Try Your Hand At the Broom

There is no task too small when approached with a humble desire to do it well.

“I notice we have janitors and janitresses now in offices, and our young men unfortunately miss that salutary branch of a business education. But if by chance the professional sweeper is absent any morning the boy who has the genius of the future partner in him will not hesitate to try his hand at the broom.” — Andrew Carnegie

Greatness is found in the smallest task.

It’s not so much the task itself but what you bring to the task. Your desire to do it well. Your energy. Your love.

Taking up the broom at an early age is not merely “paying your dues.” There is a deeper meaning. Important truths are experienced, earthly wisdom imparted. Wisdom you cannot buy. Wisdom earned.

Humbleness is the first lesson of the broom, for what is simpler than sweeping dirt from the floor? No one is above the broom, but only those who take it up understand.

A job well done is the second lesson of the broom. Sweeping requires effort, but effort translates to a clean floor. A clean floor brings satisfaction in something worthy being accomplished with your own hands.

As fellow sweeper Sir Henry Royce once said, “whatever is rightly done, however humble, is noble.” I imagine him imparting this wisdom with a knowing glance.

Appreciation for the work of others is the third lesson of the broom. You recognize its value when done well. Assigning it less meaning than tasks of “loftier stature” is ludicrous. You can’t help but smile at the fellow sweeper with your own knowing glance.

Responsibility is the fourth lesson of the broom. A clean home or office requires dedication, presents a good face and sets the standard for all other tasks. It begins with the broom. Fail there and everything else follows.

Making efficient use of your time in this frenetic digital world is necessary, but taking up the broom early on will tether you to what matters most. Revisiting the broom from time to time is a privilege and a reminder of its value.

Indeed, taking up the broom may very well be the highest calling.


Have you tried your hand at the broom lately? Don’t “miss that salutary branch of a business education.”