On the way to Starkville on Highway 25.

How much difference can a good attitude make?

Yesterday, I spoke to the Starkville-MSU chapter of PRAM (Public Relations Association of Mississippi) at Harvey’s Restaurant. I changed up my usual program to focus more on creativity and the variety of work that I do. I also spoke about some of the challenges my careers has faced — not because I particularly like strolling down that memory lane but because they are caught up in a similar whirlwind of change. The internet and social media both have disrupted and changed how we get our information. Content creators like me have to adapt nearly daily. We spoke about disruption and how to face it — how to reframe it as an opportunity.

After everyone had left, I had a few moments to wolf down my untouched lunch. (It’s hard to eat and speak at the same time.) That’s when I met a really talented and upbeat server who was cleaning up the room. I interrupted her and asked a few questions about her. She told me she’s a student at Mississippi State who’s studying aeronautical engineering. OK, I was impressed with that. But, I was also impressed with her ability to connect with people and her friendliness. Her attitude and hustle also stood out. She went on to tell me about how working at the restaurant enabled her to meet someone who helped her get a co-op job at a local aeronautical firm. We talked abut how college really is about learning how to make connections. That’s when she completely credited her job at the restaurant for helping her take her next step in her career.

I said that I truly expected to see her being named CEO in 20 years.

Here’s the thing — she has a huge dream (that involves calculus!) On paper, being a server really doesn’t fit in to that it. But, because she approaches her job with a winning attitude, that server job has propelled her dream forward.

To her, being a server is more than a paycheck. It’s an opportunity. That’s how you do it.

The salad was food for my stomach. Meeting her was food for thought. If we’re in this time of change, how can we take our current situations and leverage it to make our dreams come true? As I see my reflection, I wonder what can I do to have a better attitude?

As I left, I wished her luck. But, honestly, I’m not sure she needs luck. She seems to have the situation well in hand.

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Marshall Ramsey, a nationally recognized editorial cartoonist, shares his cartoons and travels the state as Mississippi Today’s Editor-At-Large. He’s also host of a weekly statewide radio program and a television program on Mississippi Public Broadcasting and is the author of several books. Marshall is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and a 2019 recipient of the University of Tennessee Alumni Professional Achievement Award.