Never in my life did I think that my Lord of the Rings obsession and my professional work would intersect, but oh boy, was I delighted and visibly ecstatic! This was arguably the coolest thing that had happened to me since the Christmas when I got my “How to speak Elvish” book (see, I told you I was a nerd)! Receiving this email brought a weird sense of joy to my soul, and it goes to show that I work at THE BEST company ever!

How does a traffic control company and “middle earth” have anything in common?

That’s a great question, especially if you know anything about Lord of the Rings! Honestly, I initially wondered the same thing when I opened the email, however, I was quite surprised with what I discovered.

Earlier that week, I had been working hard, preparing to send out our weekly company communication. At the time, it was the dawn of a new month, which meant I needed to include a new Tuesday Touchpoint question. The Tuesday Touchpoint is my favorite part of our company communications because it gives every employee the opportunity to have their voices heard by answering our monthly question. At this point in time, the Tuesday Touchpoint question was still a very new practice, and we had yet to ask a “fun” question (the previous questions were more serious). So, our team decided to ask the “fun” question, “if a Traffic Control Employee (TCE) was a superhero, who would they be?”

As you can imagine, we received some great responses—The Hulk, Iron Man, Spiderman, Superman, Batman, etc. Our employees provided great reasoning and explanation of why these heroes fit the description, but, in my mind, these were the typical heroes that someone might anticipate—so I was not surprised to see these classic examples pour into my email inbox.

I had just arrived to work, and began by checking my email with the anticipation of seeing yet another “Hulk” or “Iron Man” email. However, to my complete surprise I received the following Tuesday Touchpoint response from one of our employees:

If I were a superhero, I would be Gandalf the Grey because with my staff and type 3 robe I stand in the way chanting ‘You Shall Not Pass!’

Mind Blown! This was pure awesomeness. Arguably, one of the best scenes from the Lord of the Rings movies is when Gandalf the Grey stands in front of the evil Balrog and says, “You shall not pass.”  This is the pinnacle moment where Gandalf faces danger and protects all of middle earth. Although Gandalf doesn’t exactly fit the typical “superhero” description of a young, muscular hero wearing skin-tight tights and a cape, he is definitely a superhero (and one of the best) nonetheless! This TCE was absolutely right! Alas, traffic control employees were very much like Gandalf the Grey.

Thank you, TCE, for not only making my day (because trust me—my day was made), but also for blowing my mind with the simple reality that you, like Gandalf, are a protector—you are a superhero. Every day that you are on the road, you are making a difference in the lives of those whom you protect. When I drive through your zone, I am counting on you to keep me safe, and I’m thankful that you do! Although we don’t live in the land of “middle earth” where we depend on Gandalf to keep us safe, your teammates, your clients, and the motoring public (people like me) depend on you to be our “Gandalf” and keep us safe. It takes a tough and special person to be a superhero, but I’m thankful that our TCEs are up to the challenge.

Like I mentioned, this is the best company to be a part of—

it’s not at every place that you get the chance to be a hero and make a difference in the lives of countless others. So, if you are reading this blog and you feel that you are bold enough to answer the call and tough enough to protect, then you should join our team! We only hire the best—we hire superheroes, and we are now hiring Gandalf the Grey.

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