Be an everyday hero

By Neil Parton, Elumatec’s managing director.

Hollywood has produced more than enough superhero movies; the real heroes walk amongst us every day, and often their brilliance does not receive the recognition it deserves.

At the start of the Covid-19 lockdown, there was a groundswell of support for those who work in the NHS. Other key workers were applauded for keeping food on the supermarket shelves, keeping our public transport running, or ensuring that our utility supplies kept flowing. Then, as the weeks passed, and more employees began to return to their workplaces, there was a strong sense that the work we all do contributes to the running of our society. There was an implied ‘duty’ to get back to it, to rebuild and move on. We may not be key workers in the strict sense of the word, but our work is key to a healthy economy.

I believe that within the UK workforce, there are countless heroes. I won’t refer to them as superheroes for the simple reason that their powers aren’t extraordinary. We all possess them, and we can all − if we wish − choose to use them. It’s their attitude that’s exceptional.

This week, I’ve been delighted by some customer feedback we’ve received. It relates to one of our engineers: Tony Hirst. Although Tony might not want his contribution highlighted, I’m going to insist because Tony is a perfect example of the everyday hero. He may not be aware of it himself, but the fabricators he supports certainly are.

The feedback was filled with terms such as ‘expertise’, ‘competence’, and ‘wealth of knowledge’. It was highlighted that advice on maintenance was given its due importance, and that training was thorough and easy to follow with all questions answered. Tony’s practical and down-to-earth approach was also commented on. The fact that the customer always shares a social distancing brew with this engineer shows that this is a real, productive working relationship.

The customer went on to say that their business has dealings with many different representatives, engineers and tradesmen, and they wish more of them possessed Tony’s qualities and his modesty.

Tony is, of course, a huge asset to Elumatec, but he isn’t unique. I’m proud to say that all our staff are worthy of such sterling recognition, not just during the pandemic, but always. This hard-working attitude extends across all kinds of industries too; in commerce, in education, and in the social sector, there are millions of people who possess the special quality of being able to give a little more of themselves. And giving a little more of yourself is the way we all achieve more.

I, for one, don’t believe we should expect superheroes to rescue us from troubled times. We don’t need them anyway. We have every resource we need within us and all have the potential to make a difference, whether we’re a nurse in the NHS, a baker providing our daily bread, or an engineer overseeing the installation of a new saw unit. And even if heroism doesn’t come naturally to us, when we’re inspired by the Tonys of this world − as I have been − we can step up to the challenge of being a touch more heroic every day.

Put down the comics. Switch off the movies. Just be a hero.