“Routine is the Enemy”

There is a quote that I like from Robert Egger’s book, “Begging for Change.” It reads like these: “Routine is the enemy.” This quote strikes me because with the work that we all do at Campus Kitchen, it is not too hard to get bored with the routines that we have to do. When you have to go to the same place twice a week or meet the same group of kids every week, boredom can easily hit you. When it does, then serving others has lost its meaning.

I, for one, believe that one of the most important things in helping others lies on how one is able to build a relationship with the people that one serves. By doing so, I know how they feel, what are their needs, etc. In other words, through the relation that I have with the people that I serve, I can put myself in their shoes. What this allows me is to better appreciate the work that I do and the extent of it. Thus, when boredom hits, helping others loses its essence. It will only make one does the work out of necessity.

Having to do the same routine of works for eight weeks could easily lead me to dullness. I must admit, I did experience that for some time, especially in the middle of internship. I was disinterested to relate with the clients and grew tired because of the same trips that I had to make. I close myself to those who I served. This was not something that I did not see coming. In the beginning of the internship, just like a kid who just found a new toy, I was so fired up with all the tasks that I needed to do. At that point, though, I also realized that it would be pretty hard to keep the same level of excitement throughout the internship. At one point or another, I probably would come to the point where I would get bored—surely enough it was true.

Then, I encountered Egger’s quote. He talks about it in the context that it is important for leaders to create new leaders in youth and “break the routine” of complacency. This quote for me matters more in a sense of, as I mentioned before, having to do the same thing for a long period of time. There is another point that Egger mentions that also alludes to me: the importance of passion. That was when I realized that the work that I did this summer was not about me, but it was about the people that I serve. Thus, it was important to find a way to not get bored. The main solution that I found to be the most helpful was to open myself to new experience throughout the summer. For instance, I talked to new clients whenever I was able to do so and tried to find one new thing every day of the internship. During the cooking shift, I tried to do new things—I made a pasta sauce for the first time in my life. Thus, what needs to be reiterated here is that often times, boredom is something that will happen. However, it is something that everybody could prevent from happening.

Whether it is an eight-week-long internship or weekly volunteering, I believe that boredom could come at anytime. It is important to deal with this issue. Otherwise, I don’t think helping others will give any meanings. How you cope with that will matter the most. In the end, routine IS the enemy; but, it is not something that is inevitable. There are ways to get away from it. Mine is by making myself open for new experiences. What is yours?


2 responses

  1. WOW…I am so honored that you 1) read my book and 2) found one of MY favorite lines to discuss.

    Being in love is fun…getting a new job is fun…..moving to a new town is fun…but ANYTHING can get boring if you don’t work hard, everyday, to keep it fun, fresh, exciting–NEW.

    Mad props for getting that…and for the wild work you all do at Washington and Lee.

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