Happy Tuesday #Jontourage,
Welcome back to the “Classy Gent Chronicles”, where staying classy is the only way to be. Let's jump right into it....
I recently got the one thing in the mail most of us dread, a notice to appear for jury duty. Although jury duty is an obligation as a citizen of the United States, it can be very inconvenient. I mean, you have to miss work (okay that may not be all that bad), but you have to get up very early in the morning. Since it’s a courthouse environment, there is not a lot of parking so you may have to be dropped off or in my case catch a shuttle there. Did I mention you have to wait a long line to go through security? In my case, the line was wrapped around the corner outside so I had to wait in the cold until I finally made it inside the courthouse.
So fast forwarding 20 minutes later, I’m finally checked in and waiting. This is my first time serving so I have no idea what to expect. I look around and I see mostly everyone has an attitude. Everyone is either upset, annoyed, and or bored. Honestly, I was somewhat excited for jury duty since I had never done it before but I was frustrated having to drive over two hours to do. Since I live/work in Pennsylvania but am technically resident of Maryland, I also have to go home to handle business affairs. After about 15 minutes of waiting, a lady comes to the podium and asks for all of our attention.
This woman has such a presence that you can't help but to listen to her. She tells us her name but everyone forgot it because she preferred everyone calls her "Bug". She says she got the nickname growing up always playing outside. I thought it was because she used to eat bugs as a kid but that's neither here nor there. So nonetheless, Bug gives us about ten minutes of instructions and you can see the crowd begins to loosen up. She tells all these corny yet laughable jokes and even names all the celebrities that also have to come to Jury Duty (my favorite Singer, Mya, even gets a shout out for having jury duty). Bug even plays us a video which was not terrible at all. The video explained the purpose of jury duty and all the roles in a courthouse. If you were someone who hated government class in high school, this video would have helped you. Now for the eye opener...
After the video, Bug let's us know that she has to do this every day (except weekends and federal holidays) and has had that job to host jury duty orientation for six years. At that point, my whole attitude changed. So you mean to tell me I have an attitude for a less than one day commitment that I got paid for when this lady does this DAILY? The same speech every day for six years!!! This lady has to speak to hundreds of people daily with terrible attitudes that only have a one day commitment. And here I am having the nerve to have an attitude. Here's the real kicker, Bug actually loves her job so I can't even feel bad for her. I feel bad for myself because whether I have an attitude being at jury duty or I don't, I still have to be there.
So if you're wondering how the day ended... I actually got dismissed early and got a check for appearing. The judge ended up choosing other jurors. The next time I only have to give a couple hours and I get paid for it, I will choose a better mindset. If this lady can give the same speech every day for six years, I can get through a four hour commitment. Jury duty in Maryland is something you become eligible for every three years.
Moral of the story: Choose your attitude! The same 24 hours will pass but it’s your choice to decide how you will spend it.
Remember, in order to live out your dreams, you have to think it, feel it, live it! Until next time, stay classy...
Jonathan C. Harris is no stranger to leadership, hard work, or success. At the age of ten years old, he earned the right to be a guest weatherman for a day on Fox 5 DC News. He has already received over 100 honors and awards including Forty Under 40 for Prince George’s County, MD, TEDx Talk speaker, American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Outstanding Men’s Program, high school Valedictorian and the Kiwanis Club Citizenship Award. Raised in Fort Washington, Maryland, he has served in leadership positions his entire life, from being the manager of the school store in elementary school to the president of the Homelessness Awareness Club in middle school to the president of the National Honor Society in high school.